My lifestyle choice vindicated by the top story in the news

I have spent most of the day saying, “I told you so!” to my mother. I cannot bloody stand Morrisons. While I’m aware that the cause of the latest chapter of E. Coli O157 Scottish edition has not yet been confirmed as Morrisons, it is not looking too good for them.

I had never heard of Morrisons until they took over Safeway. And Safeway was bad enough. I mean, as far as I could tell, the only reason you would shop at Safeway was if the other nearest supermarket was Lidl. Even then, at least Lidl don’t pretend to be classy when they’re not. It’s a bit like, “Look at us being a cheapo food shop where all the cooking instructions are not in English. Take it or leave it.”

Then along comes Morrisons, and boy, that really put Safeway into perspective. Invariably, their own-brand food tastes foul. You might say, “Serves you right for buying own brand food.” But I can eat own brand Sainsbury’s, own brand Tesco, and even own brand bloody Asda without being condemned to a yucky mouth (if you are lucky), violent diarrhoea attacks (if you moderately lucky) or death (if you are unlucky).

Even Kwik Save’s “No Frills” products were more appealing than Morrisons own brand. And I am not talking Morrisons economy or value lines. Actual own brand, I am talking about. Rancid. I have always told this to my parents, who sadly persist on going to Morrisons even though the food is foul.

I think I first noticed when I ate a pork pie. I mean, how you can eat a pork pie that is so dodgy that you can taste its dodginess is beyond me. Surely the point of pork pies is that they are disgustingly, disgracefully unhealthy. I doubt the existence of premium free range organic pork pies (although if you know of any, point me in the direction). Yet this pork pie was drier than the Sahara desert, which is just plain wrong. Actually, I think a mouthful of sand from the Sahara desert may have been preferable.

Then there are the rolls. Most supermarkets say something along the lines of, “Freshly baked today.” The label on this packet of “crusty rolls” says “Prepared for you in this store”. That is about as ominous as it gets. These rolls are less “crusty” and more “rock solid”. It tastes as though they have been “prepared for me in this store” then left out in the blazing sun to go stale for five days before someone remembered to put it out on the shelf.

One of my mother’s suggestions was that maybe it is not Morrisons’ fault, but a problem with their suppliers. But that hardly vindicates Morrisons. It just suggests that they are too cheap and / or rubbish to hook up with a supplier that can make pork pies with some moisture in.

If the source of this E. coli outbreak turns out to be Morrisons, then it will suggest that they were dealing with a meat supplier that was unable to follow the most basic of hygiene instructions. You know, like washing your hands between handling uncooked and cooked meat. Stuff that children know.

And of course I have an opinion on their logo, which is surely one of the worst known to man. Yellow and black can be a nice combination, but what is with that disgustingly ugly font? It looks like it was designed in the 1980s. The new logo is not much of an improvement. It looks like it was designed using Microsoft Word’s draw tools.

You might think I am joking, but this is a big part of what makes Morrisons unappealing to me. I mean, when the shop’s signage and products’ packaging are so ugly, it hardly gives you confidence about the quality of what’s inside. In short, Morrison’s image is old-fashioned and fusty. The food I had tasted old and fusty.

I am not all that picky when it comes to foods. Sure, I’m a bit queasy about sell by dates and the like, but I don’t mind eating cheap food. But I began to notice a pattern and it actually got to the point where I refused to eat own brand Morrisons products. This is not a joke. It is not every day you have your lifestyle choices vindicated by the top story in the news.

(NB. I do not wish to imply that I could have caught E. coli or any other gastric disease from Morrisons own brand pork pies or crusty rolls. Just that I found them so totally disgusting that I refused to eat them ever again.)


  1. We had a Morrisons, briefly, in our little town when they took over from Safeway, before selling it on to Somerfield. I never liked the Safeway in this little town, and I thought Morrisons during its brief tenure was a small improvement. I’ve only been into the big Morrisons store in Inverness (formerly Safeway) a few times and was perfectly happy with what I got there, it’s just that I don’t go to that part of the city very often. I tend to use Tesco because it’s convenient. Unfortunatley we don’t have Sainsbury or Waitrose here and the M&S, which is good, is close to Morrisons so inconvenient for me to get to.

    However, I have a few ‘rules’ when it comes to food – I don’t eat pre-prepared food very often, the nearest I get to that is cooked meat, which I always buy in sealed packets. I would never buy loose cooked meats in ANY British supermarket; my local butcher is OK because I trust their hygiene regime. It goes without saying that I never eat things like pork pies – disgusting things! Scotland’s poor health record I’m sure flows from eating products of this nature, followed by deep-fried Mars bars and washed down with Irn-Bru. Yukk!

    There is much more enjoyment to be had in food made from fresh ingredients – and it doesn’t take any longer most of the time than using packaged alternatives. I tend to use my micro-wave combi-oven mainly to warm plates and for little else.

    I agree whole-heartedly about the Morrisons logo – stale and old-fashioned; the gent who ran (runs?) it had a stellar business reputation until they took over the much bigger Safeway and got themselves into a right mess, which they’re perhaps only now getting over. His business strategies (and the logo) may have been fine 25 years ago, but now look pretty, as you say, ‘fusty’.

  2. We too had a Safeway which turned into a Morrisons and now a Somerfield, and to be honest I’ve not set foot in it since the Safeway days – mainly due to a change in circumstances and not because I have anything against either Morrisons or Somerfield.

    You do expect a certain level of hygiene no matter how much you pay for food, or where you buy it from and I dare say even being linked to this outbreak will be extremely damaging for Morrisons’ reputation especially in Scotland.

    I would agree with Bill that a lot of so-called convenience foods aren’t actually all that more convenient than buying the ingredients and making the thing yourself – and it normally tastes better and more satisfying to do that.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t really condone using a microwave combi-oven simply to warm plates up – the planet’s already in a mess without everyone doing that!

  3. You have no idea what you are doing to me with all this talk of good, old, honest, British food. I can’t get a pork pie for love nor money over here and then you go and talk about them…

    It’s not that I ever ate a lot of pork pies – it’s just one of those foods that every so often one just has to have. I don’t care if they’re bad for you, I’d give anything for a pork pie right now!

  4. How could you mention the image problem without mentioning the ‘uniform’ staff have to wear. I always feel sorry for them, stepping inside Morrisons is like going back to the 80s.
    Does anyone remember William Low stores?!

  5. I liked William Low! They sold these awesome pizzas that we have never been able to find since. 🙁

    No doubt if they existed in my life beyond the age of about 10, my opinion of William Low would not be so good!

  6. Really, Duncan, you gotta try their own-brand frozen cheese and tomato pizza – heaven, it’s the top reason for Morrisons – that and selling energy saving light bulbs for 39p (hasn’t been beaten yet).

  7. Morrisons were around in the north of England for yonks before they made it to Scotland – and believe me, when you’re trying to feed a household of 10 (plus random guests) on £80 of student loan, they were a lifesaver.

    Don’t forget that your local Sainsbury’s is a pain in the arse to get to by public transport and overpriced to boot, and the Tesco in town is rubbish; and you’re as likely to pick up something unpleasant from the pre-cooked chicken in the latter.