Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sparse Offerings

It seems the gap between blogs is growing - 7 days since the last one. I am still planning to move my blog elsewhere, Lynda is going to come round and show me what to do. Hopefully it will be slightly more successful than our last little attempt at doing something technical last night :-) No worries, we recovered the position, and it was all worth it to hear that Sonia classic again!

A bit of a mixed and jumbled bag this blog today, just firing off a few random thoughts about the last few days and the days ahead. To begin with, Ollie started school full time last week and seems to love it. According to the teachers he is happy and doing well and I have had no complaints over behaviour. A shame the same cannot be said of home. This morning we had the usual aggro over breakfast, which culminated in him changing into his spare uniform. The one he was originally dressed in was in the washing machine before we even left for school - for which we were late.

Anyway, now he's settled at school I can tackle various projects that have been on hold. You may have seen I mentioned that we now have both fireplaces up and running. In the playroom/ office we now have an open fire, which I am intending to use during cold spells, as it gets quite chilly over on this side of the house. The woodburner in the lounge will be our main source of heating for the winter.

Tonight, the lorry load of logs will arrive. This is basically tipped into our back garden for us to sort out. I have built two wood stores to accomodate this - an outside shelter plus a cupboard in here. Keeps it all nice and dry, which prevents all that horrible smoke you get when you try and burn damp logs. So tomorrow all day will be spent sorting and stacking these logs - a truckload is a lot of wood. It costs £160 which sounds a lot but it lasts most of the winter if used sparingly during mild spells, and knocks a huge amount off the central heating bills, which only has to be used intermittently.

So that's Tuesday taken care of. Wednesday I need to sort out all of my paperwork for the dreaded annual tax return. Thankfully I have a very nice accountant, who does not charge the earth who will come over here on Thursday and take it all away and do it all for me. I always enjoy his visits - he is retired now, but an incredibly colourful character who seems to have done everything in his life - including DJ'ing so we always have plenty to talk about.

More aggro in the shops last week, multibuys not registering at the tills, that sort of thing. Plus, what on earth is going on in Somerfield? They have clearly decided on some sort of re-organisation, but some of the stocking/ merchandising decisions I find very hard to understand. Now you are talking here to someone who had a 3 month contract with a firm in Milton Keynes back in the summer of 2005 to completely re-design Sainsbury's fixtures using advanced software tools integrated with sales/ marketing data i.e. so many facings of this, etc etc. I am sure most of you have at least a rudimentary understanding of the subject even if it comes only from a Saturday job you once had stacking shelves.

Anyway - in an inexplicable act of merchandising madness, Somerfield have decided to dedicate approximately half of their chiller cabinet space to bottled water. Not just single serve - but great big multipacks of 6x2 litre bottles that do not even need to be chilled. Everything else that is chilled - meats, cheeses all the rest has been squeezed into a small and messy area. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. When I asked a supervisor why so much space had been given to water, she said "oh we sell a lot of water". Nonsense.

Then even more laughably, they have given over a whole aisle to various white goods i.e. toasters, kettles, microwaves that sort of thing. Now this works OK in big one stop shop stores like Asda, but in a little town centre Somerfield? Come on. If your microwave blew up tomorrow, how high would Somerfield in town be on your list of possible outlets to visit for a replacement?

Of course other stuff has been squeezed to make room, and yes, this is rather personal to me, but the area devoted to crisps has been reduced by about 70%. All that's there now is Walkers, a few leading snacks brands such as Wotsits and Quavers and that's about it. There's no room for anthing else.

Get real Somerfield, you are a small town centre store, not Asda. OK, I have a lifetime marketing and sales experience but surely I cannot be the only one that can see what a poorly run shithole this place is. And it has so much potential - with the nearest rival being Iceland who can hardly be described as being at the cutting edge of retail.

If I ran that Somerfield store with a free hand I would double its turnover inside a year.

I shouldn't be all negative so I will say that on the plus side their white loaves make the best toast ever!

Well what do you know, I did find a topic to focus on after all x

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"They're running low on water over in Bicester again boss, better send out another truck load!"

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