Supermarket Supremacy- getting to know the class system of where you shop

Posted on November 11, 2008 by peacefulyorkshire

yahooavatar15In England I’ve learned even your supermarket choice dictates what your social status is. When I first moved to this country, of course I didn’t know that, well–who would?

I would happily walk along to my nearest supermarket and never did I give it a second thought. I would think with enthusiasm… “oh look, ASDA and Wal-Mart are from the same family, isn’t that just a sweet taste of HOME?!”

But I am not that naive anymore– what I have learned ladies, is that where you shop dictates your class ranking in the UK.

No one actually tells you these things, as an American arriving to this rainy island in the north sea.

Oh No! You have to work these things out for yourself.

I am thinking it goes in this ranking:

Netto

Aldi

Iceland

ASDA

Morrison’s

Tesco

Sainsbury’s

Waitrose

Booth’s

Mark’s and Spencer’s

Mr. Chill and I decided to go to Aldi today to see if all the hype was correct. You know –“Spend a little, save a lot!”.

I had never shopped there before, have you? But hey being thrifty is now the cool thing to do according to my Grazia magazine.

I did find a cushioned chair wedge for my harp playing…but we had to leave when Mr. Chill decided to buy hotdogs in a can. I wasn’t THAT impressed.

Hmmm….guess its back to Tesco’s for middle class me.

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  3. Steve Shawcross August 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Just to clarify, the two periods of two-minute silences happen the same time every year in the UK.

    “The eleventh day, of the eleventh month, on the eleventh hour” is when the treaty to officially stop WWI, was signed: So one such period of silence always happens on Nov 11th, 11:00 am.

    The second period is Rembrance Sunday– always the second Sunday of November, again a two-minute silence is held at 11am– in this occasion wreaths of poppies are laid at war memorials in ceremonies across the country.

    Without wanting to sound patronising, the above is so ingrained in our culture, that adverts aren’t deemed necessary [shrug]

    We did have Safeways in the UK, but Morrsion’s took over Safeway’s operations here– so that comparison is definitely valid :) . As you may already know Wal-Mart now own Asda, although I understand that Walmart is (slightly) different in style to Asda?

  4. Cara August 31, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    eek, just stumbled across your page. my friend and I have been trying to work this out for ages. We totally stump our husbands with our comparisons to california chains in an effort to understand the grocery stores, but your class angle is WAY better than anything we came up with. Here is our (now made void by yours) list:
    Marks and Spencers= Gelson’s with a bit of Trader Joes mixed in
    Tesco= a nice vons
    Asda= wallmart- kinda
    Sainsbury’s= Ralph’s
    Iceland= we have no freakin idea
    I think i’m missing one. Oh, Morrison’s= Safeway

    • peacefulyorkshire September 3, 2009 at 8:51 am

      hi Cara–
      Hm, never thought about marks and Sparks being like trader joe’s…. but yes can see the resemblance. No ‘two buck chuck’ though ;(!
      Now Iceland still mystifies me. Why anyone would want to buy all that frozen food crap has me stumped….

  5. Pingback: Meeting my 70- year-old-American-woman-still-living in-Yorkshire-self. « She’s not from Yorkshire…

  6. Melissa November 14, 2008 at 9:11 am

    rucksacks? hehe… I’m still trying to remember that fannypacks are bumbags! o__O

  7. flamebrain November 13, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Having just read the post on compensation claims, isn’t it worth noting that most compensation seekers I’ve met shop at the top half of your supermarket list….?

  8. peacefulyorkshire November 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Yeah, the posh brand shopping bag thing makes me laugh too!! I see this little teenager wearing scruffy clothes carrying a worn Chanel bag to carry all her books for school. I guess backpacks are out. Oh wait, I mean RUCKSACKS;)..

    And Vivienne Westwood, maybe they will just sell me their paper bag to carry around hehe

  9. pacificyorkshirebird November 13, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I was on a bus in London Sunday and the driver pulled over and announced a 2 minute silence – then at work we also had one one Tuesday. So it isn’t exactly obvious when it is going to happen. We need big billboards and adverts on public transport to remind us.

  10. Melissa November 13, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Hello Peaceful- When I first moved here, I thought, “Wow- a lot of people have been shopping at Pink Cadillac today”, having spotted all the women carrying the store’s pink bag. I didn’t realize that a lot of people only bought something Pink Cadillace one time, but continued reusing that bag on every subsequent shopping trip :o p

    Funny you mentioned Vivienne Westwood. This past weekend, I went to the Trafford Centre for the first time- I stopped at Vivienne Westwood hoping to find a funky accessory… but I was rather disappointed by the selection, and opted NOT to buy a $140 t-shirt…

    And I admit to having a “stupid American” moment while at the Trafford. I walked in right as they were observing 2 minutes of silence… it was like a scene out of “The Happening”- I glanced up and people were standing still, not saying a word. At the end of the 2 minutes, a woman walked over to me and asked, in an American acent, “WHY was everyone standing still??” (figures that with all the people in the shopping centre, she happened to find another clueless American! lol) A nearby shopkeeper said, “It’s REMEMBRANCE DAY!” oops- I’ve seen the red poppies and knew it was coming up, but I didn’t know the exact day- sorry!

  11. peacefulyorkshire November 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    So IT IS true then! Proof!!

    In America these days it seems like most people are just shopping at Wal-mart regardless…. at least in my little desert hometown they are!!

    I have these re-usable ASDA carriers, but you know, even I refuse to take them into town because I am afraid If I walk into a posh shop I will be looked down upon!! Can you imagine going into Vivienne Westwood with a bright green ASDA logo on your arm! haha
    Its much more fashionable to have a reusable Waitrose/ M&S bag it seems– (sigh)

  12. Melissa November 12, 2008 at 11:15 am

    A few weeks ago we needed office supplies- my boss’s wife sent her husband to Aldi to pick some things up… she refused to go herself because someone might recognise her car ;op

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