A large branch of Sainsbury's within the Kingsland Shopping Centre. It's actually down towards the back, nearer the car park than the entrance on Kingsland High Street. As you'd expect in this area it can be lively. You may wish to visit for the annual Christmas Eve bargain hunt. From early in the day groups of shifty-eyed customers can be seen shadowing any staff unlucky enough to be holding reduction guns. By the end of the day crowds have gathered and fights may break out. Apparently a couple of years ago they had to call the police to a fight over half a cucumber. No I'm not kidding.
It was somewhat grotty. I stopped buying frozen stuff there after finding the mince thawed several times, and one member of staff telling me it was still OK as it was in date (a supervisor was as horrified as me at that comment!). Their bags of green leafy stuff are also usually bruised into near uselessness. I'm not sure why the staff believe that delicate plants should be gripped firmly and shoved into the shelves.
Recently they've had a major refurbishment, including new freezers. It was an interesting few weeks as every time you visited another isle was closed and basics had moved round again! The final result is clean and inviting. There were some changes in the lines stocked: more none-foods, and they stopped stocking Butcher's Classic cat food and sag paneer! A letter from me (and maybe others?) got the cat food back (it's the only reasonably affordable brand that is free of additives, liked by my getting-picky-as-she-ages cat and was the only thing my sadly deceased other cat could eat without getting a dicky tummy, so I needed that cat food!) but the sag paneer seems to have gone
Talking of stocks as with every Sainsbury's it's slightly tweaked to the local market. Compared to the branch at Angel Islington there's slightly less 'yuppie' food (hence lack of sag paneer) and more of the cheap and basic ranges. Lots on offer whoever you are (including for yuppies), and the in-store bakery is worth a fly by. They do some great breads. I'm also way too fond of Sainsbury's tortollenis. The staff are mixed of course, but I've been going in years, and some of the old faces are great. In spite of the Christmas story it's actually quite civilized most of the time
Spending a day (and believe me, it WILL take that long, people in Sainsbury's Dalston Branch gives me an idea of what a packed tube carriage would look like if it had shopping trolleys in it. Mothers leave the trolley steering duties to their boisterous toddler offspring, who genuinely do think life is a game of dodgems. Queues snake back so far that you might has well have camped outside the day before if you wanted to get in and out quickly.
Far too often shop floor staff are too busy directing three customers at a time that they end up telling you that the Sunblush tomatoes are over there pointing vaguely diagonally over a vast expanse of stacked tins and grumbling humans. You haven't a clue, have you mate. Thought not. Cheers anyway.
At least they have a long ramp out the back so you can cycle in and out. Make sure you lock up your steed well to that makeshift park you've made for yourself outside the front door, otherwise it'll be gone in seconds! I had to shout at a wannabe bike thief once. I suppose what makes it a necessary evil is the fact that it is Hackney's only large branch; it's also helpfully situated within a mini mall where you can get loads of stuff that you'll probably never want to buy in truth, like part echanges on really distateful funiture, and grim looking trinkets. But people (including me) still come back for more! It's an addiction.
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