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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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Replies to This Discussion

yes I know the Belsize one - the Crouch End branch feels like it's in a 70's time warp - it always feels dirty and dark - I have stopped using it - never has anything I want - I gave up several months ago

I'm totally with Betty M. I shop at Budgens and find the experience there a better one then I would have at any of the other supermarkets in Crouch End. The till section is a little confusing and a little frustrating as i never know which section would be faster when it gets busy(big tills, small tills or push in like everyone else does at the cigarette till ?!) but other than that the range of stock that they have, prices, local support and staff are lovely. I remember one day buying kitten food for the first time and one of the ladies at the till brought it up and we were having a lovely conversation which brightened my day!

I'm surprised people like to go in Waitrose - theres always huge ques at the tills, a ton of stock trollies in the isles in front of products and the place feels so claustrophobic and chaotic! 

I think Budgens feels less claustrophobic and chaotic because everybody is in Waitrose :-)

I have lived in crouch end for over 25 years and in the last 15 or so have done all my basic grocery shopping at Budgens. Thorntons budgens was a great improvment over the common or garden budgens in the range of products and the shopping experience. It has also been very community conscious, and many local charities and non profit organisations, such as the Crouch End Open Studios, with whom I am involved, have been very generously supported, not only via money, but by genuine involvement and particpation in local activities.

Crouch End is pretty unique in its range of local shops and Thorntons Budgens always seemed able to fit in with that- it is wonderful to have a fishmonger, good greengrocers, butchers etc all in one small area. The disappearance of Woolworths and the arrival of Waitrose has challenged that balance and though we cannot go back, we should appreciate what we have here in Crouch End. North Finchley for example ,where a friend lives, has a large Waitrose, wonderful, but is a desert when it comes to smaller local shops and community feeling. For me, the local connection wins over the corporate any day.

Despite having invested in a Waitrose corporate bond, I still shop at Budgens. It has an excellent drinks section, (oops, should I be saying this online?), with a very good selection of wines. There is one particular Ribera del duero that is a delight. There is also a really good cider and beer selection. You do not get the same range in Waitrose, and it has very much an individual rather than corporate feel.

One thing Budgens does well is their support for smaller independent suppliers, and if you poke around you can try a variety of foods that you would no otherwise get.

I'd recommend persevering and spending a bit of time when you are not rushed to look around. I value the presence of Budgens, admire what Andrew Thornton is trying to do, and think we would be worse off without them.

I'd like to carry on shopping in Budgens. It does always have an interesting range of food, and I like the garden on the roof and the way they've switched to closed-in fridges. But for at least a decade it's nickname in my house has been Buggers, and I don't think they've done enough to overcome its previous awfulness. Every time I go in there I come out gasping with irritation over some bizarre and unhappy bit of service. It's cursed by slow, unhelpful staff who have an incredible gift for staring into space while queues build up all over the shop. Not all of them are like that - some are friendly, energetic and helpful, but there's a sort of culture of reluctance and sloth that persists from the bad old days. 

So I'm trapped in a looping pattern: shopping there > getting incredibly annoyed by some inevitable bit of bad service > swearing never to go again > forgetting/forgiving/ deciding to give it another go a couple of weeks later > and repeat.

I, too like the doors on the coolers.

I spotted a board outside today offering a meal for two for £10, an attempt to rival Waitrose and M&S I imagine.

I actually had looked for this about a week ago and not found it, but I needed a lunch today (I'll save the included bottle of wine) so I tried again. I asked an assistant where to look for the offer, and he pointed me to a cupboard, right down by the deli counter, with a small notice. I just hadn't spotted it before. The cupboard actually contained a lot other stuff apart from the offer. Of the offer items the bottle of Maalbec was there, the profiteroles were there, one of the two lasagnes was available, but no sign of the veg. I went back to my assistant who actually did not know where to look for the other stuff. We called upon a more senior member of staff who suggested I might have been the first person ever to buy the complete offer. The other lasagne was in a cooler and the veg was in a bin by the main door.

I thoroughly enjoyed it once I'd got it home , but it should not have been such hard work.

I love Budgen's and think Andrew Thornton has worked incredibly hard to make it a community store. I feel sad that it's being dismissed as dark and dirty - it's neither of those things.

The queues do build up and it can be a little chaotic but you get that in the rubbish Tesco next door, Waitrose and in M&S.  There is a real variety of produce on offer and you want something they don't stock, Andrew will endeavour to source it for you. 

I'd raise these queuing concerns with the store so staff training can be sorted - it shouldn't happen if tills are empty but when I've had to queue in there it's not because of a lack of tills open, it's because it's busy.  And there's not much you can do about that expect be patient. 


It's not difficult for me to just go straight to Waitrose and never consider going in to Tesco's or Bludgeon because they never have anything I want - Tesco's especially - but Bludgeon cancels itself out because it usually wants at least thirty pence more (why would I give Bludgeon thirty pence when I can walk another 20 feet and save my money? makes no sense)

as for the whole "community" thing - oh please - anyone my age was over that by 1979

and no-one can defend the layout or the lack of system on the tills - that is a complete joke and what is astounding is that it could be so easily solved

Great, then shop elsewhere. Problem solved.  I have absolutely no idea what your comment about community is about and suspect I don't want to. 

the fact that you don't want to know what my comment means kind of proves the point I was making - London supermarkets are not a place anyone should be expecting to find "community" It certainly doesn't exist in a place like Crouch End never has never will


which is why I don't shop in Bludgeon as I have stated about 3 times

Hi - was in yesterday having failed to spot the inadequate signs saying the card payment systems were down and therefore cash only.  Was therefore:

1. happy the store was almost completely empty but didn't realise why until

2. I was annoyed at having to leave the store to get cash and come back to pay.


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