Supermarket shopping bags are the latest status symbol for social climbers
More than half (56 per cent) of Britons feel their choice of supermarket reflects their place on the social ladder, a ray bans ccording to the survey.
One in eight believes shopping at certain stores can make a person appear wealthier, with the result that the average Briton spends almost 260 a year extra to be seen in the right aisles.
The food firm Ginsters, which carried out the survey, claimed many regarded the supermarket they shopped in as a greater status symbol than their education.
For these, parading a Waitrose carrier bag is the equivalent of wearing an old school tie from Eton or Harrow, while carrying one from a cut price supermarket such as Netto proclaims a classroom dropout.
Shopped! Jules Oliver leaving Waitrose in 2001
Such is the rise of ‘supermarket snobs’ that almost half of the 1,631 people surveyed thought the right carrier bag was more important than a fashionable handbag.
“According to our study, the carrier bag is the accessory of 2007,” said Larry File, marketing controller for Ginsters. “Among the fashionable crowd, you need to be seen with the right supermarket bag to make an impression.
“In fact, a proportion of consumers felt that people would pay more attention to their shopping bag than to the design of their handbag.
“Knowing this might have saved someone like Victoria Beckham a small fortune.”
Jamie Oliver’s wife Jules found herself in the spotlight over carrier bags in 2001 when she was seen emerging from a Waitrose supermarket.
Her husband was fronting a massive advertising campaign for Sainsbury’s at the time.
While the ray bans survey stopped short of grading supermarkets by social cachet, independent experts agree any such league would be topped by Wa ray bans itrose followed by Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, with the likes of Lidl, Aldi and Netto at the bottom.
Peter Jackson, professor of human geography at Sheffield University, said: “People will often say they go to a supermarket for convenience or value.
“But really what they are looking for is somewhere that is full of, as they put it, ‘nice people like me’.”
Professor Clifford Guy, a retail development expert from Cardiff University, said: “This kind of snobbery undoubtedly exists but the distinctions are being blurred.
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