did you know that in the UK that your social class is partially determined by what supermarkets you shop at? even though most supermarket’s stock costs about the same no matter where you go?
here is an (incomplete) list so that you can increase the level of realism in your roleplays! remember to call any characters who shop at the bottom of the list a ‘dirty oik’ or ‘scaf’!
Upper Middle Class
Kate Middleton was ‘just like us’ when she shopped in Waitrose, however this was reported by the upper middle class media - which just goes to show just how upper middle class Waitrose truly is. Of all the supermarket chains, undoubtedly top. Dirty oiks will accuse you of being a posh wank and cooing parents will raise eyebrows in soft surprise and point out that ‘you’re doing well for yourself then, eh?’ should you choose to shop here.
Ah, M&S. Once, I went to get a birthday cake here because I was ‘splashing out’ and it turned out that you could get many cakes for but a few pounds. Much exclaiming of ‘my goodness, I cannot believe how cheap M&S is!’ passed between myself and my partner, which shows how socially ingrained it was in us that M&S was for people above our echelon.
Sainsbury’s is still perceived by parents as being awfully expensive, but stocking only quality products. In truth, it’s pretty cheap, and even has its own basics range with patronizing slogans on the tins such as ‘Dinner is easy peasy, just a little less cheesy!’ on their own brand cheese & tomato pizzas. Sells a variety of fruits and vegetables, showing it clearly caters to those who will actively prepare and even make their own meals - a definite middle class red flag. Middle of the road and a safe option, you are unlikely to be mocked for using Sainsbury’s. And don’t forget to collect your nectar points for clicking on some random ad or remembering to wipe your arse!
TESCO, Ah, Tesco - the friend to all students. Sells bags of cookies* for like £1.50, and lunch time sandwiches can be purchased for as little as £1. Even their luxury salad range has massive reductions if you come in at the end of the day, and hey, just the other night - i got some reduced to clear Smirnoff gold vodka for £9. £9! Anyway, Tesco is the go-to shop for your bog standard anything you want. Once there was a scandal about their own brand peanut butter causing cancer - and I, who ate peanut butter sandwiches almost exclusively for lunch at Primary school, was the subject of much bullying and ominous health predictions for this reason.
*Please do not assume I am not British for using the word ‘cookies’ here instead of biscuits. Cookie in British vernacular refers a very specific kind of biscuit - aka a round flat thing typically filled with chocolate chips. Sometimes smarties.
Morrison’s is a dark horse, and I cannot say for certain that it actually belongs in this class category. A relatively new chain, the town I grew up in did not have one until I was around sixteen - and I can always remember my mother muttering that she ‘didn’t like Morrisons’. Why someone would dislike a supermarket chain, I cannot fathom why - but here we are. Sells a lot of cheap meat, I think? And has an offensively ugly logo as you can see above, giving me an deep sense of distrust and uncertainty. In retrospect, my mother was right. I do not like Morrisons.
Asda… bought over by Walmart, and therefore familiar to the typical American audience. I believe Asda were the first to start this whole ‘smart-price’ thing - where it will match the price of products you buy in store with any of the other large chains. Price fixing? Some believe so. Others argue that it is simply the American way. I feel truly transnational shopping in this wonderful supermarket, although I have memories of a blue-jeaned mother slapping her behind causing a pleasant jingle of coins to resonate from her back pocket. This image haunts me and I have only just now realized how deeply scarred i have been by this. I realize now the meaning was both to put a bottom on the television screen and to make me feel jovial and have a little laugh as though I am an asinine child, and to convey that I can save pennies simply by shopping here. Thank you, Asda.
& Farmfoods. Sell mostly frozen goods, but a little tip thats not so well known about? Booze. Booze and drinks are SO cheap here. I mean, I got three 5l bottles of coke for £5! £5!!!!!! It’s ridiculous. Seriously I don’t think anything in Iceland costs over a fiver tbqh, it’s just that kind of shop. Around Christmastime, Kerry Katona will resurge on the telebox to tell you that all mum’s go to Iceland. I don’t think my mum has ever gone to Iceland? Is she perhaps not a real mother? I’m not sure.
& Lidl. Sell a tonne of imported brands, particularly Polish food. My Estonian friend loves it for this reason. Also, every brand will be some kind of cheap knock-off. You are a serious, utter scaf if you shop here. There is no getting around this. You will be mocked as a penny-pincher or poor af. All the meat is Horse Brains and also actually contains like 0.0001% meat. There is no redemption here, shopping at Adli or Lidl will condemn you to the life Channel 4 documentaries, in fact, I’m pretty sure Channel 4 producers sit around and hawk on anyone passing into these stores. I guarantee you that 80% of Benefits Britain’s footage comes from just following around Aldi shoppers.
no one actually does all their shopping at poundland. Unless… you do? In which case, holy fuck, you could get better deals at Aldi probably? But hey listen, Poundland has changed the face of British supermarkets… forever. Many of the large chains had to reduce the prices of their products to just a £1, all because of poundland. Poundland is also the face of all evil, if one thinks about it, as most of their employees are there on a voluntary basis and aren’t paid at all. In fact, Poundland made it pretty in-vogue to not pay their employees and get away with it when no one would dare before (probably not true, but eyy.)
And that is it, our tour through the wide range of British Supermarkets and what Social Class it Says About You. Go on, ask any British person on the validity of this list - and I guarantee you that they will acknowledge at least the sentiment of the truth in this. It should be noted that of course, shopping in any of these places doesn’t actually say anything about you - but hey, that’s classism and culture for you!