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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Friday, 19 September 2014

I'm not even a little bit keen on Waitrose: there, I said it.

I was going to use a harder-hitting headline: I hate Waitrose.

I was moved to do this by discovering that La Bella Sicilia in Warwick Way, Pimlico, one of the few decent, unpretentious Italian delicatessens remaining in London,  has been replaced by a "Little Waitrose".

It's quite a big little Waitrose, and it's directly opposite, as is so often the case, a small Tesco Metro, and just around the corner from a big Sainsburys. So, badly needed, then.

On reflection I realised that it's almost impossible to hate Waitrose - even a class warrior, who might
This new "Little Waitrose" in Warwick Way, Pimlico, London SW1 is not little enough for my liking
well despise it for its unapologetic middle-classness, middle-of-everything approach (and its mystifying support for Duchy Originals) - would have to admit it's got a better record on employment rights and ethical behaviour than any of the other supermarkets.

So it supplies a decent dollop of middle class guilt along with the hummus, if, like me, you avoid it for purely selfish reasons.  By which I mean the fact that it charges a great deal more for most of the things I like (notably red wine but also cashew nuts, figs, Pecorino cheese, and red grapefruit). Waitrose is just too nice, too honest, to clean, too well-intentioned, too fair, too sensible, to be entirely true.

 But that does not stop it muscling in on high street slots where it is not necessarily welcomed.

Another reason I object to Waitrose is that it's possibly the worst offender in the use of annoyingly unnecessary adjectives in its marketing and labelling.

It's not just basil but "majestic basil". Not plain oregano, but "sun kissed" oregano. Their own-brand chocolate spread has, it seems, to be "seriously chocolaty".


Why does everything have to be given silly little adjectival pre-fixes? Why can't we just have tomato and basil soup,  rather than "aromatic, heart-warming" soups?

OK, this is all minor stuff. They say, what would you prefer, a scuzzy old cornershop with mouse droppings under the biscuits and cockroaches around the chilled cabinets, stale bread and manky fruit, or this sweet little Waitrose?

I'd rather have the scuzzy old cornershop, thank you very much indeed.

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