Review: The New and Improved Sainsbury’s

MAX LEVINE: After the renovation, my friend and I ‘will be spending our combined four-figure nectar points (that’s right girls, we’ll show you a good time) elsewhere.’

Big Issue Hovis party rings Sainsbury's Sidney Street St. Cervois

The four day closure, and my subsequent starvation, might have been worth while.  In the new Sainsbury’s, the side door is now the main exit. The door previously for those wishing to avoid “That Big Issue man”, permanently stationed on the main portal – the concierge of self-hate and intense depression. 

The former entrance, now exit, is wide open revealing a gloriously white void filled with with generously spaced self service machines. A hint at the beautifully sterile and enough-to-get-excited-about-but-not-too-different-to-cry interior. 

My first trip to the revamped supermarket had the single purpose of buying a six-pack of Sainsbury's own brand beer “St.Cervois” – kindly renamed “St.Cervix” after an unfortunate, and repeated, misreading. However, my desire for this saint of all ales, which was immediately visible at the back of the store, beckoning to me like the malty mistress she is, did not stop me from buying a loaf of bread, lemon squash, “Butterlicious” (a Sainsbury's own brand spreadable dairy product) and a packet of chocolate biscuits – which incidentally disappeared on the journey home, possibly dropping unnoticed to the pavement as a result of my euphoric stride. 

Having been convinced by my shopping companion (I think that's what they're calling it these days) that the purchase of Hovis “Seedilicious” bread (why does everything now have the suffix -licious?) would be a good investment considering the mutual discount that would be obtained, I went in search of spreadable Butter. However, my favourite own-brand dairy product was not with its milk-based siblings, now housed next to ham and, for some lovely unexplained reason, a single pack of pre-cooked prawns. I like to think the previous prawn owner said to themselves “Actually no, I don't need the prawns anymore, a more prudent investment would definitely be a block of lard”. 

Charlie needed party rings. As welfare rep, responsible for running a highly successful afternoon tea event at his respective college he needed high quality biscuit. Having promised his constituents fox's famed multi-coloured treats he needed the specific product. However, dear public, for love nor money can the English pound, in the Cambridge brand of Sainsbury's, buy you a single Fox's party ring. 

And this was not the only absentee. An obvious rush of starved students, either failing to realise that M&S exists or loyally refusing to eat any product other than Sainsbury's approved brands, had cleared the shelves of rolls, squash and yogurts. I quickly, but begrudgingly, forgave these absences as a result of opening day hysteria and proceeded to the checkout. 

Sainsbury's have gone insane for self-service checkouts. I cannot stress this enough. If, like me, you live for that electronic beep heard exclusively in either hospitals, libraries or the inner sanctum of a Sainsbury's self checkout machine, waste no time. Make the pilgrimage to our local Sainsbury's because there, my beepy friend, you will find a gallery of 15, nay, 20 contraptions beeping in a concerto of digital joy. 

Mr Sainsbury, a fictitious figure or real entrepreneur I care not, deserves a bloody big box of something nice to repay him for rectifying the shopping hell that was daily endured under the old checkout regime which filled the store and lead to many a stressful eve.  He has even gone to the trouble of introducing two lanes on approach to the self service stations in order to rectify those unjust moments of “yes madam, I was in the queue before you but please, of course, go ahead” *resentful growl*.

Sainsbury's is better. It is more spacious. It is more convenient and, even though a few things are illogically placed, in general, well laid out.

However, unless Party Rings make it back onto the regular stock list, both I, and my college welfare rep, will be spending our combined four-figure nectar points (that's right girls, we'll show you a good time) elsewhere.