I’ve barely stepped into my local Asda store for years.
Probably since they put milk in the furthest corner of the store.
I suspected it was a deliberate conspiracy to have us confused and wandering bemused and lost through the maze of aisles. An employment of every imaginable trick to hold in you the place for as long as possible and prevent you from leaving with only what you carefully wrote on your shopping list. I know I’m bound to be distracted by great BOGOFF bargains and tempting 3 for 2s and quite likely to leave laden but quite forgetting to buy what I originally intended to go in there for. The final severance with my love of Asda was the traffic queuing which can have you held up for 20 minutes in and out of the car park.
So Asda’s become the ‘inconvenience’ store as far as I’m concerned.
But once in blue moon, I’m prepared to give it a second chance. If I’m in the mood, or I have time on my hands, I fancy a little flirtatiousness with this superstore that, when I loved it, supplied all of my three babies’ needs. Or it could be that I’m just a little bored by the other supermarkets and eager to be seduced by Asda’s Smart Price offers for variety’s sake.
In this case, I was driven to go because its the only local place that stocks Sodastream flavours.
So I went for it. It was Saturday-Strictly-X Factor night which surprisingly (ironically speaking) meant it wasn’t the least bit busy. Parking was a breeze and amazingly, I found the Sodastream stuff with remarkable ease, or rather I stumbled upon by chance, Although, I confess, I was immediately disappointed. Sodastream have dozens of different flavours (I was hoping for Ginger Ale); Asda only stocked Coke, Orange and Lemonade.
I then made a beeline for the honey. So far, so good. I was sticking firmly to the shopping list.
I was also looking for milk, pasta, plain flour, baking powder, sultanas, raisins, currants golden syrup… (I’m planning to make a cake for Christmas) … so I began looking at the signs above the aisles: CRISPS, SWEETS, HOUSEHOLD, PET FOOD…
While passing, I had a little dalliance by the deli counter and the fish counter, just to see what was there. But all about me were the pizzas, take home curries, ready meals. Perhaps this is Saturday-Strictly-X Factor fodder? I admit, I was tempted. I was feeling almost too tired to cook and the idea of slamming a pizza in the oven had me salivating at the mere thought of melting cheese.
But ‘fast food is not the answer’. I’m on a mission to feed us all on proper, healthy food since the kids have homework to do and I need energy to run a household on my own when the other half is away from home for weeks on end. However, I was weakening at the thought of tasty, easy to reheat take out meal deals. It took an iron will to (I slapped myself) stride off determined to complete my ‘list’ shopping first. Plus, I’ve started to write a food blog, Beyond the Pasty, about the quality and variety of local food in Cornwall and beyond, so it would be a betrayal or sorts if I then filled my freezer on Asda’s own family meals.
I wandered on, peering hopelessly down each expansive aisle, at cakes, buns, pies, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Junk food, sugar, salts and saturated fats – not to put too fine a point on it – becoming increasingly frustrated. Each corner had and offer of something I didn’t want but very nearly put in my trolley because it looked too good to pass up.
In my head I kept asking: ‘Where’s the home baking section?’ Speciality foods? Is there even much variety in the choice of different pastas? You’d think there’d be a tiny corner, somewhere in this cavernous store for ‘freakish’ people who quite like to cook or bake from scratch?
I failed to find the things I wanted. There were not currants left and I could find no logical place to locate Golden Syrup, although cheerfully as I passed, I spied Kernow Chocolate and counted 7 different Cornish breweries represented by their bottled beers. It gave me a note of optimism. Thank goodness Asda is interested in stocking local and regional products at least…But apart from the smattering of local produce, I came away feeling quite despondent.
Is this what Asda has become generally countrywide?