No Bread? Have a Banana.

Given where we live, online grocery shopping makes a lot of sense.

The nearest decent supermarket is a fair old drive away. At least two hours out of the day then to do even a simple shop. And there’s the cost of the petrol on top of that. So if you can find a company that will deliver all this way out to the sticks for no cost at all it’s a no brainer. Isn’t it?

I’ve been ordering groceries online for a good many years, long before we moved down here. It started out with the well known store that proudly boasts the Clubcard. Love them or hate them has there been a supermarket, then or since, which manages data quite as well as Tesco? Everything I’d ever bought, either online or in a shop, was logged on my Clubcard and automatically appeared on a ‘Favourites’ list. It made shopping so easy. Just scroll down the list and tick off the items I needed each week.

But then strange things started to appear on my ‘Favourites’. Most of them made of chocolate. We were both on a diet, so when would I have ordered any of those? It took me a while to figure it out. But figure it out I did. Clubcard worked in petrol (gas) stations too. Those same petrol stations where Mike would stop to fill up on his way home from work. Those same petrol stations that have a sweetie bar next to the checkout. Peccadilloes laid bare.

Down here it’s a different retailer and a bit more forward planning is required. I compete for slots not only with the locals but the holiday cottage crowd too. From bitter experience I’ve learned to play safe and pre-book some deliveries weeks, if not months, in advance. The trick is then to remember when the slots are coming up. Yet again this morning I’ve only made it by a whisker. A last minute scramble to update the ‘holding’ list and hit the order button by the mid morning deadline, avoiding the need for yet another grovelling call to the store.

The regular delivery drivers respect the challenges imposed by our terrain. So it’s easy to tell when a new one turns up. The rookie will bring the van all the way down the hill, necessitating a 27-point turn and then a full throttle ascent with foot to the floor up the 1 in 3 slope and around the right angled bend. It’s a feat that your average white Sprinter was never designed to pull off. Some drivers never come back.

But what I really love about online grocery shopping is the stimulus to be inventive. 1 kilogram of fennel is an awful lot of fennel and I just know I only ordered one bulb. We lived off the stuff for weeks. 26 shallots is a goodly number too, especially when the recipe only calls for one. A dozen red onions, a crisper full of leeks and a slab side of gorgonzola, I’ve had to deal with them all. But someone, please, help me to understand. Or at least reassure me that I am not going completely round the bend..

If the shop has run out of my favoured brand of bread, what possible reason could there be to substitute it with bananas?


2018-02-08T21:01:49+00:00October 22nd, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Crafty Gardener October 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Oh how I love Hovis bread, so thin and tasty. Unfortunately it’s not available in my part of Canada. I’ve never tried online shopping. That was an interesting substitution you got …. at least they both started with b 🙂

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      We had a great laugh about it with the delivery driver, he couldn’t understand why they’d done it either!

  2. Amy at love made my home October 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I just cannot imagine what leads bread to bananas and how can they be out of bread, I mean, choose another sort of bread, but fruit!! Perhaps they are telling you to make banana bread… Perhaps the chocolate eater has been buying lots of bananas…. We will never know I expect.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      I know, there must have been at least one other loaf of bread in the shop… mustn’t there?? I was tempted to drive over and see, but that would have defeated the object somewhat!

  3. countrysidetales October 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    It’s the fibre….

    I once ordered 4 bananas, checked the order the night before it was due to be delivered and discovered a price tag of over £1000 attached to said order. Puzzled, I whizzed down the list and discovered several hundred bananas had somehow found their way on to it. Can you imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t checked? Would they have phoned and asked whether we had a zoo’s worth of gorillas staying? I’ve always wondered…. 🙂

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Are supermarkets on a mission to offload surplus bananas on to unsuspecting customers do you think? Is there a banana mountain out there someplace?
      Send the gorillas this way if they ever run out.

  4. haggiz October 22, 2013 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    I loved that Mike was caught out with his chocolate buying… god you can’t get away with anything these days can you! Julie x

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      No! I often wondered how real-time the system was. It would have been great to ring him up on the motorway and ask him if he was enjoying the Fruit & Nut.

  5. wherefivevalleysmeet October 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Bananas instead of a bread order is strange, but personally I love banana sandwiches. However, lets think about poor Mike – what a way to get caught out cheating on the diet. Did you lose more weight than him?

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      Infuriatingly, he loses weight more easily than me. In our first year here he lost two stone, just on healthier lunches and more exercise. Every pound off is hard won for me, and I very rarely eat chocolate!

  6. Jo October 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    That’s so funny, getting caught out cheating on a diet like Mike did. George Orwell wasn’t so far wrong when he wrote 1984, was he? You can’t do anything without the powers that be knowing about it these days. I’ve never shopped for groceries online, I don’t need to as we have plenty of supermarkets nearby, though it doesn’t stop my neighbours.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Mike tried very hard to argue that it couldn’t possibly have been him, because if it were I’d also have got 60 litres of Unleaded appearing on my Favourites list..

  7. Pauline October 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Poor husband, caught out, big brother is certainly watching! Apart from the fact that both begin with B and they both contain fibre, goodness knows why they changed your order…….but banana loaf is a favourite in this house once they are past their best!

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      And knowing the layout of the store, the picker would have had to walk literally from one end of it to the other to get the bananas, so it couldn’t have been a lapse of concentration or laziness either.

  8. Wendy October 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Oh dear…poor Mike. What a way to find out! I suppose once upon a time it would have been village shopping where everyone knew what everyone else bought – now in 2013 Tescos knows it all! But I can’t pretend to understand the Tesco logic of bananas replacing bread – perhaps it makes perfect sense to them.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      We changed supermarkets, away from Tesco, when we came down here so they’re off the hook on the bananas. But no, it really isn’t an explainable substitution is it? As it happened it coincided with a customer satisfaction survey we were asked to do. Mike had huge fun filling in the form!

  9. Denise October 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Club card! I need to make another phone call and complain yet again. I have so many points yet no card. I could go on!

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      For all their faults I do miss them sometimes. At least their systems are properly joined up. They are still sending me vouchers bless them, and all related to things they know I’m actually likely to buy.

  10. Simone October 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Banana is a carbohydrate the same as bread so maybe that was the thinking that went behind it! It’s not quite the same though is it? You can’t really put your bananas in the toaster or slap a filling in between two halves!

    • Amy at love made my home October 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      I love the idea of trying to fit cheese and pickle between two halves of banana – made me smile!

      • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm - Reply

        Ice cream and chocolate sauce though… yum!

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Toasted banana might be quite nice..

  11. snowbird October 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Well hubs was certainly caught out eh?

    I’m mystified by the bananas but laughing at the rooky drivers and those who never come back.xxxx

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Ptolemy didn’t help either, or whichever pheasant it was that stood guard on our gate last winter. I worried for a while that for deliveries anyway we were going to get struck off!

  12. steph@woolythyme October 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    grocery shopping is really one of my least favorite things to do….so I think maybe I’d be OK with bananas substituted for bread if only they would deliver!!! (do they also put away?????….just kidding!!)

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      I wish!
      It’s great though, mostly. I can do my ordering in the evening, unless I forget like yesterday, with a glass of wine and then just wait for the shopping to be brought to the door. Saves oodles of time.

  13. Sarah October 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    You can’t get away with anything these days- there is something watching you! That is a very strange substitution!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Too true about being watched. And doesn’t it often emerge in the most curious of ways?

  14. rabbitquilter October 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    HaHa!! I think your delivery must have come from our local T***o!! My younger son was a ‘Picker’ a couple of years ago (for his Sins, but that is another story!!) and he came home one day and said a customer had rung and complained that they had been given a substitute – Robinsons Fruit Shoot children’s drink instead of BRANDY!!! It was around Christmas time and the store had taken on a lot of foreign staff!!! Hope the customer wasn’t making her Christmas cake!!!! It would have been a bit tame that year!!!!!

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      That beats my bread and bananas!

  15. Rozzie October 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I wonder if the delivery driver got the munchies on the drive over for bread, and tried to cover it up by replacing it with the nearest thing he saw! Haha. How strange!

    My sister orders from Tesco mostly online (I don’t know why she can walk to it if she wanted…) but she said quite often they replace stuff that they don’t have. She just finds it funny, and it obviously makes sense with replacing one type of bread with another. But she said with the more unusual things (like courgettes, which aren’t that unusual to us, but there’s so many times while at a checkout the server looks at me oddly and asks me what on earth this is) they replace it with something very random because they don’t know what the original thing really is.

    That principle doesn’t really work with the bread though!

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Rozzie, hi, and welcome to rusty duck.
      I was once at a till (in Tesco) where I was asked what a lime was. Seems incredible really, but it makes you think how far removed some people are from food and how it is produced. Including those working in a grocery store!

  16. elaine October 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Ha! This post made me chuckle. I have never been anywhere near the home delivery service – mainly because I enjoy shopping and also because of the amount you have to spend – my food budget is way below their limit – but I can understand your predicament when you live so far away from civilisation.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      Factoring in the 30 mile round trips it does save money. I space the deliveries out so I have enough to get to the minimum spend, and freeze stuff where possible if it will go over the use by date. It’s things like fruit and vegetables, especially salad leaves, in the winter going over quickly that are the problem. The more I can extend the season of home grown the better.

  17. Marian October 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    I bet the man thought it was time for you to make your own bread: banana bread 😉 Hope you had all the other ingredients required.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Ha ha! I do make quite a bit of my own bread, especially when they don’t deliver (!!), but cheat and use a machine. I will look up the recipe for banana bread..

  18. Anna October 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Oh naughty, naughty Mike 🙂 Although I have a supermarket within ten minutes drive I can’t drive so when we were both working (me – part time, himself the driver – shifts) getting together to do a big shop was not always easy, so I did shop online regularly at least once a month. Made life so much easier. I do remember though some mishaps with amounts similar to yours. Bemused as to why you were sent bananas instead of bread – one of life’s mysteries.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure how closely they scrutinise the amounts when they pick, it seems easy to confuse one single item e.g. one onion with one kilogram, especially as loose veg are priced by kilogram. That’s my theory anyway. We’ve always been able to get a refund but they don’t take the surplus items back. Then I feel the pressure is on to use the stuff rather than throw it away.

  19. threadspider October 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Missed your blog- still away travelling, but thought you might like to know I’m reading this under a macadamia tree in Perth,Australia and it made me laugh and remember I need to do an online order for when we get home.

    • Jessica October 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Oh wow! Hello! Hope you’re having a great time and the sun is shining on you. You’ll be delighted to know that it is absolutely hurling it down here and has been for days. Don’t worry about the garden getting watered..

  20. Josephine October 23, 2013 at 3:26 am - Reply

    I love banana sandwiches, maybe they think you do too, and half the fixin’s is better than none, right 🙂
    You could always make a loaf of banana bread…there mystery sorted.

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Banana sandwiches sound delicious, I will try that one. And make sure I have bread in the freezer for next time!

  21. Linda October 23, 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I do the accounts in our house so I know where every penny (or euro) goes so no sneaking in extra supplies of ‘whatever Hubs fancies’ especially out on the road in his self-employed working days! However, I think I would get confused and frustrated with on-line shopping for provisions. For you it’s essential. At least you can enjoy the bananas and perhaps make some bread – if you’ve got the ingredients in the store cupboard, that is. Your stories always make me smile first thing in the morning.

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. It can get quite confusing, especially as our current store keeps changing their system and not always for the better. I suppose it’s no different from changing the aisles around in the shop.

  22. BadPenny October 23, 2013 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Banana loaf ? Jess makes a great one !

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Banana loaf it is!

  23. Rosie October 23, 2013 at 10:06 am - Reply

    I can just imagine the order picker with their green boxes on a trolly wandering around thinking ‘what was that last thing on the list? It began with a B – what begins with a B? I know – bananas! Mr Tesco knows enough about our purchasing habits to send vouchers for said items if we haven’t shopped there for a while:)

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      He certainly does. I think it’s about three years since I shopped there regularly and I’m still getting them!

  24. Em October 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    This drives me absolutely mad too. Ginger is my particular thing with me ordering ‘1’ in the hope that they might realise I mean a small piece, not a six inch BRANCH of the stuff, or the lowest weight of 100g which results in a 400g BRANCH again. When I say 500g of pork tenderloin, I mean 500g, not 250g. Today I ordered plain, healthy oatcakes and received a multipack of caramel coated corn snacks, which got sent back. Not as bad as your bananas though. On the plus side, I once ordered a very cheap £5.00 wok and received a Tefal £24.00 one. A rare turn around though!

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Oh Em, I’m with you on the ginger. They must laugh when they see my order sheet. Sadly the system won’t let me add notes in bold, but I do use capitals to the max. And exclamation marks. Sometimes it even works!
      You certainly scored with the wok.

  25. ournewlifeinthecountry October 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Brilliant, best substitution for ages!!

    I used to be a picker (a short stint to cover a mortgage shortfall while we were commuting between two homes … yes I have done that before too) … and believe me sometimes it’s the order that comes off the computer that is wrong. We once had a order that included 1 that’s ONE Brussels Sprout, we all saw it on the order sheet so the girl with the list picked it and it was sent, the lady went berserk she wanted 1 Kilo!!

    You can’t win them all.

    But bananas instead of bread, now that’s a new one!

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Ha! It’s great to hear the other side of it Sue. It must be so frustrating if the customer hasn’t made it clear. They must think I’m a pain when I write long notes in an attempt to get the right thing. It’s now ‘1 bulb fennel only, NOT 1kg!!!!’

  26. Anne @SlamseysFarm October 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Another reason not to shop online for groceries – we’re lucky that we’re not far from the shops. I really don’t like the idea that a computer works out what I buy each week and knows all my guilty secrets but I suppose it’s better than an old fashioned shop keeper knowing and telling everyone else in the village.

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      It’s now getting to be a pain. The current system likes to ‘remind’ me of things that I might have forgotten before I check out… four pages worth. I’ll trust my memory for now thank you.

  27. wherethejourneytakesme October 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Have you never herad of banana bread?? In this case perhaps you get the banana one week and the bread the next!! I hope they substitute mine with chocolate…

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      So does Mike..

  28. frayed at the edge October 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I’ve never shopped online – when it would have been of benefit, when we lived in Cambridgeshire, it didn’t exist! I don’t want to make you envious, but we have Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Lidl in Hawick, and Tesco and Aldi 30 minutes away in Galashiels …….

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      You don’t know what you’re missing Anne. Some nights I don’t know what’s for supper until it arrives..

  29. rachel October 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    So funny – I caught The Gardener out simply by noticing the detritus in his car…. best excuse was “But that packet of biscuits lasted THREE days!!”

    I’ve only tried online grocery shopping once, and was so befuddled by the metric weights – how on earth would I know how much a piece of ginger or four bananas would weigh unless I already had some in the house? But I love the way Tesco monitors what you actually buy and gives you vouchers that you will find useful, unlike another well-known store that tries to lure us in with vouchers that will only work if we spend twice our usual amount.

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      The weight thing still catches me out if I haven’t bought something before. It’s trial and error to start with. I wanted a few nuts for a recipe and ordered the smallest size. Only to get delivered one of those tiny bags you get on a plane. I think we had about three each.

  30. 1secondhandrose October 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    I too use Tesco on-line shopping because I just hate shopping! If they send too much of anything by mistake the driver will take them back and credit your card. I find the search on the shopping list throws up weird and wonderful things that bear no relationship to your searched for item, but bananas for bread? It must have been a bad day for the picker!
    Mmm, hubs secret is out 😉
    Rose H

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      I’m not fond of grocery shopping either. So much more civilised to do it at your desk. When I really appreciate it is at Christmas when the shops are just bedlam. But I had to book the slot the day it came up at the end of September, a few hours later the time I wanted was fully booked.

  31. Chel C October 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    I bet Mike never thought he would be busted by a Clubcard!! Substituting bananas for bread has to be about the worst mistake. That or they just don’t want to do the journey any more! Thanks for the chuckle xx

    • Jessica October 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      I suppose it makes up for the odd chocolate bar I used to slip in when I did the shopping the old fashioned way. Mini chocolate eggs were a favourite too.

  32. knitsofacto October 24, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    When running a small whippet rescue I used to regularly add 30 small tins of sardines in unsalted water to my order – they are a great food to use when building underfed dogs up. Drivers would generally hand me my bulging bag of sardine tins with one of two queries … ‘Did you mean 3?’, or ‘How many cats have you got?’. Their faces when I explained to them I was feeding fish to dogs were always comical.

    • Jessica October 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      To this day Annie, they probably have several shelves heaving with sardines, just in case you come back!

  33. Janet/Plantalisciousj October 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    I rely on supermarket deliveries too, and am often baffled by the substitutions. But I don’t think I have ever had one quite that crazy…

    • Jessica October 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      I once ordered a ready meal, something like chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. Out of stock. So what I got was chicken pieces, a packet of ham and some cheese i.e. make it yourself!

  34. CherryPie October 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    That substitution is just bananas 😉

    • Jessica October 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Totally bananas 🙂

  35. Anna B October 26, 2013 at 7:31 am - Reply

    That’s such a bizarre substitution! I’d recommend a bread maker 🙂

    • Jessica October 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      And all the ingredients in the store cupboard, just in case!

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