Sunday, December 20, 2015


After we filled up on pies and Vietnamese food in the food court at the Westfield mall, it was off to get some groceries. We love visiting grocery stores whenever we travel, and even though we were only looking to pick up water and some breakfast bars this time, I was pretty excited about exploring and roaming the aisles. Unfortunately for me, I was really feeling the travel exhaustion by the time we got there (it was so bad that I thought I was going to be sick before we got back to the hotel), so our trip to Waitrose was pretty short. 

The Waitrose at the Westfield was bright and shiny, but we were so tired

We did wander some of the aisles, mostly the produce section since it was the closest to the front, before I really started feeling sick. Everything looked pretty good (although not this cauliflower and broccoli couscous, because of my food intolerances), and we wished we had more time to stroll. Waitrose has a bit of a reputation as the more "upmarket" of the grocery brands in London (compared to the "big 4" supermarkets of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, and Morrisons - all of which we visited on this trip except Asda), but since we hadn't been to any other stores yet by that time, we had no idea whether that was true or not.

My nightmare

Eventually we picked up our mini haul - 2 big bottles of water and a box of breakfast bars (more on the bars another time) - and went to check out. Back home, whenever there is an option for self-checkout, we usually go straight for it, and we did the same here. The self-checkout machines let you pay with either chip and pin or contactless pay. Since our backwards US credit cards still haven't evolved to chip and pin (we just got chip and signature how many years after everyone else), we tried doing the latter and got declined 3 times. It was at this point in the trip that we learned that the NFC pay wouldn't work on the payment machines in the UK since we didn't have a chip and pin card associated with it. Great, still behind the times. Why can't we have chip and pin cards? It's utterly baffling to us.

Our Waitrose purchases

Anyway, we ended up having to go to a regular register to check out. We could still use the chip, but we had to wait for them to print out a receipt, no matter how small the purchase was, and verify our signature. Just a tip in case anyone is going to London with a new chip card (since we only got ours shortly before going). Chip and signature only, and always wait to sign or it doesn't get approved. 

We figured we would end up going back to Waitrose another day since the mall wasn't too far from our hotel, but since we found other closer grocery stores, we never ended up returning. Maybe on another trip. 

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