March 7th, 2007
There can be no surer sign of encroaching middle age than excitement at the opening of a new supermarket. And so it was with a moment of shock, this weekend, that I caught myself looking forward to checking out our new Sainsbury’s, just opened in Brighton’s New England Quarter.
We stopped for provisions after promenading off a delicious GBK cheeseburger, on Saturday afternoon. First impressions: It’s spanking. Clean floor tiles and fittings give an intangible feeling of comfort [note to self: look up symptoms of germaphobia]. Predictably, layout is confusing. Naturally there’s much more choice, although I’m increasingly suspicious of this.
But problems at checkout left the greatest overall impression. Clearly a larger supermarket attracts more car based demographic. The old London Road store was basket oriented; queue’s were small and fast. Here trolleys are filled to capacity; queueing was tediously protracted – although we amused ourselves analysing the guy’s selection in front (why so much rice milk? how the hell do you get milk from rice?!).
Aside: why don’t they have some sort of display to indicate how quickly cashiers work? A simple items / minute rolling average would show who was quickest, and queues would redistribute naturally. It would probably incentivise cashiers to work more quickly too, making something of a game of who could be fastest (although you better not bruise my grapes).
Overall I’m disappointed. Not only do the slickly styled apartments it sits beneath spoil the view as my train rolls into Brighton, but the long queues are a real reason to avoid the place… although it would be another middle-aged thing to complain about, I suppose. Counterintuitive, but I wonder if Somerfield, the local competition, will see business pick up because of this?