I drove past the new Sainsbury’s yesterday and got stuck on the roundabout
outside. It was gridlocked by a tailback behind two buses picking up passengers at the stop and as
there was no room for anyone to pass we had to wait while traffic built up across the station viaduct.
This morning I went back on foot (eleven minutes brisk walk) to see how bad the traffic queue might be with the new Sainsbury’s about to open. The road was clear in both directions and at 08:50 there were very few people waiting for the shop to open only ten minutes later. In those ten minutes things changed considerably.
Either all the shoppers had driven in or the car park was occupied by a lot of staff, or perhaps more likely, suits from head office.
The staff inside were very attentive.
The queue for the travelator was as you see, forty or so feet long, but the enormous lifts had few customers. Once at first floor level there were balloons and what I assume was free booze on offer.
Almost needless to say it was a nice store; spacious, light and airy.
There was little chance of me buying anything, I am allergic to shopping. I am allergic to gluten too so my main interest was the ‘Free From’ section where Sainsbury’s usually has a better selection than the other stores.
Abbey Wood was no exception but with bread prices 20% (50 pence) above those in the Asda a mile away, I’ll not be heading back in a hurry. Milk was 12% more expensive.
There were 15 checkout lines, staffed, but largely unemployed so soon after opening, and ten self-service tills.
My way out was blocked by two large Sainsbury’s men in dark suits near the top of the travelator who were so engrossed in their conversation that they failed to notice they were blocking the exit, it was momentarily annoying. Outside, the pedestrian crossing has not yet been commissioned.
Had I arrived half an hour earlier I may have seen someone you all know (Ovenfresh Bun Eater) in the cafe area, in one of her favourite striped jumpers. But fortunately an early bird BiB reader did and his camera phone came to the rescue.