Waitrose, how could you!
It’ only a small thing, but the decision by Waitrose to stop offering free newspapers to loyalty card holders could have devastating consequences.
It all started with the pandemic, when the up market and frankly expensive UK supermarket chain owned by John Lewis, decided to stop offering free coffee.
This was a sensible move in a pandemic, especially as customers were encouraged to bring their own cups and of course if they had a coffee to drink, they would hang around, reading their free newspaper and spreading germs. But the complimentary newspaper remained on offer to MyWaitrose members, incentivising people to pop in for a couple of items – and somehow managing to spend a fortune. Good business? Of course it was. But now, without the newspaper, or any other perks, it will only be those who choose to shop for the quality, the bio products and the extensive range of produce (where else can you buy Freekeh for goodness sake, or Rose Harissa?) that will still frequent this anachronistic food store. The rest of us will have to make do with the budget stores more in keeping with our economic capabilities.
Let’s face it Lidl has been judged to be as ecologically responsible as Waitrose, and it also has a loyalty programme that offers savings on regular spend. Eat your heart out Waitrose.
Another interesting fact. Waitrose said in a letter to its 8.5 million scheme members, that it would replace the current deal with more personalised offers, which would change each week. This sounds like Lidl’s programme no?
A spokesperson said: “We’re improving the myWaitrose programme to offer customers personalised discounts on the products they buy most. But at the same time, Waitrose admitted it was cost cutting in response to rising prices. Mixed messages.
“While the newspaper offer was enjoyed by some of our customers, in reality it was only being used by around 5% of members. The new approach will mean that all members can make greater savings by receiving benefits tailored to them.” If you say so.
And spare a thought for the already declining newspaper industry. Apparently Waitrose redemptions, especially at the weekend, often amounted to 10% of sales. Quite a hit.