Sainsbury's Store Overload In South London

September 09, 2015 5:45 PM

I live in South London, which in the time I've been here has never been short of "local" stores but now there's SEVEN on my high street.

Sainsbury's Local Stockwell, London
This week the latest Sainsbury's store opened, it means there are now five Sainsbury's within a ten minute walk of my house.

Sainsbury's Stores on Clapham Road

Sainsbury's South London

It's a 17 minute walk between the two furthest Sainsbury's on that map but it's not just Sainsbury's, if I walk for 10 minutes in one direction along the high street from my house I pass:
- Sainsbury's Local, Clapham North
- Morrisons Local (soon to be My Local)
- Sainsbury's Local, Clapham High Street
- Tesco Express
- Sainsbury's Superstore, Clapham Common
- Little Waitrose

If I walk in ten minutes in the other direction I pass:
- Sainsbury's Local, Stockwell
- Sainsbury's Local, Stockwell Station

As well as these stores there's also a handful of independent and corner stores all competing for our business.

What's Wrong With Sainsbury's?

Nothing!  It seems mad that there are so many local/express stores within such a small area but I don't have a problem with it as such.

It does maybe eliminate a bit of choice and it puts pressure on the small, independent stores and corner shops... but, I don't think the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury's are these stores real enemies.  I think the owner themselves are their own worst enemies, which brings me on to my key point.

Chain Or Indie?

The big supermarket chains get a lot of stick for putting smaller stores out of business but I chose to shop in Sainsbury's, not just because it's local and convenient but for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the price. Smaller retailers may say it's unfair and they can't compete because of chain's bulk buying power but the fact is Sainsbury's prices are better and consistent, there's better offers and loyalty cards like Club and Nectar cards.

It's the same reason taxi drivers don't like Uber, small retailers might not like chain stores but the fact is, it's cheaper for customers, that's why people shop in chain stores and why people hale an Uber instead of an overpriced black cab.

In my experience the smaller stores around here over charge, to the extent where they'll try to charge over the marked recommended retail price on products like Coca Cola. They don't like honouring offers like buy one, get one free when marked by the manufacturer.

Secondly, and most importantly by far, is service. I find it mind blowing that staff, in fact not just staff but the OWNERS of the small, independent local stores are so rude. They argue about prices, try to refuse offers, never say hello and barely manage to mumble a "thank you." Yet, you go into Sainsbury's and their staff don't have a vested interested in the business, they don't have a future there, they're mostly students doing part-time work but on the whole they are infinitely more friendly, more polite and more helpful.

It's because Sainsbury, Tesco, ASDA and the likes teach their staff the values of customer service. You always get a hello from the door man and a coherent thank you and if you ask for help, they actually help not just mumble and point.

Boycott Poor Service

While some people may avoid larger chains for their ethics or "capitalist" ways of working, I chose to avoid stores based on the service I receive as good customer service is something I'm passionate about. In fact, I go as far as to actively boycott stores where I have received poor services and actually it's lucky for me that so many chain stores have opened because I'd already pretty much blacklisted every other store around me. Unfortunately for these small business owners, I have a good memory, I can be stubborn and I remember all the reasons why I've boycotted every single one of them.
In fact, I remember so well that I will for the first time ever name and shame my list of stores which I refuse to shop in.

The Corner Shop

1 Bedford Rd, SW4 7SH
I used to always call in here for milk and bits and pieces.  They NEVER say hello, they never say "thank you," not at an audible level anyway and are just miserable and ungrateful for your business. 

Stockwell Food Express

267-267 Clapham Rd, SW9 9BQ
I once went to pay for some milk here and the guy said "where did you get this? you shouldn't have taken it from the bottom shelf."

Turns out the bottles on the bottom shelf were all out of date.  He took the milk off me, got me another one and put it back where I had got it from, presumably so he could deal with them later... but they shouldn't be on the shop floor! Get them out the back.

No apology though, it was seemingly my fault for picking up the wrong bottle.


258 Clapham Rd, SW9 9AE
They once over charged me for an item, I saw it wrong on the till as they scanned it and told them, they didn't believe me and said "it's say Β£1.50 here."  I said "no, it's Β£1 on the shelf" and of course retailers need to honour the displayed price... but they didn't.  After I'd paid I went back to the shelf, took the label off and took it to the till, they opened it up and gave me 50p.  Again, no thank you.
There are a few nice, friendly local stores which remain though and I'll still call into them for things like milk or bottle coke.   Once to be praised are Pay Less Food & Wine, 358 Clapham Rd who are always very friendly.

And Nisa at 27 Landor Rd who staff are by far the friendliest in the whole area.  They're also a chain store and have good offers and excellent prices.

The End

So, that ends my weird geeky review of shops near my house. I don't think anyone cares but hey.... always nice to get thoughts out of your head.

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