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      10.01.2013 14:23
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      Shop locally, you would miss it terribly if it was taken away from you

      I consider myself a "Savvy Shopper" and am often found searching out bargains in the large, main supermarkets. For some reason though, over the years I have been a bit brainwashed into thinking that there are only good deals to be had in the large supermarkets. Over the past couple months I have discovered that this really is not the case.

      I use my local Co-op regularly, as I have a pre-pay electric metre and the Co-op is the nearest place to go to, to credit my electricity key - certainly I would pick up a few bits of shopping there if needed, but only ever essentials if you know what I mean, things that you have to buy, regardless of the price.

      Typically I buy milk, bread and the occasional tin of pet food, things to keep me going until I next get to the large superstores.

      Have you ever paid attention to the special offers in the Co-op? Currently there is a multi pack of toilet rolls in a special promotion, which is to run for another couple weeks, and it is £2.50 - 12 rolls of loo roll at half the price of the big stores.
      Pepsi Cola, 2 litre = £1, the same as the big stores over Christmas - just as an example. My point here being is do not overlook the Co-op in favour of other places and it really is a good idea to try and shop locally, you would soon miss these stores if they closed down and on another note I think we all know a few people who have worked in the shop and the staff that do work there, nine times out of ten, are familiar faces.

      Obviously the Co-op is not going to hold the range of goods and brands that larger shops hold, but on the whole you can get most things there.

      Their prices can be competitive, when there are special offers running and they employ local people, which is most definately a good thing.

      My biggest "plus" recently is discovering what time the staff reduce their fresh food. I try to pop down to the Co-op at about 5.45pm (although this is my local store and I am sure different stores will have different times) and I frequently come away with bargains galore, for packed lunch boxes and bits for the freezer.

      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~From the instore bakery~ ~ ~ ~ ~
      Cheese Twists (similar to Cheese straws)
      Chocolate pastry twists
      Cinamon Whirls
      Danish Pastries
      Tiger type bread rolls, individual and multi packs
      Small crusty bloomers
      Small french sticks

      All the above get reduced to 20pence each- I do consider their full price to be a bit dearer than I would rather, but 20pence each is great.

      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ From the fridges ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
      Minced beef
      Chicken breasts
      Pork chops
      Sausages
      Pizza
      Pasties and Pies

      All the above get typically marked down by 50% and then a further reduction later on, personally I pick them up at 50% as I am (and try as I might to find out) unable to establish when the later reduction gets done.

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        03.06.2012 01:00
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        A good convenience store.

        SHOP--

        They're convenience stores with items priced the same as a small corner shop, but they're the size of small big name supermarkets.

        I have never walked into a dirty or untidy Co-op. Usually they are small enough and well-staffed enough so this doesn't happen.

        My local Co-op is a fairly large store, but a large Co-op is usually the equivalent of a small big name supermarket.

        They accept all major cards and there is no minimum spend to pay by card.

        They have their own loyalty scheme. Spending in Co-op gives you a share in their profits.

        STAFF--

        As mentioned above, the stores are staffed enough so they never seem to have run out of anything on the shelves and the whole place looks tidy. However, when the staff work the tills they are anything but welcoming. They seem to have an attitude of being there because they have to. I always have to ask for a bag when I need one, instead of being offered one. I know some stores have a policy of only providing one when the customer asks because most people accept them without needing them just to pay and get going. I don't mean to say they are completely awful and insulting, most of the time they are pretty neutral, but they're not very customer orientated in the two or three I have been to regularly. I also seem to have ID demanded fom me, as opposed to being asked nicely. I do not speak for all Co-op staff, as I am sure most of them are dedicated to their jobs. I am fully aware people have bad days, but not every day.

        THEIR PRODUCTS AND LABELLING--

        Their own products are fantastic. I bought some of their light cheddar cheese the other day for a pasta bake and it was very nice. They label all of their own products very well regarding nutrition and suitability for people who have allergies. Thyi also label their products very clearly about suitability for vegetarians and vegans. Most branded products and other supermarkets feel that vegetarians are the only people who need notifying. As an ex vegan I can tell you life was very easy to be told I could eat something at a glance. I can understand the fact that no one other than vegans understands what they can eat, but their lives can be made so much easier by simple labelling. Some companies may even sell more, do you know the Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle is vegan? Their own lemonade is so inexpensive and it is amazing. They have got the balance of fizz and lemon just right. Their bombay chips are not very nice at all. They're quite dry and not very fluffy: I would prefer a little more spice on them, however.

        I believe my local store has a greetings card section attached onto the end of the magazine aisle. The magazine selection is very good for both male and female.

        AVAILABILITY--

        The availability of products could be better. For example, I was looking for original Marmite in the glass jar last month, all my local store stocked was the more expensive squeezy bottle at around £3.50. I did not have much of a choice when trying to find grated cheddar cheese at a low price. I was looking to spend around £1.50 - no such luck! I ended up spending over £2. They have a wide range of own brand products in the cereal section - these products are a lot cheaper than branded cereal and taste just as good. The other day I was looking for frozen prawns (the small ones) and I could not find any. I could only find king prawns. Only on my way around again did I move a bag of king prawns and find a couple of hidden bags of small prawns.

        SERVICES--

        Co-op currently offer free home delivery on orders over £25 which is fantastic. Most people who order online will do it for a medium to large shop, thus spending over £25 easily. My husband and I used to order our big shop online on or after payday; sometimes you forget to allow up to £5 for delivery and this makes a difference.

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          28.05.2012 22:52
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          Good for a convenience shop but not a full weekly shop

          I live across the road from a small Co-op and as I don't drive I find it invaluable for everyday essentials like bread and milk which I prefer to buy as fresh as possible rather than stocking up lots at my big weekly supermarket shop from another supermarket.
          I must admit the base price of a lot of the products in the Co-op are overpriced in my opinion so I wouldn't like to try and get a full shop in there, I do however, find that they usually offer good promotions and deals on items that you are likely to buy as part of a bigger shop- cereal, bread, crisps, snack food and for this reason I will continue to pop over the road and buy a few top up bits of shopping from them.
          I am also a member of their loyalty card and when I remember to take it with me I use it even if I only buy bread and milk, the points add up and at the end of the year I get a little voucher for maybe £2- I know this is a small amount but I really don;t use the card a lot as I always forget to take it with me! I do believe you have so many days to present the receipt with your card next time you're in the shop but to be honest I have never bothered with this so I don't know the full rules.

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            03.11.2011 08:07
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            Ok as a local shop if no other choice, Far too overpriced for a weekly shop

            Co-ops are now much more popular. Until a few years ago the co ops you saw were the old style almost department store like co op supermarkets. Then they bought out all the somerfield stores and revamped re opening boasting a bright new smart cooperative sign. Offering a membership rewards scheme with everything from food shopping finance travel pharmacy. I must add tho other than the odd £2 off a £20 shop i havent experienced much rewards from it.

            The reasons i use co op stores is because its one of two places in walking distance when the car is with my husband. One being a sainsburys so small it hardly sells anything the other the co op. Co op has like most supermarkets good offers on which change fortnightly or weekly depending. However for me its not enough the shop is so expensive compared to its competitors. And quality is nothing special.

            The other day for example i bought 4pts of milk and a loaf of smartprice bread and it cost me about 70p more than at sainsburys.

            Reduced food is plentiful in my local co op and was in my last one before we moved areas. However compared to other supermarkets they dont cut it by a great deal. I saw yesterday a punnet of grapes 500g pack had the sell by of that day and was reduced to 1-65. I mean if you're buying food reduced cos its come to its date then you want a good reduction.

            The range in our local store is somewhat limited too and its not a small store really. Even milk they dont carry 6pt milk.

            Overall the quality is ok, occasionally fresh stuff can be hit and miss but this is the same in most places but i wouldnt actively choose co op just for the price issue.

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            28.09.2011 16:18
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            My local Co-Op

            I have bene shopping at Co-Op occasionally for the past 2 years or so, this is mainly because it's on the way to where I work, so I always grab some lunch and something to eat on my break from there. A lot of the time I do tend to take my own lunch to work with me but on the odd occasion, I don't so have to pop in here to get something.

            ***MY LOCAL CO-OP)***
            My local co-op is a fairly large store and has lots of everyday need items in it. They sell a range of sandwiches, sweets, crisps, meat, fruit, vegetables, frozen food, soft drinks and water, ice cream, magazines, cleaning products and things such as pasts sauces and rice. Most of the time their shelves are full and they have quite a good range of products, how-ever some days the shelves can look quite empty. The shop itself always looks nice and clean and it's friendly as it has a ramp as well as stepts to the front door. The aisles are also wide enough for a buggy or push-chair to get down.

            * Staff - I have got used to seeing the staff quite a bit as I go in here about 3 times a week for lunch. The staff always seem friendly and happy to help. They always look smart and are willing to help older people if they need it. They also keep queues to a minimum by opening other tills if there is a queue.

            * Bakery - The Co-Op have a bakey section and this includes fresh bread, rolls and pastry treats which are baked each morning. I often buy myself a brown roll or a chocolate pastry twist. The rolls always taste nice and are very soft inside. I don't always buy the pastry products as sometimes they look over-cooked and very brown and crispy. This does put me off buying them. There are tongs and bags that you can put your items in, ready to pay.

            * Ready Meals - Sometimes I buy sandwiches from here which are reasonably priced and are probably no mroe expensive than shops such as sainsbury's or tesco. They have a fairly good selection of these including a range of healthier, low fat options. This section isn't always stocked up thought, so you may not get very good selections on some days. They also sell container of mixed salad and things such as sausage rolls and scotch eggs. They only have a small range of ready microwave meals, but I have purchased a lasagne from here and it was very tasty.

            * Fruit/Vegetables - They only have a small selection of fruit and vegetables. This section isn't always full either. I sometimes buy Strawberries or Cherries from here, as they are often on offer. How-ever I do have to make sure I check the date on them first and to check that they aren't bruised and I have purchased some cherries once which went out of date the following day. They were also quite bruised with a few bad one's inside the punnet as well.

            * Dairy - They sell a small range of desserts, butter/magarine and a small selection of cheese and milk. This aisle is often quite empty though or they have a lot of offers on desserts so they tend to go quite quickly.

            * Drinks - They have smaller bottled drinks near the sandwiches which I think are quite expensive. They also sell large bottles of water, coke and other drinks such as squash. Their range of alcohol isn't very big and this is located near the till, with spirits such as vodka and whiskey kept behind the till.

            * Other Food - They sell a range of fresh meat such as chicken, beef, cooked meats and things such as rice, pasta sauces and other things than you can use to go with meals. Although there isn't a very big range, there is a good selection of different flavoured sauces and pasta mixes. They also have a large selection of crisps, nuts, chocolate and biscuits. These prices are about the same as other local shops. They do a small selection of ceral and cakes, these always seem to be full up.

            * Newspapers/Magazines - They always have plenty of newspapers and magzines in this store. They include childrens, womans and men magazines.

            * House-hold products - They do a small range of cleaning products such as sprays, bleach and air freshners. This section isn't very big though, and a lot of the items tend to be their own brand items, which are slightly cheaper.

            ***OVERALL OPINION***
            My local co-op sells a great range of things for every-day needs, although they don't have a great selection of products you may need. If you are looking for something specific then you may not find it in here as they don't stock all branded items. I do get bored of their selection of sandwiches and am dissapointed that when I go in the shop, some days their shelves look quite empty. The staff are very friendly and nice in here, and I have always been pleased with their customer service. I will continue to shop in here for items for my lunch. If I lived near the local shop I couldn't rely on this store for my weekly shopping, it's only really suitable for a top up shop.

            (review may also appear on ciao)

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              15.09.2011 23:34
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              Definitely the best supermarket

              The Co-op has recently experienced a renaissance. Until recently a tired brand, it has gone through some consolidation and now boasts a smart new look. Some Co-ops are quite large, though many are convenience store size. This review focuses on the food stores, although other Co-op owned businesses include its bank branches, travel agents and pharmacy chains.

              I find shopping at the Co-op makes a refreshing change from the 'big four'. Although perhaps more expensive on the whole, they are beginning to increase the number of special offers and the quality of their own brand is much better than that of Tesco or Asda. There are 3 tiers of own brand, 'Truly Irrisistable' (the sticky toffee pudding is delicious), standard Co-op and 'Simply Value' for those on a budget. They are also making an effort with organic and 'free-from' foodstuffs and have been a large supporter of fairtrade produce for a long time. They are by far the most ethical supermarket, for example their body sprays are not tested on animals.

              The staff at my local Co-op supermarket in Salford are always friendly, helpful and polite. Most stores around my town are of the convenience format, although all have been recently modernised. I wish there were more larger stores around, as the supermarket in Salford has a deli as well as a post office and electrical department, selling TV's, iPods, dishwashers etc. that the smaller ones obviously lack. However, I find my nearby Tesco and Asda stores to be far too big and it takes me ages to find what I need. I often see older people struggling to find certain items at my huge Tesco store and the staff never offer to help them. Bigger is not always better! Fortunately, Co-operative stores are clean and functional and are great if your shopping mainly consists of food and basic household goods.

              Their membership scheme is great. You swipe your card at the checkout and twice a year, you get a share of the profits, which can be exchanged for goods or cash. The vouchers you receive can be spent at any of the Co-op's businesses, as well as their food stores. I earned over £20 last summer alone.

              Next time you do you're shopping, I would definitely give the Co-op a go. It's a long-established, truly British brand and the membership points soon add up to a nice reward. They have some good offers and quality brands of their own and the staff are usually very friendly. It's about time the big four lost a bit of market share to this iconic name.

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              06.08.2011 22:50
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              Worth another look.

              I think that most people are interested in where to shop and how other people do their own shopping. Otherwise there wouldn't be quite so many surveys on Supermarkets alone. I've had a few lately and it gave me the idea to write about my own local Co-operative store and why I shop there.

              Overview
              ^^^^^^^^^

              I live in the suburbs of a smallish city and find that most supermarkets are too far away to do my weekly or even monthly shop. My income comes from disability benefits, so money is tight and every penny has to go a long way.
              Up until last year we had a reasonably good Somerfield store, which had once been a Kwiksave store. I had got used to the prices and where to buy my top-up shop but all that changed with the Co-Operative taking over.
              The one good thing about shopping there is that I can walk there quite easily as it's only the length of a street away. This helps me choose the days when I can get the bargain offers as well. I could get my shopping delivered for free, but more about that later.

              The shop is a medium size and has a fair range of products. It doesn't sell much in the way of non-food items and hasn't got an in-store bakery, but since there are a few bakeries nearby I don't find this a problem.
              I've just started to use my co-op card to gain points but haven't really looked at the website since it will be a while before I spend enough to make it worthwhile.

              Layout
              ^^^^^^

              When the store was renovated the layout became user-friendlier and is easy to get around with a wheelchair, shopping buggy, or, like me, with a walking stick. I hate the shops where my stick bumps into things so was glad of this extra space.
              As you enter the store there are aisles in six rows with one large wall at the front that sells newspapers, comics, cards, magazines, etc. The rear wall is where you find the non-food items including seasonal offers, so this is one place I often head for straight away. I've had a good few bargains that I've kept for birthday or Christmas presents, though it's better to check how long the offer runs from and to.

              The first aisle stocks the fresh food; vegetables first, then chilled goods along one row. The next aisle covers tinned goods and packets with the fresh bread on the corner. I won't bore you with the complete layout, but it's fairly standard to most of the stores.

              Brands and prices.
              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

              I find the Co-op is one of the more expensive stores that stocks mainly brand names, but with two levels of their own make goods. These are titled 'Co-op' and 'Co-op Value' I guess you can tell the difference. One is medium priced and the other bog-standard, much like most store brands. Annoyingly they run out of these frequently or are just not as good value as they might appear to be. E.g. their bread is very thin and goes stale very quickly. It's fine for families, but for a single person like me then I find that Hovis or Kingsmill is the better option. As you would expect, the brand names are expensive, with prices for bread topping £1.30, coffee at £5 and cereals running to £2 and that's on offer!

              One thing I do look for is the fair trade goods as the co-op sell a lot of these goods. Prices for these are much the same as anywhere else but I like the smaller sizes in coffee, tea and sugar.
              Another thing I have to look for is lactose-free foods as I have a severe lactose allergy. I've tried some of the new brands that have the lactase enzyme in the ingredients but they still make me ill. Therefore I have to pay the very inflated prices for milk, margarine, and any other Soya-based product. The range is very limited to Alpro Soya and they don't sell yogurts, but they do sell Vitalite® dairy-free margarine at £1.05, so that's worth buying.

              Fresh Food.
              ^^^^^^^^^^

              One thing that's always worth a look at is the fruit and vegetables as, although they can be a bit expensive, are always very fresh and clean. They also sell mainly British products, though you can find the fair trade goods here as well. It's worth checking on the discounted items that are usually ones that are a day or two near to their use-by date. I've bought broccoli for 20p and yesterday paid 90p for a large punnet of red grapes. It's usual to see local people queuing up outside at 9.30am on Sunday to get bargain goods as fresh food is re-stocked on Sunday.
              Meat is reasonable, though there isn't a great deal of choice. I buy fresh, as it's much the same as frozen. Again, the offers are good. Meat offers are usually promotional rather than date related, though I did once buy a joint of beef for less than two pounds for about a kilo. I buy a lot of my fish here as I love smoked haddock and can buy two large fillets for about £2.50.

              Other Offers.
              ^^^^^^^^^^^

              Promotions run from a Wednesday and finish on a Tuesday. Many run for weeks at a time and I've bought sweets, flowers, biscuits, shampoo, and deodorant as well as household cleaner, washing gel capsules, and toilet rolls. As all these can be pricey I stock up when I can, or wait until I can do a Tesco shop.

              The other good point is that the store will deliver and don't specify a particular price. i.e. You don't have to spend over a certain amount. I have been offered delivery, even though I am within a short walk from the store so the customer service here is good.

              Conclusion.
              ^^^^^^^^^^
              Now you can see why I am trying to grow a lot of my own food! With potatoes at over a pound for 250 grams and a cauliflower priced at £2, without bargain buying I'd be continuously on an enforced diet.
              There are some good points to the Co-op, it's local, friendly (all the staff know me by name), and has it's own reward card. I would still prefer Tesco for food and Asda for both food and clothes. I wouldn't buy any of the frozen meals as most contain milk or are just not exciting enough.
              But overall I'd give it 3.5 stars so will round up to 4.

              Thanks for reading and I hope this might help if you need to choose a local shop over your usual shop.

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                11.02.2011 20:52

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                good overall but i woudnt do my weekly shop there

                I must admit i do shop at co-op quite often as it only 200 yards from where i live, but that does not mean that i agree with their prices. It does sell a variety of items from... dog food, fresh meat and veg, magazines books, papers, chocolate biscuits , ice cream and plenty more items. Being convenient for me i do shop there a lot.. if i had a car then i would definately be going to tescos but overall co-op is a pretty good shop. The fresh products are always fresh and they cook a lot of their own products in the store.
                Csh machines are also availabvle at co-op and they are normally free so its pretty good as a lot of places charge you for taking your own cash out.
                Another downfall i find about the co-op is the staff, even tho they can be helpful they are very laid back and they dont seem to rush about... so if your in a rush then think again.

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                13.01.2011 11:35

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                A great convenience store which is great for the environment

                The co-op is an excellent all rounder fo food basics, extras you might need everyday and of course one can do their main shop at this store however it is a little expensive to do this.

                I shop at the co op regularly which also hosts to somerfield as they are now the same company which in turn has led to alot cheaper products on the shelves but still to a very high quality and standard. Items such as fresh meat and veg are mainly from elmwood farm which boats good quality products and up to scratch with animal welfare which is always a huge plus in my books. This of course also means that the meat is well produced and not pumped full of chemicals and water.

                The co op has become a bigger part of my life in the past few years since it has increased its awareness of environmental issues and its carrier bags are biodegradable, its meat is form a well renowned farm and its fruit and veg is always to a good standard also.

                Of course healthy eating aside it also boasts its own in store bakery and the food is lovely. With freshly baked pastries, baguettes, bread rolls and doughnuts to die for this is a big bonus in my books. Also it holds a small hot food area where bacon rolls and hot pasties can bu purchsaed. These are not to bad price wise but one tip is to go after 9pm and then nearly all of their fresh itmes such as this are reduced usually down to as little as 25p!

                The co op is obviously most handy for items such as bread, milk and cereals, everyday items where you just need to rush in and purchase them. Yes the cost is slightly higher than the average supermarket but in recent years they have strived to bring down costs and become more freindly and this has most certainly worked.

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                19.09.2010 11:40
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                Not the best local shop

                As Somerfield has recently been taken over by the Co-op, our local supermarket is now a Co-op store. Before this take over, we didn't have a Co-op local to us so I wasn't really familiar with the store.

                Since the take over I have noticed that there are a lot more offers in store such as buy one, get one free's, three for two and reduced prices. This is of course a good thing but sometimes you have to check whether the offer is as good as it looks, for example, reduced prices look attractive but sometimes they can drop the price by only a penny!

                The store itself is a good size for a local. It holds a good amount of products with reasonable choice. The store isn't as brightly lit as most but I think this is a good things as sometimes supermarket lighting can leave you with a headache. The shop is usually clean but sometimes the products can be arranged a bit messy on the shelves but I think this is due to lack of room. The staff are all very young, most under 20 with the manager being in his 20's. On occasion I have seen the staff messing about and generally taking the mick out of some of the more excentric customers which I find very disrespectful. I'm only 23 myself but I know how to behave and respect people, especially in the workplace and dealing with the public.

                I find some of the products to be off good value, especially the offers, but some are really expensive. For example, today we went to the Co-op to buy some sanwich fillers, compared to Asda and Tesco, they are very expensive. A small pack of sliced corned beef (5 slices) were priced at £2.50! Compared to around a pound cheaper in other supermarkets.

                The Co-op also have a loyalty card which they are promoting at the moment. This seems a good scheme as you get a choice in your rewards. You can either opt to receive vouchers in the post every 6 months or a BACS payment into your bank account as a loyalty bonus. Both of these rewards are calculated by your spending in store over a 6 month period. I have owned my loyalty card for around four months so I am yet to receive a reward. I don't think the scheme comes close to the Tesco Clubcard though and therefore customers won't remain as loyal as the store hopes.

                Overall this store is ok for a local shop, offering essentials for times inbetween your main shopping but it is mainly too expensive to buy all of your items there. I think the common opinion of my local community is that the Co-op is that it's too expensive so they need to work on their prices to attract more custom and loyalty. I only use this shop for mid week essentials but it's far from my favourite place to shop.

                I'd award this store 3/5 Dooyoo stars, thank you for taking the time to read my review.

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                  24.07.2010 09:46
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                  is my nearest shop so convienient for bits and bobs

                  We recently moved house and our new local store was the Co-op in Attleborough Nuneaton.

                  We use to live by a Somerfield which sold a lot of Co-op products so we assumed the Co-op would be similar.

                  The shop is of an average size with a handy cash point out the front. There is a wide selection of food and they make nice fresh bread on site.

                  I think some of the products are very over priced and we try to only use the Co-op for bits and bobs that we need, we would not do a full shop there because of the price.

                  Occasionaly they do have very good offers on which we would stock up on.

                  I have always found the staff at the this store not the most helpful, on a few occasions I have gone to the counter and the person behind must have been doing stock checks and had to stop what she was doing to serve me and she didn't seem very happy about it and once huffed at me!

                  On a number of occasions when I have gone in at peak times the main checkouts have been closed and you have a queue of over ten people waiting to be served at the cigarette counter.

                  A few times I have struggled to get down an isle because they would have a trolley with the reduced items at the side which I have felt maybe they could find a better place to put it!

                  It is convienient to use as a local shop if I just needed milk etc, but definatley would not recommend for a weeks shop due to the prices and also the staff.

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                  01.07.2010 19:29
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                  Your local store charging higer prices for supermarket goods

                  Ahh, the Co-op, the lifeblood of any local community, the very heart of its existence, we can get together there, meet our neighbours and discuss how to set the world to rights as Co-op suggests, or is it just a very handy local store, slightly over-priced and set along the same lines as Spar or Nisa?



                  The Co-op for any one who doesn't know is a very ethical store, they are a staunch supporter of Fairtrade products and have more Fairtrade products than any other store. For those who you who go in there, see the Fairtrade logo and quite frankly don't have a clue what it mean, basically Fairtrade means the producer of products gets a fair price for their goods, it also gives them money to invest in community projects, as this benefits people in the poorest places in the world such as Africa and India the couple of extra pence cost isn't a burden!
                  They only stock free-range or organic eggs, and all their chicken is Elmwood which is apparently bred to a higher welfare standard. Even their toilet rolls are ethical with no trees lost in their production (the mind boggles!)
                  This is just a small amount though and could take a review in itself so check here for more details!
                  http://www.co-operative.coop/food/ethics/

                  Now the Co-op do more than even I imagined, banking (the first and one of the few ethical banks), other financial services, funeral services, travel, pharmacies, insurance, legal services, motoring, etc. They also have an on-line store which sells electrical goods, beds and even music tickets!

                  I know in the larger stores they do sell electrical goods, etc but I'm not talking about them, I'm going to be concentrating on the local stores, the ones you nip to when you've run out of cigarettes or just a pint of milk for the kids cereal in the morning!

                  I'm lucky enough to have two quite close to me, both about a 10 minute walk away, ones twice the size of the other, both different but same in their own little way. I shall call them A and B, with B being the larger one.

                  A is very much what you would class as the neighbourhood store, its very small and compact, as with all Co-op stores its very bright white and green. For such a small store it has a fair size of perishable goods, mainly fruit and veg and meat, very basic though, you'd be able to get potatoes but not such exotic things as a pineapple, a pack of pork chops, but not a roasting joint. Again it is has a good bread and cake section with 'freshly baked' rolls and French sticks on it, they look tempting but are more likely to break your teeth! Very small magazine section, the long life section is good but again small stocking more of their own products then anything else, and the choice of things like toilet roll is extremely limited. So its really only good for the essentials, they do have a fair amount of the special offers, but more about them later.

                  My biggest bugbear with that store is the staff, if they have customer service training they forget it every morning. The Co-op recruit from the local area, now to understand my local area (without sounding snobby), it is now officially the most deprived area in Manchester, within the store the biggest shelves are full of alcohol, sweets chocolate and crisps, and a tobacco counter the likes of which mega-stores would be happy with, more of these goods than the rest of the store put together.
                  The staff treat the place more like an afternoon at the pub than working, there is usually one or more of their friends draped over the counter gabbing away with filthy looks flung your way if you dare interrupt the conversation, that's if they aren't bellowing to their fellow assistants across the shop floor, dare ask them a question about things instore, a screwed up face and a monosyllabic no is all you're going to get.
                  And do you remember the days when you could go to the local shop and buy some cigarettes for your dad? It was ok because the shopkeeper knew who they were for, well that still happens here! Despite reporting and reporting them nothing gets done because they aren't stupid enough to do it when strangers come in!
                  This is the store I use when all else fails! Did I mention the trolley dumped at the entrance full of reduced price goods, looking a complete mess and never date checked? No? Didn't think so!

                  Store B, the bigger one, with staff that are polite, helpful and a pleasure to behold, its clean and its tidy, but so dark, in some aisles you could do with a flashlight! Obviously because it's bigger it does a bigger range of goods, but for some reason the fresh good shelves are usually half empty, making the store look a little run-down. The only really annoying thing about this store is the security guard, I'm assuming he's just too nervous to ask me if I need help whilst always following me round the store whilst the local kids scarper out the front door with loads of chocolate, they must wait for me to go in!

                  Enough for now, what are the special offers like? Well, they are good I really can't complain which is one of the main reasons I will go in there, but be aware, don't always get caught out in the moment because it can be more expensive than Asda or Tescos even on offer. Every week I get a little leaflet through the door with the offers on for that week so I'll have a quick perusal! £5.00 for a l.lkg Gammon Joint, now that's big and quite a bargain, half price chicken breasts at £3.75, yes 25p cheaper than Morrisons but they are ethical, if you eat a lot of crisps then the 26 bag Walkers Variety Pack at £2.50 aint to be sniffed at.
                  Hmm, mature cheddar, half price at £2, pity I bought two packs of the same for £3.49 yesterday. Curry sauce £2.29p each, buy one, get one free, frankly over-priced even at £1.15p each, it's only the small jars. So winners and losers all round!
                  Though I was tempted by the 6 bottles of Stella Artois for a fiver accompanied by a free pizza!

                  So, good things and bad things about the old Co-op then. There are a couple of things that annoy me about both of them though. For all its pontificating about ethical practice, I suggest the managing director gets in a wheelchair and attempts to go round either store, In A, a wheelchair wouldn't be able to get in the front door, its been broken for months and doesn't open fully, let alone the booze aisle!
                  In store B, yes they'd be able to get in the front doors, but god forbid they wanted anything other than a loaf of bread or a bottle of squash! Two of the aisles are so small a buggy couldn't get down there or 2 people pass at once, not helped by the flipping great pillar in the middle of it.
                  Exclusion of people in order for more profits, not great practice methinks!

                  And the habit of both of them for selling out of date goods, I will buy reduced things, especially meat but I don't expect them to be 2 days past the use by date, let alone the sell by date. Its happened several times now and I wonder how many people don't even notice.

                  Oh and this membership card lark, anyone enlighten me, all I know is that everytime I go in they ask me if I want one, I say no and thats it. I did ask once what it was and was told you get points for shopping then twice a year they send you money. They didnt make it sound that appealing so I didnt bother!

                  Got to think of a good one, oh yes they are still open at 10pm when I've run out of ciggies and my local Asda has shut their cigarette counter at 9.30pm to stop kids buying cigarettes, if I could have a perplexed smilie on here I would, surely the staff stop kids buying cigarettes not by removing them permanently from adults as well, but I digress!

                  But after all, it's a great little neighbourhood, just ignore the staff, check you are really getting a bargain and double check those dates!



                  (Copyright me, may appear on other sites)

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                    01.06.2010 08:22
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                    A good supermarket, just with a poor selection of grains/pulses etc.

                    The Co-op is not the place where I do all my grocery shopping, but it is where I get all my fruit and veg, as well as the odd other thing. While I take issue with its lack of selection in other departments, I can't fault the selection or price of its fruit, vegetables and potatoes.

                    Unlike any other supermarket near me, my local Co-op has several varieties of potatoes at a time, not just one or maybe two. They always have quite a few vegetables reduced - I have made it a policy of mine to not buy vegetables at full price and Co-op has not yet failed me with this as they always have an excellent selection of reduced vegetables. Even at full price, they are considerably cheaper than Waitrose (the other supermarket where I shop).

                    The one huge issue I have with Co-op is their lack of selection outside of the world of fruit and veg. They are lacking in grains, pulses, dried fruit, seeds, etc, and their prices for Tropicana and rice milk are sky high. However, I find the prices of the fruit and veg so amazing that I'm going to award this supermarket four stars. I love looking at my receipt after I've shopped in here and seeing all the wonderfully low prices.

                    They also have their own range of baked goods - their jam doughnuts are yummy, and excellent value! (A bag of 5 is 79p.)

                    All in all, a good supermarket and generally a happy shopping experience - just don't rely on it for all your shopping!

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                      26.05.2010 21:38
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                      handy when your run out of things, but too small for the weekly shop.

                      The co-op has been around for many years and I can remember them from when I was very small. They have recently teamed up with Somerfield and since the sale of Safeway have become the largest local supermarket retailer in Britain.

                      The one thing that the co-op has above all the big supermarkets is that in my area (and many others), they have lots of local branches within walking distance from my home. The nearest supermarkets other than these stores are a short drive at best, so they are great for convenience, if nothing else.

                      Co-op's around my way tend to open from around 8am until 10pm, so it's great if I need something urgently. They tend to have some pretty good offers in store most weeks, most of which you can view on their website if you don't see any of their many adverts on television.

                      I have to admit, I don't shop with the co-op very often. I find their prices are sky high compared to other supermarkets and they often don't enough choice or product range for me to a full shop there. They do have their own product ranges now, which does offer a better value, but still not as good as other shops.

                      Overall I think that the co-op is a great neighbourhood shop, but that's about it. I certainly wouldn't want to see any of them go, but would never dream of shopping there on a weekly basis.

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                      18.05.2010 00:08
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                      I wish the goods were cheaper but maybe that's a price to pay for convenience?

                      Although I try to avoid buying too much in my local Co-Operative store, because I find it pricey, because of it's convenience, I do still purchase some important items there quite often. Not only is this small store the closest and only shop of it's kind within easy walking distance but, it stay open weekdays until ten at night. It also stays open late on Sundays when Tesco and Sainsbury's close at four o'clock. The main reason I prefer not to go here too often, or for too much, is mainly due to the high price of most items. I don't have a regular supermarket to visit but, among those used are Iceland, Somerfield (which is now part of the Co- Op group), Sainsbury's ( Probably my most favoured these days, as they are one of the supermarkets to stock Quorn and other meatless brands) and occasionally, Tesco.

                      After being married and running a home for a long time, probably more years than some of you readers have been around for, I'm still a bit on the disorganised side. During the late afternoon when I start to think of the evening meal, I realise we are low on potatoes and I fancied chips! So often I send my husband a text late in the afternoon saying something like,

                      ---------------------------------------
                      'Cd u pop in Co op on way
                      hme? bread, milk, spuds x

                      --------------------------------------

                      He often arrives home with a few extra items and then complains about the expense of this shop's goods!

                      I find the Co- Operative food store is generally just that little bit more expensive than it's rivals. This makes it all right to get the emergency or just thought of items but not a large shop.Some things are reasonable and they do have some good offers. I bought two medium, sliced Hovis white loaves today priced at two for two pounds, which I thought reasonable. But, I was going to buy some Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages until I saw they were priced at £2.00 and the last pack I bought in Sainsbury's were reduced and cost only £1.00. I went without the sausages!

                      I also think this shop is reasonable for beer and wine. It doesn't have an enormous selection but for a small shop its more than adequate and they do vary the wines in stock.

                      My local Co- Op stocks a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, a small selection of meats, a delicatessen shelf, and dairy, tinned goods, a limited frozen section and extremely limited vegetarian foods, crisps, cakes and sweets, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, tobacco goods, toiletry and household. It stocks a little of most things.

                      When it comes to paying though I am not overly impressed. They have three pay points all in a row and you queue until one of these becomes available. This is a fairway to pay but, the queue is long at certain times and tails back into the aisle housing wines and soft drinks, making manoeuvrability somewhat difficult. Also the space to place your basket and to pack away your shopping is very small and awkward.

                      I have a membership card which is helpful. As this is a Co- Operative by being a member you are entitled to a share of profits given in this way: When paying for your purchases you present the card to the cashier to swipe and about twice yearly a voucher comes through my door giving money off store purchases. It doesn't amount to very much but I get one around Christmas time and this proves very helpful with those special treats. I find we can pop a Harvey's Bristol Cream and a bottle of wine or two into the basket courtesy of this voucher. What would you spend yours on? Sherry and wine or mince pies and Christmas Pud?

                      To summarise, I would say that it's not the best shop around but it is VERY convenient for people in my locality. It is very well used and would be sorely missed if it were to close. Some residential areas similar to mine, would only have a corner shop for that last minute purchase, which would most likely be more expensive than the Co- Operative. It is also great for those like me who do not drive and it's somewhere for the elderly to pop out to.

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