Substitute stuff's a pain for online grocery shoppers

What’s better – spending a Saturday afternoon slowly wheeling your trolley around the local supermarket, trying to avoid the mouth-breathing zombies who have filled the place to maximum capacity, or doing it all online from the comfort of your own armchair or bed, getting it all delivered to your door at the time of your choice?

It surely has to be the latter, but while online grocery shopping is growing in popularity, not all customers are getting everything they order. What happens if you order a bag of cherries and they send you a tin of Cherry Blossom shoe polish?

In a survey of more than 2,000 online supermarket users, Which? discovered that almost half had at least one item substituted at some point. Sainsburys and Asda were the worst offenders for replacing goods, while fared best, with just 26% of shoppers getting alternatives to what they’d ordered.

Asda also topped the disappointment chart when it came to the sell-by dates of stuff ordered online – 47% of customers said they would have got better sell-by dates if they’d bought items in store in person.

Well maybe they should get off their fat arses, get down to the shop and do that instead of moaning on because the poor, beleaguered packer didn’t compare all the dates on all the things on the shelf before choosing the best one. Knobheads.

But seriously folks, as Which? say, if the supermarkets don’t send you what you’ve asked for, don’t be afraid to reject the replacements. Them delivery men love it when you’re stern with them.


  • Ben
    "47% of customers said they would have got better sell-by dates if they’d bought items in store in person" Makes you wonder if these people actually went into the store and compared the dates just for the fun of it. Surprised a company such as Which? would take their word for it and print it in a survey. Also like you say, you can reject replacements, so it's not as if you're being forced to take an item you don't want. Not as if you'd have been able to get the item you wanted having picked it personally in store if it's not there in the first place. All supermarkets allow you to select 'no substitute' anyway if you don't want something else. Which? getting desperate for something to report on clearly...
  • Darren W.
    I agree with Ben, however they do send products with crap sell by dates, always grab from as far from the back as possible when purchasing food, better dates... and it hasn't been squeezed, prodded and opened by 500 people before you either!
  • Bernard B.
    I ordered some ASDA dried vegetarian soya chilli mix and they sent a tin of beef chilli. It was in stock, just the [email protected] that was picking could not (delete as appropriate) find it/be bothered to find it/care less Also got other inappropriate substitutions, manky veg and numerous short dated items. Sent a third of the goods back. Never again. TESKO weren't much better. Get off your butt if you don't want them to send you crap - or just buy tinned/frozen goods!
  • Ben
    As a sales rep who spends a lot of time in supermarkets and seeing the muppets who pick for the DotCom section, anyone who buys food online should count themselves lucky they get anything at all.
  • Amanda H.
    Ive had nothing weird subbed, but this weeks shop came without any bread (I mean who really needs bread!? Im sure we can make do with cereal box cardboard smeared in butter for a week), I asked for 2 loaves of warburton white, and got nothing, not even a tesco value wholemeal loaf goddammit. So guess where I've got to bloody go this weekend, yes OUTSIDE!
  • chools
    I thought the delivery charge was worth it to get heavy/bulky items delivered to my door in bulk. I placed the order with Tescos OK, but the day before delivery I got a call from the local store quizzing me to see if I was a business as they reckoned you could only buy a maximum of ten of any one item even if you go to the store! I rang a central number to complain and was put through to the person I had just spoken to in the store! I explained it was for the local Tescos to take it up with their on-line service but he wasn't having it. They let the order go through but asked me not to do it again (I haven't) The largest number of items I had was fifty which was for a sports drink which I consume one/two bottles a day, the rest was stuff like bottled water, toilet roll I know buy elsewhere, I know when I'm not wanted
  • Ducky
    I find that stuff at the Sainsburys Local has poor sell-by dates compared to the stuff in the bigger Sainsburys (just down the road). For example, bread is often the next day!!
  • Tom P.
    That picture is gross, and i've seen some sick stuff on da net
  • Honky S.
    'Posted by Tom Pickering | May 18th, 2009 at 10:35 pm That picture is gross, and i’ve seen some sick stuff on da net' Really?
  • Ben
    In response to chools; No supermarket is legally allowed to send a delivery driver out with 20 litres of drinkable fluids such as water/coke/whatever to an ordinary customer due to health and safety laws, believe it or not. Delivery to a business is different, as it's not classed as a residential delivery, thus allowing the supermarket to deliver as much bulk as they desire. This is probably why you were asked if you were a business, because you'd have gotten away with it if you'd said yes! I worked a few months over xmas for Sainsburys, and there were different people responsible for business or residential deliveries. Business always had two members of staff, again due to health and safety legislation, and knowing they were all corporate, the driver was allocated more time per drop.
  • Nikki
    I do online shopping cos i stay in a small village, 13 miles away from nearest tesco,and about 30 from nearest Asda. My local is Sainsurys and its not exactly cheap plus with two toddlers and no car its only way for me to bulk buy as otherwise I am up and down to shop like a pack mule and worrying about kids when crossing roads as I then dont have two hands free for crossing streets. I like Asda cos when they substitute and the item is dearer they only charge you price of original item. I hate the short dates though as I once bought lots of fridge products for the kids that were on special and had about 36 yoghurts\frubes to be eaten with a few days, and similar with party food type products...With the toddlers 'helping' me unpack I often just accept the substitutes although with short dates I have once phoned up and got refunded when I had several items expiring that day and it was 7pm when it got delivered!! Havent had delivered for a month or so as my sister has een bringing my shopping order down when visiting but last time the dates were fine. I love online shopping, its great for getting the special deals that are on, less hassle than going shopping with toddlers and I dont get ditracted and forget to pick up something like when shopping with my troublesome two, or have to abandon trolley half way through because they need the bathroom!
  • Mike H.
    I really don't want to see pictures of the BW crew hard at work thanks
  • Mike H.
    What I tend to do is put in an order for, condoms, bannanas, cream, honey tampons, pile cream and Tequilla, then vist the supermarket to see the little greasy faced twat going round collecting it all!
  • Nick
    My sister once ordered cat food, which they changed for dog food. Close enough i suppose
  • Ten B.
    [...] Online grocery shopping – a labour-saving miracle or another reason to get angry at the world? [...]
  • home e.
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