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This is a local shop for local people...
Member Name: andyroo
Date: 09/07/01, updated on 09/07/01 (11240 review reads)
Advantages: cheap, wide variety, good quality
Disadvantages: ancient shop, strange customers, strange staff
Our "Local Shop" is Morrisons at Merrion Centre, Leeds. If you ever visit from out of town, please; be very careful, for there's nothing for strangers here....
I should point out that this opinion doesn't cover Morrissons as a whole, just this particular store - and I will get on to the product selection, layout, freshness and all that later on, but first I think it would be useful to give you an idea about the atmosphere of this store, and the strange goings-on within.
Morrisons (Mossers, as it's known to the locals) is the 'flagship store' of the Merrion Centre, although this flag is probably flown at half-mast. Merrion Centre itself is probably the worst shopping centre in Europe - and that's no idle boast! It houses Britain's first multi-story car park, which remains, pretty much unchanged since the day it was born in the late 1950s along with the rest of the concrete-and-tile abomination.
The Merrion Centre never closes: it has a kind of footpath running through it which is open day and night. Perfect for attracting tramps, drunken louts and dog turds, which it invariably does. On a good day with the wind in the right direction, the smell of pee can be savoured for miles around. First thing every morning, a strange leprechaun dressed in green pushes a mower up and down the ageing floor-tiles of the centre, ensuring that they are kept slippery enough for people passing though to fall over, and possibly break their necks.
I digress.... Morrisons.
Tubbs works on the cigarette counter, Edward collects the baskets. I half expect him to pull out a crossbow at any moment. Iris the cleaner works the tills.
Customers in Morrisons are a strange mix, students, more students and stoned students... pensioners, vagrants and... the odd office worker after 5 pm. I fall into the latter category (I SAID LATTER!) and I, and those like me never fail to be bewildered and entranced by t
he horrors within.
Don't wear a tie
If you wear a tie in Morrisons Merrion, pensioners assume you are a member of staff and ask you where the Milk is. This frequently happens to me, and I usually point them in the right direction, although recently wickedness has got the better of me and I've sent them in the direction of ice cream. I hope that temptation has got the better of them and they've spent a few pennies on something nice for themselves.
Given the trolley driving skills exhibited by Morrisons Merrion customers, I would guess that few of them possess a driving licence. Most of them should be sectioned. You will need to pre-empt any agressive trolley motion, or else risk losing an ankle.
Clothes pegs? Aisle four...
You might be needing a clothes peg every now and again at Morrisons. I'm sorry to say that a number of their customers have shocking B.O. And frankly that goes for the guy that collects the baskets as well.
Aw that NOISE!
Morrisons plays an unnerving blend of eighties and nineties music that may differ from your expectations of supermarket sound. Some days they play banging techno, which is unsurprising given that I swear many of their customers are on very strong drugs.
Ok, enough about the customers you're lumped in-store with, what about the shop(e) itself?
Well it's hardly a modern affair - for one thing it still has those little air tubes on the tills where they bundle up the money and shove it up a vacuum pipe. The floor could certainly do with renewing (but where would everyone go if they closed for refurbishment?) and frankly I wouldn't eat anything out of the ovens at the back.
That said, Morrisons actually offers a comprehensive range of quality goods. It has one of the best fruit and veg sections of any supermarket, and it's range of ethnic foods is absolutely second
Morrisons stock a huge range of tinned goods, much bigger than that of either Sainsbury or Tesco, and have a wonderful selection of cheese, bacon (loads of types of Panchetta) and are generally much cheaper than Sainsbury.
Video cassettes are 79p and bizarrely you can often find cut price recordable CD's for the computer!
Morrisons don't operate a loyalty card (presumably because many of their customers would simply lose them on the way home) so instead concentrate on special offers. These are available aplenty, and are generally really good offers on things you'd want to buy anyway - which is appreciated greatly if you're as tight as me. Some recent examples: 2 four packs of San Miguel (beer)- £5, R Whites Lemondade 2 bottles for 95p, 6 pack of Orange Tango cans, buy 1 get 1 free.
Despite the weirdnesses (localness?) of the shop, I am really fond of Morrisons. I dare say that in it's more modern stores it does offer "the very best for less" but in Merrion Centre it at least raises a smile.
Incidentally, I believe that Morrisons Merrion is their most profitable store (correct me if I'm wrong, Ken). Perhaps this is because they have not spent anything on maintaining the shop since it opened, all those years ago.
If you can stand the strangeness then don't just shop: step back in time. Just keep your wits about you, eh? :-)