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Saturday 31 May 2003

Asda is teh win! [lurks]

blog 171 was the tail end of a recurring theme of blogs (blogs prior to 150 were lost) concerning online shopping. Basically I had tried the lot. We live in London, we're served by all of the online grocery delivery services, we have no car and I hate pissing about in shops. It was the case of the best of a bad bunch that dictated my continuing patronage of Tesco. They've got a pretty nasty web site that had a number of bugs and the monkeys doing substitutions in store are just plain idiots so you have to disable substitutions and lessening the entire usefulness of the system.
Yet for all that, shopping turned up, it was largely all good. Unlike when I went to Sainsburys and they treated online shoppers as bid-ridden retards and took the opportunity of selecting the absolute oldest, nearest to use-by date, products for anything remotely expirable. It was so bad we ended up having to chuck some stuff out and Sainsburys along with them.
I think I tried something else, I can't recall. It was shit as well. The only one I hadn't tried was Asda. Few days ago I put in a monster order from Asda to celebrate emerging from my great baked-bean era of unemployment.
Now Asda have a strange system that requires you book a slot first but then you can modify your shopping list up until 5PM the day before the delivery. I did that and trawled through my favorites list at Tesco and chucked it all into my Asda basket. Now while their web-site is IE only (sigh) and the shopping list is anything but descriptive, it's quite intuitive to browse through the site, click on stuff and see it appear on the right hand side shopping.
What's more, the way the shelves are laid out and the ease of use and proper results one obtains from searches (again as opposed to Tesco), made it much easier to browse and select rather than stocking up on things I know I want. There was also a fair abundance of pictures of products listed right in the products, as opposed to every 10th thing having an icon you can click on for a picture and better description.
That said, Tescos probably have better descriptions for items when they do have them. A clincher, however, is that Asda are cheaper on the whole - sometimes the same but most of the time a few pence less per item. The delivery fee is cheaper (£4.25) and it goes away completely when you order over a ton, as is right and proper. I ordered just over a ton so I reckon I saved substantially over Tesco.
As for the shopping, a chap turned up in a big refrigerated fan with panels that open to slide out the boxes of goodies. It couldn't really cope with the current heatwave though and much of the stuff was warm but that was hardly usual and hardly a tragedy, the frozen stuff had been kept in a frozen part of the van which also is different from Tesco and Sainsburys which had delivered half-thawed goods.
I noticed that large glass bottles were bubble wrapped. A couple of bottles of wine and a large bottle of olive oil. That's good. Very pleasantly surprised with the substitutions. They had pretty much everything I ordered but substituted 3 smaller bags of frozen chicken breasts for the large one I ordered. Didn't send me Houmous as they didn't have any (I suspect they had Houmous but not proper Kosher stuff, not that I would have cared but they may have decided it wouldn't be suitable to me - fair enough).
The only stupid substitution was caraway seeds for some schwartz mixed spice thing which, err, had caraway seeds in it but was hardly useful for toasting some 5-seed varieties for bread.
Finally, the vegetables. Normally I don't order them from these guys because they're always shit and we have loads of local greengrocers but I wanted to test them out. They were good! I even ordered 200g of fresh pepperoni from the deli and that looks excellent too.
So on the whole, a big thumbs up for Asda. The most inexpensive and so far the best quality of goods and a pretty decent web site to boot. I recommend them based on my experience so far.


  1. Never tried asda, been meaning too for a while as I'm stuck with Tescos at the moment.
    Sainsbury are ok, but you can never get a delivery date on the same day as you shop (even if you book at one minute past midnight) and the range of goods is inferior to Tescos (plus they never have any west indian hard dough bread online, even though they sell it in most of the sainsburys stores I've been in)
    Tescos have been shit in a couple of occasions now, worst case was when they just didn't deliver my shopping, no phone call to say they wouldn't deliver it, just me stuck at home waiting for the stuff and it not turning up.
    Phoned their hotline which chased around and promised delivery the next day, and of course it didn't happen. Which led to the following phone conversation the next day.
    'I'd like to cancel a delivery please''When was it due to turn up''The day before yesterday''...oh.....'

  2. It's quite odd really, unlike most of the attrocious behavior you see in the course of the great British tradition of customer service, supermarkets generally have their shit together because they're in an intensely competitive environment.
    Yet with this net stuff, they stuff someone around and they're just never going to come back. Somehow this has lapsed back into realms of yet olde British shoddy service regime. Perhaps it's just not worth enough money to them at the moment?