Friday, 2 May 2008

Finding God in the Co Op

The refurbished Links Co Op is a pleasant improvement over the old one. Well I should hope so, otherwise what's the point in a refurb? Removing the product shot window vinyls has improved visibility into the shop and thus makes it look more inviting. Moving BWS (beers, wines & spirits), and having a mid-floor wine display in the window adds to this enticement.

The F&V (fruit & veg), offer seems to have expanded, or maybe I'm imagining it? Walking straight from the Links boulevard into the 'fresh zone' is always a good thing. A really nice touch is adding two product categories - Wholefoods and Free From on the shelf ends. This may be lost on most shoppers, but I'm really pleased to see that these are here. They tip the balance from Co Op lurking in the Londis/Costcutter bracket and moving into being a proper supermarket. Love it.

The lowered ceiling makes a huge difference to the feel of the store. It's cosier (well, cosy in supermarket terms), and the lighting seems better on the eye. They could have mixed lighting accents through the categories, but hey ho. Looks like exterior signage has yet to be installed, or is the exposed cabling a feature?

Having shopped, I was just disappointed by the state of the checkouts. I'd walked around a refurbished store with new fixtures, layout, graphic treatments, lighting, then at the final hurdle was tripped up by old tills. The belts still had graffiti on them for God sake. This is a pretty big deal and simple to address too. Just change the belts or clean the graffiti off maybe? Detail, detail, detail. Come on people!!!!

My final point is not of disappointment, but I feel a loss from this store. The old store had a prayer box by the notice boards. I never understood why this was there. In my past, I'd seen lots of collection boxes in supermarkets, like the 1950's looking blind boy with a dog - a guide dog I guess. This was a nice looking object, then there are those hideous UFO dishes with the swirling red & white pattern - pop a coin in the slot and it will swirl around the shallow cone (like the water swirling into a plug-hole - Hitchcock did a great homage to this in Psycho - ed.), eventually dropping in the hole in the centre. These have featured in supermarkets, but a prayer box? Do people kneel and say a few words next to the fire extinguisher?

I like it though.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW !!!

dimps said...

Prayer box? Methinks you are teasing...

I like the new look (and the cooled white wines) - but are there actually any new products?

Plus... the freezer doors should be reversed on one plane (one of the corner doors opens in the corner - my poor knuckles!) And, isn't it just a tad insensitive to load one freezer with veggie products on the top couple of shelves and shrink-wrapped meat joints on the shelves below?

More importantly though, back in the days of the RACS (Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society0, staff morale and training was of upmost importance. Since the RACS was swallowed up by the Co-operative Wholesale Society, however, these principles have seemingly disappeared.

I suppose the only way to solve the Links' problems would be to join the Co-op and work from within.

...Talking of which - only last weekend, I was conversing with a Plumstead Common resident who lamented the lack of a "Woodcraft Folk" group in the area.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that investment is going into the shop as it is a major asset for us and a godsend to mums, pensioners etc. We would be so much poorer if it ever closed. But the new layout seems more crowded than before. There are also less meat products and more alcohol products than before(perhaps a sign of yuppification)

Anonymous said...

It does now stock a vaguely plasticky tasting Panna Cotta! And yes, the 'Free From' stuff!! Truly, God is in the details...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and speaking of Panna Cotta, sugary bliss rush that it is, does anyone know of GOOD dentists in Plumstead? Or is that an anomaly? Am perhaps being outlandishly ridiculous in my request? My hopes are high, but my confidence on the subject is less so....

ebilpirate said...

I am quite impressed, I was so used to nipping for veg and finding myself confronted with a few almost moldy lettuce and thats about all.

The fairtrade wineboxes aren't bad by the way. If you fancy keeping a bit of ok is stuff lurking in the fridge but don't want to commit to chugging a whole bottle on a monday night.

Dentists - there is a decently priced private place on Erindale near the Slade. I hate using private dentists BUT sometimes it's just easier to drop 30 quid on a checkup at a sensible time rather than loosing a whole days holiday to an 11am appointment that is inevitably delayed by 45 minutes

gerbiltamer said...

Personally, I love your witty musings Dr Pangloss and it's nice to see that you've managed to escape the pages of Voltaire. The Co-op refit: most of Bexley and Greenwich's Co-ops seem to have endured a recent facelift, which is good in some ways and bad in others. I agree, it's nice to have more stock, but it's difficult to get pushchairs down the narrower isles.

I know the manager of The Plumstead Common store; he's a fine chap with a lifelong experience of working in the various Co-op stores which exist in the two boroughs. It was his ambition in life to manage such a fine place and he's achieved it. Fair play to him.....

ebilpirate said...

The pity is the co-op seems to have collapsed back to it's old ways.

Last Tuesday every bag of salad on the shelves was a day past it's sell by date and most have 1/4" of rotten goo in the bottom of the bag.

I'll be back to sailing me galleon down to tescos again then.