Just The 2 Carrots Please Waitrose
Dear Little Waitrose, High Holborn, London.
I would like to make a request and I hope you can oblige because I believe it is in the interest of you, your customers and just about everyone else for that matter.
I visit your store at least 5 or 6 times a week which generally helps me to buy only what I need for that evening meal and supplies for breakfast and lunch the next day. This means I can keep my food waste to a minimum – something I’m sure you’d be keen to encourage among your customers.
The problem with your store, however, is that it is nigh on impossible to buy single/few vegetables because you insist on selling plastic wrapped, bulk packs and I don’t see any reason for this.
When I wanted to buy 2 carrots to grate into a bolognese the other day, your store was found wanting. I was virtually forced into buying a 1.25kg bag of carrots and while I will do my best to eat them all, I doubt I’ll be able to before they take a turn for the worst. After all, carrots don’t really go with every meal.
The same goes for almost all of the veg you have on offer; potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes among others.
What’s more is that while, on your website, basic carrots are priced at 90p per kilo, a 1.25kg bag doesn’t cost £1.13 as you would expect, it has an extra 12p added onto it, presumably for the cost of packaging them up.
Logic Surely Dictates
Maybe it is just me and my whacky ideas but surely it makes more sense to have loose vegetables in a small store like yours? You have limited space to display items and large, bulky bags of produce like those you insist on stocking take up so much space. I think that with the right kind of shelving, you could offer a much greater variety of vegetables (yours is quite poor as it is) and encourage lower food waste in homes.
Put it this way – my bag of carrots would quite easily be enough for sensible portions for 6 or 7 people which means I have to have carrots in 6 or 7 meals to get through them all; this is not going to happen. I guess around a third will go to waste.
Please can you remember where your store is? In central London your customer base probably consists of a great number of workers from the local offices and, if my experience is anything to go by, many will be young professionals who might cater only for themselves or for a partner too. They don’t want giant bags of veg that will only go to waste.
Maybe The Profit Motive Takes Over
While you have a poor selection in your main vegetable display, you do offer a larger range in your pre-prepared, pre-packaged, chilled section but they are more expensive and have more plastic packaging. Sure, I sometimes buy items from it but I always begrudge paying way over the odds for the same basic foodstuff that has been chopped or peeled for me. I’m quite capable of peeling a carrot!
I wonder whether you purposely stock only large bags of the basic vegetables because you make a slightly higher margin on them and chances are people will throw some away and have to come back to you for another great big bag anyway.
I suspect your overall takings are higher if you work this way. I mean I only wanted 2 carrots which would have cost me maybe 20p at most but instead I spent £1.25 which is an extra 525% revenue for you.
Ironically though, I’d probably buy a lot more veg from your store if they were available loose and with greater range. Rather than looking at a bag of sweet potatoes and wondering how I’m going to use them all before deciding to get something else instead, I’d happily pick up one or two without thinking twice.
So please, Little Waitrose, High Holborn, can you change your ways and stock loose vegetables and a greater variety to boot?
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