back to article Sainsbury's IT glitch spoils bank holiday food orders

The sun is shining and the prospect of barbecue and beer over the bank holiday is almost in grabbing distance. But customers who ordered their groceries online with Sainsbury's today may be in for a disappointment. Due to "technical issues", a number of online deliveries have been missed. One insider got in touch with The …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    First world problems

    Not an online food shopper, people I know who use it are heavily housebound due to age / disability so it makes sense for them: As they do not go out much, so a delivery is unlikely to be "time critical", those type of customers likely to be relatively inconvenienced (also less likely to be whinging on social media, when it takes several minutes with a walking frame to cross a room it puts things in perspective)

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: First world problems

      Sorry, but it's 2017.

      And I don't have two hours to drive to a "local" Sainsbury's, run around with all the idiots that can't park or drive a trolley, fight over the last bagel, spend an hour wandering around looking for whatever soup it was, queue up, unpack it all onto a belt, repack it all onto a trolley, unpack it all and repack it all into the car, drive home, repack it onto the kitchen floor, then repack it all into the cupboards.

      And having to do it peak hours if you want to have dinner after work, or fight with re-stocking staff if you want to do it late, or not at all if you can only do it on a Sunday evening, etc. etc.

      And the point of doing it online is not because I'm a cripple (though my ex basically was, as are about 1 million other people in this country), but because I don't have the time in between work and sleep to piss away two hours and a lot of physical effort when someone will do it all, just as good, for a fiver. And I don't want to waste that time getting rammed in the ankles and having my car scratched either.

      Also, they PACK IT ALL without the unnecessary packing/repacking, oh, I forgot the bags, oh I have to throw the bags away, oh it's all fallen out of the bag, I should buy "proper" ones...

      They PRICE IT ALL, not messing about with ten minutes of beep, beep, GERRTTT, "Sorry, John, can you get me a price? Sorry about this"

      They DELIVER IT ALL (I order bottles of Coke, water, etc. and make them bring it to me rather than me lug it around everywhere in an unsteerable trolley). And they will do so WHEN WE NEED (i.e. I need it to arrive by 8, because I don't have the time to shop and we'll only be in between 8 and 8:30, or the party stuff arrives tomorrow morning so we don't have to run around while we're trying to get everything else organised).

      They will even take it into your kitchen and - sshh - if you are elderly or struggling or you slip them a few quid, they sometimes will even help you unpack.

      You don't have to be in a wheelchair to appreciate all that, for £5 extra on the price of the shop. I would pay a Boy Scout a tenner just to do it all for me, so I could go and do something else for two hours - and I don't even have kids! - but there's no way they would ever think it worth the effort for such a pittance. Hell, even an hour of my time is worth many times more than that. In fact, just sending granny down to the corner shop for a loaf of bread is cruel in comparison even if she's able-bodied but a bit slow and it takes her 20 minutes to get out of the house.

      And, literally, rather than spend half an hour running around the cupboards finding out what I need, I can see what I ordered, when I ordered, and then just re-order without forgetting anything as it's all on there already from last week. Even the CHOOSING is quicker. No impulse buys, no pressure sales, no remembering where the soap is, no "we rejigged the store to keep you on your toes", nothing. I can order the shopping in my lunch hour to be delivered as I get home if I just suddenly remembered the cupboards are bare.

      "Do the shopping, love."

      "Click, click, click, done. It'll be here in an hour."

      And I don't even have to work out which of the seven billion varieties of bread we normally order, it's all just there.

      Welcome to the 21st Century. I'm not saying we'd die without it, but if you DON'T take advantage of it but whine about the five minute queues in a bank, you need to reprioritise.

      Now, if we can just scrap the stupid Sunday trading laws, we might actually consider ourselves a modern country.

      1. User McUser

        Re: First world problems

        I don't have two hours to drive to a "local" Sainsbury's

        Why do you shop at a store that's two hours away? (Or is it an hour each way and you're giving the round-trip figure? Or perhaps you are just being hyperbolic?)

      2. F'tangF'tang

        Re: First world problems

        It's good to see that you have enough time to write such a lengthy detailed post. (but don't have the time to get out and do some non virtual shopping).


        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: First world problems

          Doing the virtual shopping gives me the time to write the lengthy post!

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

            Re: First world problems


            Bravo Sir, Best rant in ages whether I agree with it or not. Have an upvote.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: First world problems

              Bravo Sir, Best rant in ages

              Watch out Alistair Dabbs. Somebody is passing you on the inside.

      3. Kane Silver badge

        Re: First world problems

        "Sorry, but it's 2017..."


      4. ad47uk

        Re: First world problems

        Oh you poor thing, i feel so sorry for you.

      5. Amorous Cowherder

        Re: First world problems

        Well said!

        I could make the time to spend 2 hours shopping but after a 50 hour week at work, 2 hours daily commute quite frankly I'd rather spend my free time doing something more productive with my time.

        Why is it people like to suffer? Shopping is suffering, it's an awful, awful experience and I've done it for the last 25 years since I left home. I'm very thankful for the supermarkets delivering. The local shops used to have a boy who'd deliver to your house, this is no different. If you like a bit of masochism, be my guest I won't stop you. Personally I'd rather go out Saturday morning walking and taking photos, come home for lunch, shopping delivered at midday and then I can out again in the afternoon again if I want knowing my shopping took me 10 mins of browsing and 10 mins to put away, I'm not writing off my entire Saturday morning to stock up for the week. Still you need to feel the need for some inflicted suffering up TESCO on a Saturday morning, knock yourselves out!

      6. Rusty 1

        Time to call a plumber?

        "I order bottles of Coke, water, etc." - are all of the taps in your home broken?

        1. RedCardinal

          Re: Time to call a plumber?

          didn't realise you could get coke out of taps...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Time to call a plumber?

            Of course you can get coke out of taps. Also pepsi, rootbeer, gingerbeer, actual beer, wine ... Look up "Cornelius Keg" for home use systems.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Time to call a plumber?

              But why would you want to snort pepsi, root beer, ginger beer...?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Time to call a plumber?

                You don't snort them, you have a snort of them. See: slug.

                Don't make me cast a line o' type in your general direction ...

      7. manchesterj

        Re: First world problems

        I get your point but 2 sets of my neighbours use this - we're withing 10 minutes easy walk of the local sainsbury (full size supermarket) - One half of either couple only works part time all their kids are at school and being frank who couldn't use 20 minutes exercise a day......

      8. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: First world problems

        "Sorry, but it's 2017."
        That deserves a beer!

    2. ad47uk

      Re: First world problems

      Agree 100%, even when I was ill after my op and on chemo I went and did my own shipping, true I did have help from my next door neighbour taking me, but i still did it myself. My Dad is 86 and yet still does his own shopping in his buggy.

      I acknowledge that there are some people who can not go shopping and that online food shopping is a blessing for them, but i do think that a lot of people just do online shopping because they can not be bothered go into a shop and do their own.

      i saw someone do online shopping once and it looked like it was more hassle than going to the shop and picking my own.

      A lot of it is laziness and people can come out with all the excuses they want, but when people who live virtually next door to a supermarket and have their shopping delivered even from the same supermarket they live next door to then that is pure laziness.


      1. illiad

        Re: First world problems

        It rather depends where you live, and the attitude of the local supermarket...

        I live within yards of a huge waitrose, and they keep cutting out stuff I want to buy!!

        there is a sainsburys about a mile away, that has much more choice!! only problem is, it is a 'metro', with low stocks...

        Another 5 to 10 Km away in either direction there is a massive sainsburys, but that means half an hour on the bus... makes Online much nicer..:)

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: First world problems

        "A lot of it is laziness and people can come out with all the excuses they want..."
        And what if I accused you of laziness because unlike me you don't grow your own food? Some of us actually hate those fucking supermarkets full of junk you don't want to buy, "assistants" who can't tell you where what you do want to buy is located and you eventually discover they don't actually have in stock at the moment. FFS!

      3. RedCardinal

        Re: First world problems

        >>A lot of it is laziness

        Bollocks. It's convenience. Like all online shopping, I can do it quickly and easily from my own home or I can trundle down to the supermarket, wander around it till I find all the shopping I want and then queue in the checkout (or use the crap self-service tills). Oh and I don't have a car so how easy is it to get my shopping back home?

        10 minutes on the computer that then allows me more time to do other things or spend that time going around the supermarket aisles. No brainer really :)

  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    rather than sitting on their arse complaining via twitter, get off your fat lazy arses and go shopping yourself. It's lovely outside.

    And yes, I know some physically can't get out but I bet most could.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      "rather than sitting on their arse complaining via twitter, get off your fat lazy arses and go shopping yourself. It's lovely outside."

      Get up off arse, go outside to go shopping in an enclosed building with very little natural sunlight.

      I see your logic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, you're supposed to take two hours to get there, one way of course, and then you enjoy the outdoors during that 4 hour span, making sure to avoid the M4 or M69 during rush hour, or whatever the traffic jams are called in the UK. Then don't spend too much time inside Sainbury's, but DO try their world famous Sainsbury Steak, and viola, you have enjoyed the out of doors, and did the shopping. Don't forget a tin of meat for the cat. Or you can give them leftover Sainsbury Steak. Cats love it!

        Regarding this outage. Now Gran won't be getting her side of beef ribs, or the lovely (8 cases of) Wicked Strength Lager. :( Odds bodkins!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Then don't spend too much time inside Sainbury's, but DO try their world famous Sainsbury Steak, and viola"

          I wasn't much impressed with their viola- thought it was a bit of a fiddle personally.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    There is a simple solution

    and that is go and get the stuff for youself. Even go to other supermarkets. It isn't the end of the world.

    or is it?

    Perhaps these TITSUP events are just a prelude to IT Armageddon?

    Then it is back to the Abacus.

    [see ICON] as I hope it is just that.

    1. Richard 26

      Re: There is a simple solution

      "and that is go and get the stuff for youself. Even go to other supermarkets. It isn't the end of the world."

      It isn't the end of the world but it is annoying to be stuck in waiting for a delivery that doesn't arrive. And your delivery is probably out on the road somewhere, so you can't cancel it. Twitter is a useful tool, not because your groceries are terribly important in the great scheme of things but because it's a good way to get corporates' attention when they don'thave enough staff to answer the damn phone.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: There is a simple solution

        I really do hate the Twitterisation of customer care. First because I don't have a Twitter account, second because a company should attend the needs of all their customers properly, not just those who can exaggerate the most on Twitter. Can't it just burn through its money and die?

        1. Slackness

          Re: There is a simple solution

          ^--- Wot she said.

        2. Jay 2

          Re: There is a simple solution

          Agreed. We seem to have sunk to a level where to get some sort of response from many companies you have to publicly shame them on social media for them to actually take action. Quite annoying.

    2. BongoJoe

      Re: There is a simple solution

      and that is go and get the stuff for youself. Even go to other supermarkets. It isn't the end of the world.

      From here to the nearest Tesco of any size is an a hour and three quarters one way. There's a small ASDA about 40 minutes drive and an Iceland (but they don't deliver as we're too far away). The nearest Waitrose is about twenty minutes further than the Tesco and goodness knows how far the nearest Sainsburys is.

      So, yes, we do need to rely on home delivery and the Tesco chaps like coming out here because they have a few drops to make on the same route (and we choose the multi-slot time to make it easier for them) and they enjoy being out here.

      When you're living right on the ends of the earth it really is necessary to go for home delivery because otherwise the time spent going to and from the supermarkets, the parking charges if one has to pay them, the fuel costs all add up. Of course we could use the local shops for everything but their range is poor in comparison and, overall, their prices are higher because of convenience. In this sense convenience means a twenty minute drive each way...

  4. jake Silver badge

    Round these parts ...

    ... barbecue & beer is a daily occurrence, should we feel the need. You lot have to wait for a bank holiday? Sad state of affairs, that. Do you blame the Tories or Labo(u)r?

    1. djack

      Re: Round these parts ...

      Neither, we blame the weather.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Round these parts ...

        "Neither, we blame the weather."

        And it looks as if we'll have to wait until Monday for traditional BBQ weather: rain.

  5. Ben1892

    My IoT barbecue can't connect to my WiFi and I'm being forced to grill on actual fire - with coal !!! - what is this ? the stone age ?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Thank God it wasn't Ocado

    I'd hate to see Islington burning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank God it wasn't Ocado

      I'd hate to see Islington burning.

      Speak for yourself, mate. I'd bloody love to see the Great Fire of Islington. I'd even be prepared to contribute some cans of petrol, matches, and drag along a few additional elderly Guardian readers as kindling.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Thank God it wasn't Ocado

        This is terrorist talk!!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who actually shops at Sainsbury's?

    Have you peons never heard of Waitrose?

    If you are going to pay extra for the same stuff you should at least get a free cup of tea plus you can take your kids for a free slap in the car park.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I shop at Sainsburys.

      Pray tell, just where is the nearest Waitrose to Keighley (West Yorkshire)

      And for your info I am NOT Spanish American.

      Beer as it is Friday night and am supping some.

      Cheers… Ishy

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Waitrose? You mean Booths, shirley?

        "Pray tell, just where is the nearest Waitrose to Keighley (West Yorkshire)"

        Your nearest Booths is in Ilkley, just over 10 miles away (LS29 8EE):

        Booths, for those unfamiliar, is the multiple awardwinning north-west England supermarket minichain which is a cross between a decent Waitrose and a seven day a week farmers market. It also has a handful of outposts on the far side of the Pennines.

        1. Colabroad

          Booths, shirley?

          There's no Booths in Shirley, though it's near Solihull so there's bound to be a Waitrose.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Waitrose? You mean Booths, shirley?

          multiple awardwinning north-west England supermarket minichain which is a cross between a decent Waitrose and a seven day a week farmers market

          aka premium meat shack like most of the cheshire farm shops

      2. Mr_Blister

        Re: Waitrose?

        Miles away in Otley and every time I have been in there it was horrible. I'd rather go out of my way to Ilkley and shop at Booths, where the experience is pleasant, with subdued lighting which is better for your eyes and the food, feels more relaxed and the products are better. However despite all of this where do I actually prefer to shop? Aldi! Both on price and experience, as you can be in and out of there with a full shop in thirty minutes or so.

      3. illiad

        Re: Waitrose?

        Meanwood: 18.3 miles away... :O

        As I said, I ONLY go there as its almost next door... :P

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Time for a Bear Grylls BBQ then.

    Grilled dog, nettle salad and a warm frothy glass of my own piss.

    Other than the nettles thats basically the same as a Sainsburys steak and a Stella.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shit...

      One downvote means one angered Sainsburys butcher. I know your practices, you know your practices...lets just agree you need to man up and take the jokes.

      You wouldn't want the public to know you divert the best stuff and sell it elsewhere offsite and only leave the shit in the store would you?

      You...sniggering're no better!

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So - is Sainsbury's IT outsourced to Crapita?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Posting anon as I'm a bit close to this...

      Sainsbury's outsourced much of their support to TCS over a year ago. In the most part, the UK staff who were sold are still in place, as JS/TCS know that the offshore people don't have anything like the knowledge of the existing staff.

      As far as the Online shopping systems are concerned, they are still pretty much in house, but increasingly being run in an 'Agile' way - ie "let's try this new feature and see what happens"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As far as I'm aware the IT isn't outsourced to crapita! The tech support staff are based in Manchester in the arndale and were closed for a few days earlier in the week though!

  11. ShortLegs

    I'm with Lee D on this.

    A few years ago, I wouldn't have been. Those who disagree with him, your points are perfectly valid, BUT consider this.

    It's a service the Supermarkets have have introduced, and are actively pushing (both online shopping and click-and-collect). The logic is unfathomable, as click-and-collect they are doing your shopping for free (and reducing store footfall, plus a reduction in upsales and impulse purchasing, but hey-ho).

    It is a *huge* convenience. As Lee D doesn't quite put it, it's a genuine time-saving service. For a fiver (or £4 using Tesco), you can save a couple of hours less the time on-line shop).

    It's environmentally friendly, and reduces road traffic. Replace 5-10 shoppers in cars with one small van

    For some of us, who moved to a city and SOLD our car because of a) congestion b) higher insurance c)higher fuel costs due to urban motoring/slow moving and stationary traffic and actually made use of bicycles to commute rather than a car, and why pay insurance, VED, MOT, servicing costs on a depreciating asset which is used for shopping and the once-a-year trip South, online shopping is a necessity for the 'weekly' shop with large bulky items such as 17Kg bags of dog food, 16 toilet rolls, potatoes, etc.

    So the once-glib answer of "walk and do it yourself" isn't quite so valid anymore.

    1. 404

      Question on the toilet rolls..

      16 rolls each week? Just you? If so, dayum, that's a lot of tp! 2.something a day... hmm.

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Can somebody spoof a Giles cartoon of Granny (with Vera clutching some pills in the background, and the kids pulling out the electrical plug beneath the table) doing online shopping? :)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No idea about new fangled ideas like the tinterwebs

    I worked there a few years ago in IT and for 2 days they weren't able to take any online orders. The reason was the max number of orders their online system could store was either a hundred million or a billion and it hit this and couldn't accept any more. The logic behind this limit was when they put the system in place years ago they didn't think online shopping would take off. A lot of that thinking came from the fact most of the IT managers were former store managers and they couldn't see why people wouldn't want to come into their shops. Most of these guys are gone now as Sainsburys moved their IT from London to Coventry/Manchester and most people took redundancy. They're great at supporting/building systems the stores depend on but anything outside of that they have no interest in (including online shopping)

    AC because I do occasional bits of work for them still

  14. Grunt #1

    They were quick off the mark.

    ...unless there was no-one in role.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sainsbury Airways

    It would strangely appropriate if one of the "missed" Sainsbury deliveries was to the PBI at the BA headquarters trying to fix their monumental cock-up.

    That, or the Sainsbury system got the wrong address and tried to despatch the groceries to an office in Mumbai.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problems with Tesco too?

    Coincidentally, I was in my local Tesco (Dundee) this morning and the self-scan checkouts were roped off; I soon found out this was because they were having problems with the system. The woman at the till was asking me if I knew the price, and it was clear that the advertised discounts weren't showing up.

    No idea if this was specific to that store or not, but it seems coincidental that it also happened on a bank holiday weekend.

  17. Nifty Silver badge

    A scientific/enginnering apporach?

    NHS, BA and Sainsburys. Maybe there should be a computer science degree/MSc program that specialises in IT resilience and disaster recovery regardless of cause.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A scientific/enginnering apporach?

      I think that course exists but it is run by the Economics and Accounting faculty as part of the Degree course in Outsourcing and Maximising Shareholder Value at Trump University.

  18. Stevie Silver badge


    Curiously enough the same sort of thing happened to Margot Leadbetter and she and husband Jerry were forced to spend Christmas with Tom and Barbara Good as a result.

    Not sure what wisdom can be drawn from this, other than there is a point where getting someone else to do your shopping for you can result in fiasco and home-made Christmas crackers sans little strip of explosive.

    The barbecues in question would undoubtedly have been rained out, so no great loss.

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