Heritage

Look: Queen Elizabeth Goes to the Grocery

Her first question about the self check out concept? If it's possible to cheat the system.
IMAGE DOMINIC LIPINSKI - PA IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES
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The Queen enjoyed a trip down memory lane as well as a guide to the latest technology this week as she explored 150 years of grocery shopping. Her Majesty visited a replica of one of the original Sainsbury's stores in London’s Covent Garden as the British supermarket chain marked their 150th anniversary.

In addition to viewing foods from decades past, she was also introduced to the latest developments in the self-service checkout. Damien Corcoran, the company’s regional operations manager for the North East, demonstrated the checkout to the 93-year-old Queen, who quickly picked up that customer might be able to cheat by not scanning items.“You can’t trick it? You can’t cheat?” Her Majesty quizzed.

"One of the things that the Queen noticed immediately was that there might be the opportunity to manipulate the system and maybe not scan items. I discussed that there are sensitive scales built into this device which weigh the items," Corcoran told T&C afterwards about the encounter.

"I think she found that response sufficiently reassuring," he said.


Queen Elizabeth gets a lesson in the latest supermarket technology

Lynn Bennett, who works for the company in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, showed the Queen a basket of popular shopping items from today alongside one from the 1950s.

“How tastes have changed,” the Queen responded, according to Bennett. Included in the 1950s produce was Bloater Paste, a sandwich spread made from herrings. "When I presented the Bloater Paste it sounded like she said ‘That sounds disgusting!'" Bennett said.

Actor Louise Beresford, who was playing a character from the 1940s called Nora in the immersive journey through food, told T&C how she watched as the Queen looked at food packaging from the era.

"She’s got that glint in her eye, she was asking questions and having a bit of a giggle at things that were going on. She was really interested in the cans, 'It’s amazing you still have all these items,'" Beresford said. The first Sainsbury’s store was opened in London’s Drury Lane and sold just three items: butter, milk, and eggs.


While at the replica Sainsbury's store in Covent Garden, the British monarch takes a stroll past the sausage counter

The Queen also met employees from around the country, including people with over 50 years’ service and others who have made an impact in their community by volunteering or charity fundraising.

"It’s amazing to see how British shopping has changed over the decades," said Jennifer Smith, who this year celebrates 50 years with Sainsbury’s. "I have worked in-store for Sainsbury’s for 50 years and I’ve made some wonderful memories during that time, but today has been extra special."

Before leaving, the Queen cut a citrus and blossom cake created by Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake maker Claire Ptak for the store. She also unveiled a commemorative plaque. As the Queen departed, crowds who had gathered outside cheered and she instructed one of her staff members to collect flowers that members of the public had brought.


Queen Elizabeth receives some flowers outside the Sainsbury's replica in Covent Garden

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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