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I'm a newbie - so apologies if this has been addressed before - but I am ready to quit trying with Budgens... I really want to support them, but hate the shopping experience... Despite mostly friendly staff, the management seem sadly inept/uncaring and I'd rather head to Waitrose/Tesco.

Friday night @ 6.45pm, with loaded basket and already queuing at the checkout for 10 mins... the computer systems go down, resulting in cashiers only being able to accept cash payment.  Despite requests to "management" to announce this on the PA system... nothing was done.  I was lucky that I had cash in wallet for once - otherwise I would have had to abandon shopping....  felt bad for lines of people after me.

Flash forward to next day.... 6.30pm on a Saturday...  I counted 5 cashiers open.. and each one had at least 10 people queueing - whilst 5 or so cash registers were unoccupied... customers appeared to be largely patient/tolerant/apathetic..... but it's a pattern that I'm beginning to wish to avoid.  I really want to support Budgens, but they make it so damn hard!

Surely I cant be the only one feeling this way????

Tags: Shoppping

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No apology needed, its clearly time to address this. I try to support Budgens, it feels bit more local than the other chains. I like that it sells Dunn's bread. If you want a ready meal the frozen range is pretty good.  Andrew Thornton has tried to be part of Crouch End. I have no idea who the manager of Wait rose is. 

I have never seen it as busy as you describe. If the queues have lengthened while I have been there the call goes out for more check outs.  

Are the computer systems Budgens responsibility, or someone else's?

Hi there

Andrew @ Budgens here; what you report is not acceptable and I hear and understand your frustration!!

Tks Adrian for the support, and in answer to your question, yes the computer systems are our responsibility - they are installed by someone else, but its my job to make sure they do what they are supposed to do!!

So here's what we've been doing, and working on for some time.

1. we've just upgraded our computer system - the old one just wasn't good and reliable enough. Yes glitches with it (its only in a few weeks) were the source of the problem you reported on Fri.

2. we're in the process of revising all our schedules so that we match the cashiers we have to our level of business. In addition, we've put in place a much stronger system for calling for help when the queues build - Adrian, so glad you've seen this working!! Running Walker, I am sorry you did not experience this on Sat - you should have and I will be speaking to the duty manager and checkout supervisor about what was going on at that time.

3. we're working with managers and supervisors, better equipping them to cope with challenges.  When the credit card system went down (afraid it does happen sometimes), the process is that announcements are made. Its disappointing that this did not happen and especially when you requested it.  Again I will be speaking to those on duty to see what went wrong.

I appreciate your desire to support us and Adrian the reasons you're listed for supporting us. However, I know we have to make it easier - I believe from feedback from others, that we are much better than we were, so Running Walker I do hope you do experience better service the next time, if you do come back.  Pse do feel free to e-mail me at any point with comments and feedback: andrew@thorntonsbudgens.com.



Budgeons lost my custom entirely when Waitrose opened - the whole till secenario beggar's belief - that entire end of the shop near the door needs a complete overhaul its chaotic and ugly - but mainly inefficient - people can get served by the two tills where the cigarettes are while you stand and watch in a slow queue - then you walk down there and 5 other people have had the same idea! GRRRR!


Crouch End is so badly served for supermarket shopping but that is why Bludgeon and the ghastly depressing useless Tesco's get away with over pricing and poor service and selling out of basics (in the middle of London?? really??)


I hear Sainsbury's is opening in old Blockbuster stores so we may get a Sainsbury's on Tottenham lane


meanwhile I only use Waitrose which is lovely but not great


I find CE really is poor for shopping

Budgens has always been awful. When I first moved to Crouch End 12 years ago it was the only supermarket. Imagine! Despite a facelift it still falls way behind all the other options in terms of range, prices, and customer service. The staff, like you say, are friendly, but frankly useless. Often, you'll ask for something only to be greeted as if you've just asked for a seven-headed Octopus. On my last visit I asked where the Ciabatta was and got shown to the cereals isle. I thought he was joking, but no.
At least the manager took his face off the front of the shop .... What was that all about?

it's not Sainsbury's buying up Blockbusters it's Morrison's - my mistake


any chain with half a brain must be able to see a massive gap in the market in Crouch End for well stocked well run supermarkets


I know it's not going to happen but my personal fantasy would be Sainsbury's buying out that useless Tesco's and the shambolic expensive-for-no-reason Bludgeon and knocking it into one decent size supermarket


this isn't a trivial issue - many many times I have gone back home without being able to get *3 or 4* items on my shopping list - it's things like this that really make me re-think living in Crouch End - is the character and small town vibe worth the inconvenience?

I have a very different view, and different experiences.

Its very rare I can't get what I want in the convenience store just around the corner from me - their shelves have a wide variety of different things. 

If the nearest local shop does not have what I want then I may walk up to the Clock Tower fruit and veg - they generally have most stuff (lime leaves are kept in the freezer, but not on display).

Fresh meat I can't get from the convenience store, so if I've missed the butcher (I should decide what to cook sooner) then I walk up to one of the supermarkets, because needs must.

So my personal fantasy would be that the block from Waitrose to Budgeons be knocked into one giant indoor space and turned into a lido with carefully controlled UV lighting for a nice tan, non-fattening cocktails and chocolate croissants, no chlorine, and maybe a bevy or two of beautiful fawning sycophants to flatter me. 

That would make me re-think wanting to go and live on Goa. The small town vibe carries no inconvenience whatsoever, rather the reverse.

of course the convenience is decided by income - I need affordable basics

Hello N8, first time poster but long time reader...I felt I had to chip in here...Graham B - you have to reconsider the smaller shops for even your affordable basics.

The supermarkets have created an illusion that you'll be able to buy cheaper from them, mass buying power and all that...it's simply not born out by the facts.

Check out the little Turkish shop on Tottenham Parade for example (nr the Queens) all their cans of (chick peas, assorted beans (not heinz type!) and vegetables are approx 60p a pop, compare with Waitrose and Tesco and be ready to add 20 to 30p for similar.

Fresh bread?  again check that shop.  A fresh Turkish loaf at Green Lanes prices, ie. around £1 - a similar sized loaf in the supermarkets, double the price.  Milk and tea bags as cheap as the supermarkets up the road.

Support your local small shops Crouch Enders, they're a lot more important than a new Morrisons coming to the area!

@ BB Mac

my  choices are totally about money (sadly) I couldn't care less *where* I'm shopping I just want a choice and whatever is cheapest

years ago the few pence on an independent's prices was understandable to cover their overheads but most now use that as an excuse to be extortionate - I have no inclination whatsoever of paying through the nose because it's a local shop - that's nonsense

and the same goes for Tesco's SELLING OUT OF CARROTS (?)  as though they are in the Outer Hebrides! forget it

so thanks for that recommendation I'll defintely check out the chick peas for 60p!

I'm happy to support Budgens over Tesco. Particularly at the weekend when Waitrose is a mad house and full of unbelievably rude customers pushing and shoving and generally being unCrouch-End like. Budgens also has a better range of the more exotic food ingredients, localish products and Eco products. It at least is trying to be a full service supermarket. It is the only one of the 3 with any real community involvement.

Couldn't agree more with Betty M. Budgens has an excellent record on community involvement. And we're really lucky in Crouch End to have so many small independent food shops. Anyone looked at Muswell Hill lately??

Was interesting the read the comments.  I moved here 12 years ago; Budgens today is a vastly superior experience compared to back then. Competition and a genuine attempt to be part of the community have revolutionised the store.  Yet for all that, when I need a supermarket, I keep returning to Waitrose.  I pop in to Budgens one every couple of months for a nose around or because I've not found what I want elsewhere.  While it's better than it was, something always happens that makes me think I'm being charitable by shopping there, like I'm helping out. 

When there are two great independent butchers, a die hard fish monger, several bakeries, and at least two first-class green grocers (let alone Tesco and Waitrose) you'd imagine that the store with the luxury of square footage would really push the boat out to capture the hearts and wallets of Crouch Enders.

In contrast....

My brother lives in Belsize Park.  They also have a Budgens run by the same guy (good to see his contribution here - doubt we'll see that from any of the others).  Yet, the Belsize Park experience always seems so much better than over here.  The staff seem to care and know more.  The lines move more quickly.  The place always seems better turned out. 

If they can make it work on the other side of the Heath, why not here?


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