Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Guest Post by "Annie"

Do you shop in Waitrose?  

If not, why not?  

If you live in Scotland it could be because you don't have one near you. Even if there was, could you afford to shop there?  

Waitrose is well known as a high-end supermarket where a £50 bag of messages will set you back £50 for the groceries plus £10 for the privilege of shopping in Waitrose.  

There are only 3 in Scotland.  Unsurprisingly they are in the upmarket environs of Edinburgh, Newton Mearns and Stirling (wonder if the people from the Raploch go there).

Now London Labour has taken up the cudgel on behalf of the downtrodden.  In a recent Financial Times article it is reported that the latest salvo against “big business” they have Waitrose in their sights. Their attack is focused on the myWaitrose loyalty scheme which they say is having a bad effect on small coffee shops on the UK’s high streets.  

The scheme allows shoppers with a "myWaitrose" card to have a free daily tea or coffee, even if they don’t buy anything else in the store.  Fair enough you might say.  

But the Labour Party’s view certainly accords with that of Waitrose customers who don't like the scheme because it attracts the “wrong type” of customers.  (This will be why they don't have many shops in Scotland – too many plebs!). 

But wait a minute, is Waitrose not the food retailing arm of John Lewis – an employee owned company and previously hailed by the same Labour Party as the acceptable face of capitalism?  Is it not the sort business “red” Ed wants to encourage in his drive against “big business” – the companies that treat their customers and shareholders with contempt?  

Or it could just be that the high heid yins in the Labour Party, who live most of their lives in London, have suddenly noticed whilst shopping in their local Waitrose that there are all these people there drinking free coffee, and they would rather not rub shoulders with them outwith their constituency surgeries. 

If this is the sort of thing that the Labour Party in Westminster think is worthy of a campaign it is one more reason to think that their view of Scotland, where “The Waitrose Question” does not arise, remains that it is a far off place of which they know little.  

Yet another argument for Scotland being run from Scotland by the Scots.

I wonder what Keir Hardie would think of this storm in a coffee cup and more importantly, would he be shopping at Waitrose? 


  1. There is actually two in Edinburgh, and I must admit I use the Comely Bank one quite a lot, because I love the food there.
    My sisters give me John Lewis vouchers in a vain attempt to stop me dressing like a Cuban guerrilla on a motorbike -- nope, food. And drink of course.

    My graduate daughter had been to both John Lewis and Tesco for interviews, she accepted the Tesco job much to my dismay, just because it was closer.

    I look forward to informing her of the 15% bonus that John Lewis is giving their employees, sorry, 'junior partners' this week...

    I don't know about Newton Mearns or Stirling, but in Morningside the fur coat and nae knickers attitude still survives, carefully transferring their Lidl shopping into Waitrose bags on the bus...

    1. My but Edinburgh's right posh, Conan.

      We thought we were Erchie when we got a Sainsbury in Dundee.

      TBH, I like Waitrose too. And I loathe Tesco. I don;t know what they do to their staff in Dundee at least, but they manage to turn many of them into snarling unhelpful rude people whose mission in life appears to be to make your visit to Tesco a nightmare you will never forget.

      So, on the rare occasions I'm in Edinburgh with the car, I do shop at Waitrose. I guess the 15% bonus must make them a nicer bunch of folks.

      LOL, don't you just love people that are snobby enough to be ashamed of their Lidl bags...? I'm proud of mine. They cost 9p each, which is dearer than Waitrose any day!

    2. Eh, sorry Tris, but Sainsbury is in BROUGHTY FERRY... no Dundee proper!

      Mind you, when we lived in Whitfield(thirty odd years ago before bits of it got poshified!) we used to get letters addressed to "Whitfield, Broughty Ferry, Dundee"!


    3. Hmmmm

      OK. Dundee has...erm... 2 Aldis and 4 Lidl...

      And Broughty Ferry has a Sainsbury...

      Happy now Eck?


      PS... you must have lived in the posh bit of Whitfield... Whitefield even!!!

  2. Aren't Labour wonderful these days? The sort of people one would gladly mix with at the smartest of dinner parties. In fact, just the other day, one was commenting that one would be enchanted to be seated next to Alistair Darling. Why, he is almost one of us.

    Lady Lavinia Curtainrail

    1. Yes, I agree and I think that was what so incensed Annie, who, I'm sure she won't mind me telling you, used to be a Labour supporter.

      I'd rather go hungry than sit next to Alistair Darling. His Tory waffle would drive me to indigestion, or I'd fall asleep with my face in the fish course.

      But I suppose Lady Lavinia has better manners than I!

      Eh Lavie?

  3. Actually there are six in Scotland as follows:

    Comely Bank Edinburgh EH4 1AW
    Morningside Edinburgh EH10 4AX
    Burghmuir Road Stirling FK7 7NZ
    Byres Road Glasgow G12 8AU
    Greenlaw Place Newton Mearns G77 6GW
    Cardross Road Helensburgh G84 7LA

    1. Munguin, perhaps you could use your undoubted influence with the powers that be to get one put in the Stobbie, so I could nip round for my half loaf and tin of sardines...

      What's with the advertising anyway... You hoping to get a bonus from John Lewis?

  4. Hi Tris, Have you seen this:

    I've just pledged £10 billion pounds to save the UK and I got a "thank you" back from them. I pledged it under a weird name and they accepted it. Now, I'm crapping myself as I only have £382 in the bank!

    1. Oh Moray... you are a hoot...

      No wonder they thanked you. Could you pledge another £10 billion to save my holiday fund. I was hoping to go to Greenland, and it seems that's about the cost!

    2. Consider it done. I'm also thinking of donating £100 billion to Captain Mainwaring of Galloway Home Guard following his begging letter to the rich and famous. I'm scared to pledge it by email, though, in case the poor soul imagines it's a personal attack on a Hiroshima scale.

  5. I was shitting myself, but I checked and I only pledged £1,000,000 to save the UK and did it under the name of Ploppdimbo Zhazhazhazhafnoop. They still accepted it, but my real name is nothing like that. Whew!

    1. That's a fantastic name... Can I borrow it?

      Only for Sundays... of course. I was thinking of making a pledge myself actually.

      I cast an eye around the place and came up with 4p and some old Albanian Lek my last visit.

      Then I discovered that they wanted me to allow cookies...

      I way... I'm not letting the likes of Negative Blair and Chemical Ally any where near my biscuits.

      But if anyone from BT is reading this and they want 4p and a 2 Albanian Lek, they can pop round anytime after 4.30 tomorrow.

    2. Tris....The ten billion pound donation here brought to mind something I had to figure out about the naming of large numbers in British English. As an American, I hardly knew what to think when I first encountered BBC documentaries in which someone would say, for example, "one hundred thousand million pounds." That sounds positively goofy to Americans, for whom a thousand million is a BILLION. But in "older British", so-called "long scale", usage, a BILLION is a MILLION million, not a THOUSAND million. So in that system, if you were to donate 10 billion pounds, it would be 10,000,000,000,000....a 1 followed by 13 zeroes.

      But the "modern British" system has adopted the American "short scale" system. In this system a donation of ten billion pounds would be 10,000,000,000....a 1 followed by 10 zeroes. So this would make a difference in your bank balance of 9,990,000,000,000 pounds, which is to say 9 trillion 990 billion pounds expressed in the new naming system.

      Maybe this numerical naming confusion is well understood by modern Scots and Brits, but to Americans watching BBC documentaries......or trying to make sense out of media accounts of UK budgets of years takes some figuring out. Wikipedia says that the British government abandoned the so-called "long scale" for the "short scale" in 1974.

      British and American usage also seem to agree that the name of a small package of digital computer data is a cookie, although as you wryly note, you call the edible version a "biscuit," even though Americans know that a biscuit is a breakfast bread that you call a scone. ;-))

    3. Hum... yeah Danny.

      It's very true. I don;t know who told us to stop being silly about a billion... I expect it was whoever was president in 1974.

      I imagine that before that it didn't really matter. These were fantasy figures, possibly used only by scientists. Billions didn't come into everyday life.

      But it makes good sense for there to be an agreement about what a billion actually is, when, in these days of ever increasing debt, and bankers bonuses, a billion is a figure that is bandied around with small regard.

      Imagine the confusion between the English and American governments if no one really knew what a billion was (and as you say, that is some substantial difference.

      I bet Cameron, with debt of over a trillion ENGLISH pounds, wishes he could rely on the old English system and call it a billion!

      Incidentally... I don't know how you pronounce "scone", but in Scotland it rhymes with "pawn"; whereas in England it rhymes with "stone".

      There you are...Munguin's Republic... a repository of utterly useless knowledge !!

    4. I'm pretty sure it's rhymed with "stone" here. Although I'm not sure I've ever heard it actually pronounced. We just say biscuit, since that name hasn't already been used for a cookie. If there's a culinary difference between a scone and an American biscuit, I'm not aware of it.

      As for useless knowledge:

      Names of numbers up to a Centillion....which is a 1 followed by 303 zeroes in the new system, or 600 zeroes in the old system.

    5. The Brits will need it to calculate their debts any day now... Thanks Danny :()

  6. I spotted Mary Scanlon with a very full trolley in Inverness Marks and Sparks. I can hardly afford a bag of crisps from M&S. In fact I used to walk through M&S, Inverness, MSP spotting. Strangely enough, Mary is the only one I've seen, on several occasions. I can report that she can actually afford the beef joints for Sunday dinner! I haven't see any of the Labour mob, perhaps they shop in the many Tescos in the town, one for every point on the compass last time I checked. I wonder if they get points for easing that through the numerous council hoops.
    I probably qualify as an "undesirable" for the Waitrose snobs. Just saying and I'm proud.

    1. Bless her, old Mary must be fair minted if she can afford to eat out of Marks and Spencer. Imagine being able to afford a beef joint for Sunday lunch...

      I'm not sure I've ever actually had a good old roast beef and yorkshire sunday lunch. It must be a Tory thing.

      I'd be lost if I lived in Inverness. I can't afford Marks, and there seems to be nothing else but Tesco. I'd rather eat raw cabbage than spend money in Tesco. You can bet someone's got something out of allowing them to sprout up all over the place.

      It's a pity that they don't have a Waitrose though. I mean you could go in and be undesirable and hack off all the rich people.

      I've always thought that was a fair way to spend a couple of hours on a wet weekend :)

    2. I'm surprised to hear Scary Mary buys food as I thought only humans did that.

    3. Brilliant, Lena!!!!!

      And welcome to Munguin's Republic!!

  7. Tris

    Given the no pay rise, rent , fuel, vat, income tax, road tax, mot, and apd I now shop at aldi. Tesco is beyond me and mine now.


    1. Aldi is superb. :Lidl too.

      The quality of the German product is absolutely amazing, and the staff are almost without exception, helpful, polite and hardworking.

      So I'll probably bang into you there. Very handily in Lochee, right next to Home Bargains, where you can also get good products at a fraction of the price that greedy tesco are selling them.