I dropped in to Morrisons this afternoon to grab a few things. Not much, just enough for what I’m planning to cook tonight. One of the things I wanted was plain, uncooked peanuts. I’ve bought them before from Morrisons, so I know that they have them – or, at least, used to. I also know that they’ve moved things around in the store since I last bought them, and they aren’t were they used to be.
Not to worry, I thought, I’ll have a quick look in the obvious places and, if I still can’t find them, I’ll ask someone. First stop, look around near the fruit and veg, since that’s broadly where they were before and there’s a good chance they still are, albeit in a different location. Nope, can’t find them.
Second stop, the crisps and nuts aisle. Not really the most likely place, but it makes more sense to work systematically through the store rather than backwards and forwards from end to end. And, no, they’re not there.
Third stop, the baking ingredients and dried fruits and nuts aisle. Some other supermarkets put what they call “wholefoods” in this general location, and there’s a certain synergy about it as, in Morrisons, it does contain raw almonds, hazelnuts, cashews etc. But no peanuts.
So, the fallback option. Catch the first member of staff who walks past and ask. Cue the following interaction:
Me: Please could you tell me where I’d find plain, uncooked peanuts.
Her: (as if I’ve just interrupted something really important) In the crisps and nuts aisle.
Me: I’ve already looked in there, and couldn’t see any. Could you show me exactly where they are?
Her: (deep sigh, starts walking towards the crisps and nuts) Maybe we don’t have any, then, because that’s where they are. (We arrive at the nuts) This is all the nuts we’ve got.
Me: No, these aren’t the ones I want. Normally, they’d be in something like the wholefoods section. Do you have anything like that?
Her: (blankly) Wholefoods? No, we don’t have anything like that.
Me: They used to be near the fruit and veg (walking towards where they used to be) – they were here, before you changed things around.
Her: Those are over by the front of the store. But it doesn’t have any plain peanuts, that’s just nuts still in their shells.
Me: Can you show me where that is, please.
Her: OK, but it’s just nuts in shells.
(She leads me towards the far corner of the shop, to a unit tucked away behind a seasonal display of hanging baskets. It contains many different types of nuts and seeds, some in shells, mostly not in shells. Heck, I’d call this a wholefoods section, even if Morrisons don’t. There, at the bottom: Red skin peanuts, 99p for 400g.)
Me: Yes, that’s what I’m looking for, thanks.
Her: (another deep sigh, wanders off to the staff room door).
Maybe I’m turning into a grumpy old man, but my memory of asking shop assistants where to find things is that a) they knew where it was, and b) they’d insist on showing you, even if you were happy with just getting general directions. Was this just one particular member of staff being crap at her job, or is it a particular feature of Morrisons, or are all supermarket staff now this unhelpful?