How often have I thought “I going to write about this to the local paper”. Rarely I have done it. However, getting into this new blog has set me off writing again so I actually wrote something and emailed it. Whether it’s published or not is something else. We’ll see


Letters to the Editor, Yorkshire Post

16 June 2012

I’m joining Tom Richmond

Tom Richmond isn’t the only one abandoning the Guiseley Morrisons (Yorkshire Post, 16 June). I was infuriated this morning (Saturday) when, wanting just two chicken breasts, I could find only packets with a minimum of four and, what is worse, paying way over the odds – around 16.5% more – if I did not buy three packets. There was a good reason why, on this occasion, I didn’t want to buy a whole chicken and take off the breasts (but I’ll get ripped off if I don’t buy three of those!). The store is now littered with ‘offers’ (I say rip-offs) like this: one white loaf costs 70p – 40% more than if you buy two for £1. Of course Morrisons is not the only supermarket doing this, but they claim now to be setting the standard so let’s see some evidence.

Why should people within small families (we are two), let alone those who are without the ready cash to buy in quantity and thus likely to be less well off, be penalised in this way? Moreover, this policy encourages waste which is a disgrace in a world where a significant number of people are starving.

I well remember the first week of the ‘new look’ when the price of five ‘mix and match’ rolls was subtly hiked to £1.35, 12.5% more than £1.25 the week before. I haven’t bought any since.

And what is all this nonsense about pricing things like fish in 100g units rather than kg? I know the general standard of mental arithmetic is appalling now but this is just another attempted con. Has anyone else noted that all the lower cost vegetables are priced by the kg, but the high priced ones by the 100g? Who do they think they are kidding?

The first impressions of the new store were indeed good – brighter, airier – but, as Tom says, many of the new ‘fresh’ products are exciting on first view but unlikely to be bought by many, especially if they look closely at the prices. And large sections of shelving are given over to expensive branded products, some of which are of little nutritional value (does anybody really eat all that horrible Muller ‘corner’ stuff?).

Will someone explain the logic of putting fresh pasta next to the fish counter, or the nuts next to ready meals? To be fair, my experience in asking staff where something is located have not been as Tom’s, they have always been able to tell me and helpful. But his implication that the cash points are often undermanned is fair.

I’m pleased to see that this issue has been picked up in Tom Richmond’s column, always a good read, because I might rant about it on my blog or twitter (grumpytyke) but he hopefully will have the influence to get some sense back in to my local store.

Sir Ken Morrison knows that you cannot con a Yorkshire customer for long. Where do the new management come from?


Letters to the Editor, Wharfedale Observer

What local decision making?

Another local community, in Otley, are gearing themselves up to fight inappropriate housing development (front page Wharfedale Observer, 14 June) and we read on page 8 of another group, WARD, intent of giving local residents ‘a voice’. But are they just wasting their time?

What has happened in Menston so far would indicate that this is so.

Like so many of this Government’s ‘promises’, the promise that decisions would be made ‘locally’ has turned out to be just hot air. Who is calling the tune in Menston? A band of councillors from the vast Bradford Metropolitan District administration, who have no concept of the quality of life in its many rural and semi-rural areas or of the importance of protecting this; or if they do know they do not care. They come to Menston and make the appalling decisions which will considerably decrease the quality of life for what is now a thriving, active, local community.

But it’s no surprise. After all, they oversee what has sadly become (sadly because this where I grew up) the biggest dump in Europe, perhaps anywhere outside of the third world – the city of Bradford.

I’m an enthusiastic photographer and really interested in film and media. But do I visit the national museum? I do not as going into the city is such an unpleasant experience.

I have many happy memories of going to concerts in the St. George’s Hall, or recitals in the Eastbrook Hall. Would I go now? Not on your life unless the former is moved out of Bradford city.

I frequently have the opportunity to walk in other European cities and I do not know of one that can offer such an oppressive, unpleasant experience as walking down Darley Street and along Kirkgate. This is not about failing to build yet another complex of chain stores, which I almost never patronise anyway – I couldn’t care less about Westfield. And the problems are not solved by turning what was a useful public meeting area into a lake.

Someone said to me recently that the only good things about Bradford now are the roads out. That’s true of the city, but the district has many wonderful places – like Menston, like Otley, like Shipley Glen or Bolton Abbey. For how much longer? Why Bradford councillors can make decisions affecting the lives of people in Wharfedale is beyond me.

I hope that Menston succeeds in the latest ‘green space’ bid. Unfortunately I have lived there too short a time to be of much assistance, though I will be writing a letter confirming that one of our regular weekend walks is where they now want to put another complex of ‘little boxes’. And I’ll try to use my blog to get backing from elsewhere.

But Mr. Cameron, watch out. I don’t think I will be the only one who might have voted anti ‘New Labour’ last time but will certainly vote anti ‘Coalition’ next, unless local communities are given the decision-making authority to stop larger authorities and developers destroying their lives.

2 Responses to “Fury with supermarket and local authority gets me writing”

  1. Eddy Winko Says:

    Great comment from norfolknovelist.
    I have to say I remember Bradford as the place to avoid and that was 25 years ago, always mush preferring to go to Leeds. I do have memories as a child going ice-skating with the family, but once I reached the age where I could go on my own it was deemed to be too dangerous!
    I see that Bradford City are doing well in the football, I hope this helps to change its image and brings some money into the area..

  2. Blimey – you sound just like me! 🙂

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