The Trolley Letters

5 mins. to read
The Trolley Letters

10 December 2015

Dear Mr Sainsbury

On behalf of the Tonbridge WI, I would like to congratulate you on the quality of your Sainsbury’s Exceptional Mince Pies this year. Last year, the ladies opined that they contained an excess of cinnamon, and our Treasurer, Mrs Bland, who is allergic to unnecessary foreign ingredients, experienced palpitations. This year she sailed through a long committee meeting, in which a large number of your excellent confections were consumed, without any unpleasantness. (Mind you, she did go into anaphylactic shock after eating a quite revolting plate of Stollen purchased from a certain Germanic “discount store” which shall, for now, remain nameless).

The Committee was just wondering why, in view of the general quality of your products, and your favourable perceived position on the McKinsey Price-Quality Matrix (as was recently explained to our ladies by a delightful gentlemen from McKinsey – not to be confused with the American sexologist – a mistake Mrs Bland constantly makes) – your shares have actually gone nowhere this year?

You will probably want to tell me that your economy range is doing rather well, but do you not think there may be some business risk associated with blurring your quality brand image in this way? I mean, are you really Waitrose or ASDA? It would be nice to know.

If you could manage to get down to Tonbridge in the near future to unpack your corporate strategy and to explain why your earnings per share are falling so precipitously on broadly flat sales (as Mr M explained), we could provide you with some outstanding home-made scones for your trouble.

Yours sincerely, Edith Frog (Mrs), President-for-Life, Tonbridge WI


10 December 2015

Dear Mr Marks and (I daresay) Mr Spencer

I have been in the habit of purchasing a large box of Marks & Spencer Extra-Strong Tea Bags (180 bags at a cost £5.99) in recent years as a Christmas present for my sister-in-law, Lady Veronica Peach. For anyone living beyond these shores, your products are always received with alacrity. This is no doubt due to what those marketing Johnnies call branding.

Indeed, you alone amongst so-called retailers seem to be able to command a premium price for products that are only moderately above average because they are well presented, well packaged, are very easy to prepare and bear your singular name.

I met one of those cocky cockney celebrity chefs the other day at a Michelin starred restaurant (someone else was paying) who told me that all your food is, and I quote, TV dinners for posh people. (Where posh people I presume means the hurried and overly-busy middle classes). Personally, as a fully born-in member of the upper class, I wouldn’t normally come near one of your stores, as it would entail my using a credit card or some such instrument.

In fact, my family purchases all of our provisions from the village shop in the feudal village of Scrotum-on-the-Wold, which we have owned since Doomsday. I am very proud to tell you, Sirs, that we have not settled our bill in that piffling establishment for more than two hundred years.

And please do not imagine that anyone from my class would purchase apparel from your stores, preferring Jermyn Street. Come to think of it, would you not create “Shareholder Value”, as I believe it is called, by de-merging the apparel business from the food business?

Anyway, returning to the matter in hand, I learn from so-called social media that Lady Veronica has sadly perished in an accident while big-game hunting in East Africa. (It appears that the lioness that she was stalking was only maimed when she closed in for her trophy. A brave girl to the end.)

This is formally to forewarn you, Sirs, that the said box of “Tea Bags” will be returned to the outlet from which it was purchased under your so-called No Quibble Returns Policy – and I expect an immediate refund in cash.

Lord Snort of Tightwad, TWATT, Bat Castle

PS: I spent a total of thirty-two minutes at the checkout to buy those wretched tea-bags. I enclose an invoice for the time taken, calculated pro rata at my after-dinner speaking rate of £400 per hour.


10 December 2015

Dear Mr Aldi

My daddy says you’re German, but that some Germans are nice ‘cos they make really nice cars. Anyway, I just wanted to say that my mummy loves your stores cos’ she says they’re really cheap and nice. When granny slipped on a cardboard box in your store, it was completely her fault. My teacher, Miss Bowles, says we should do a little bit of market research during the holidays and I’ve decided to analyse supermarkets. My theory is – and it’s completely mine – that people like your stores because there’s less mental stress required to walk through a small circuit and to choose from maybe three types of mustard instead of sixteen. Granny says there’s just too much choice these days. She says: Whatever happened to keep it simple? Also, when you get to the checkout, that nice Lithuanian lady is really quick and really smiley. Daddy says she must be on something, as it is 50 times quicker than M&S, but he can be a bit unkind sometimes. Daddy says that he’s actually quite glad that you have put a bomb under the lazy, vainglorious growth model of the established UK supermarkets. Mummy would love to buy some of your shares but she can’t find any.

Love, Brian (aged 8 ½), Canterbury


10 December 2015


On behalf of all the big boys at Beef’s Gym, Kent, we’d just like to take a moment to sort you out.

See, the thing is, my mate Paul purchased one nine kilogram pot of Extra Muscle Plus Protein Powder from one of your hyper-stores at a not inconsiderable expense, but he ain’t made no gains at all. Mind you, I’m not quite sure if he, like, ate it, ‘cos he’s a bit funny. So that’s one thing.

There’s another thing, mate. And we are not very happy. Not very happy, at all.

Your ****ing share price!

See, last January, this bloke came round to talk about why all the personal trainers should go for pensions. And it turns out that most of the lads agreed to make a monthly payment into some so-called Blue Chip pension fund (whatever that is). Well, this fund, right, it had a fourteen percent exposure (if that is the right word) to your numbskull supermarket. And what happened?

You know what happened, don’t you mate? You’ve managed to go down twenty percent while the market, like has only gone down, like eight-and-a-half percent. And that was supposed to go up too. What kind of muppets are you?

We don’t suppose you’ll even bother to reply to this letter, mate, but don’t expect these boys to buy any more protein shakes from your bunch of plonkers neither.

Very kindly yours, Big Barry (103 kilos)


There will be more Trolley Letters arriving soon.

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