Often, when I write these columns, classed as ‘opinion’ pieces, I must tread gingerly to negate the threat of litigation toward the publishers from the recipient of my tirade.

Today’s piece is a point in question: and it is based upon a business I used to work for: Sainsburys.

Yes, my employ was decades ago, as a teenager on the mean streets of Hastings when I was the most cumbersome, non-careerist, member of the ‘team’, responsible for scanning items for the great and the good of the coastal town as I represented the orange liveried retail monster.

Receiving the princely sum of £1.50 per hour, which I would queue to collect in cash from HR, it was beer money that kept me afloat until the following weekends shifts. Yet, how times have changed…

My gears started to be ground a while ago when, having shopped, I realised that I had an Argos collection to make. I made my way from till side back into the store, collected my Argos tat and then proceeded to leave the store. The trolley stopped dead and a security guard appeared asking for my receipt. I told him I would gladly show it if he helped me move the trolley from the doorway before he explained there was a ‘magnetic anti-theft’ device fitted to the trolley. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis no longer likes shopping at Sainsbury'sBrett Ellis no longer likes shopping at Sainsbury's (Image: Brett Ellis)

Yet still, things would take a turn for the worse on subsequent visits. Now they have installed a ‘ring of steel’ with barriers and gates allowing one way access into the store.

You are forced to self serve due to the queues. You line up to be glared at by a staff member who begrudgingly gives you a bag which they keep for safe storage in case they are ‘stolen’ (bizarre). You then struggle to scan your items as the scanners don’t work, or get approval for beer or paracetamol as you balance a million and one items onto a metallic postage stamp, oh, and woe betide if one of your kids accidentally leans on the plate which is as sensitive as a woke millennial, and sets off all manner of alarms and buzzers.

Despite not getting the 10% discount you believe you should for doing their work for them and not being privy to using the staff room as you should be now you’re one of them, the final insult is having to scan your receipt to get through the exit barriers to be on your way.

My likely one-man boycott will do little to damage their bottom line, but if they don’t change things, and fast, and make the environment even slightly more palatable, then I for one will drive the extra mile to the nearest Aldi. Live well for less? Not on your coco…

  • Brett Ellis is a school teacher.