I was in Waitrose in Truro earlier. Among a few other things I was after a bottle of wine. Now unfortunately Waitrose let us down a little with their shelf labelling of vegan wines, but they do redeem themselves slightly by producing a free 370 page Wine, Beer and Spirits List. We picked up a copy back in the summer at another Waitrose store.
Inside, the guide labels not only vegan but also organic and bio dynamic choices, along with great information about each product. It is a handy little guide to have with you whilst perusing your choices, and also seems to match what is indeed available on the shelves; so no long moments trying to find the one you've just identified in the book. For this reason I keep a copy in the car.
I decided to talk to the member of the staff in the wine area to say how much I appreciated having such a handy guide which clearly marked vegan options. Well it turns out that Russell is a bit of a star. He said although the guide was really good, he thought it was a shame that Waitrose didn't label the shelves as such. He had been so disappointed at not being able to help a lady find some vegan wine that he had taken it upon himself to ensure he was able to check Barnivore if asked again. Members of staff are apparently not allowed to have their mobile phones on them whilst working, but he had been given special permission to do so purely so that he was able to help again if anyone asked him about vegan products in his section. His mother-in-law is vegetarian for ethical reasons and so he said he knew how important it was to people. I was so impressed that he had gone to such effort and told him he had inspired me to write a blog post.
Now unfortunately all the guides got snapped up a while back in the store (even Russell doesn't have one he can refer to!). However, he said he would look into getting some more in. I'm going to contact customer service too. I would like Russell to be recognised for the effort he has made, as well as back up his request for more helpful guides, and give Waitrose a gentle nudge towards better shelf labelling too. I might even mention that it is nice to see them including a vegan recipe in their December 2016 magazine (mentioned on the cover and found on page 72).
So if you are in Waitrose in Truro, say hello to Russell. He is the man in the know when it comes to pointing you in the right direction of suitable wines and it's always good to recognise those individuals trying to make a difference to our shopping experiences.