Letter on shopping for one!

The Sainsbury's store in Camden Road where the man died (Picture: Google Street View)

Reader Lester May, couldn't buy a single pint of milk from Sainsbury's in Camden - Credit: Google

'But all I wanted was a pint of milk'

Lester May, Reachview Close, Camden Town, writes: 

In Sainsbury’s Camden Town last week (July 29) I could not find all I wanted. 

On the shelves for fresh milk there were no one pints of milk or two pints of milk, only four pints of milk could be purchased. The shelf tickets showing prices all referred to one pint or two pints and not one of the different types of four pints of milk on the shelves had a price ticket – perhaps the item is free when there is no price?

Over 40% of the borough’s estimated population of 279,500 live in single-person households, the fourth highest proportion in London and, coincidentally, in England and Wales too. Many of those 112,000 people do not wish to buy two pints of milk at one time, let alone four pints, particularly in the warm summer months when milk more quickly goes off. 

Sure, we know the “pingdemic” has caused recent supply problems, but that’s only part of the story. From time-to-time in the past year and more the shelves of Sainsbury’s Camden Town have not had one pint bottles of milk, two pints being generally available. Yet many people want only one pint at a time.

A pint of whole milk (left) and a pint of semi-skimmed milk, in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Pic

Pints of milk - ideal for a single person - Credit: PA

If Sainsbury’s Camden Town can supply four pints of milk then the dairy from which it comes can surely supply one pint or two pint bottles. It’s even more expensive to buy one pint so it’s commercially advantageous for a supermarket to supply one pint bottles than larger sizes. And, guess what, when there are supply issues, for whatever reason, milk in a one pint bottle satisfies the single-person households and those who want more may choose to buy two or more.

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I bought my one pint at a local “corner shop” – it cost significantly more but this small enterprise had a good supply of milk. Perhaps I should walk further, in future, to Marks and Spencer in Camden High Street or along the towpath to Waitrose, King’s Cross, given how noticeably badly run is Sainsbury’s Camden Town in recent years.

I really don’t want to criticise supermarkets for it’s been a tough 18 months and I am grateful for their keeping the show on the road. However, supplying one pint bottles of milk is the answer to these supply problems and Sainsbury’s don’t seem to understand this. Perhaps Simon Roberts has no idea that 112,000 people in our borough live in single-person households?