Every once in a while its a win win for all, except the algorithms

Tampon box in disabled loo

Every once in a while I like messing with the algorithms which rule our world. As Cory says in this critical piece, found via Ade,

Machine learning is fundamentally conservative, and it hates change. If you start a text message to your partner with “Hey darling,” the next time you start typing a message to them, “Hey” will beget an autosuggestion of “darling” as the next word, even if this time you are announcing a break-up.

This isn’t a new thing and I have to thank Miles who gave me the idea a long time ago to mess with the algorithms every once in a while.

Every once in a while, when I feel the recommendations are getting pretty good I buy something completely different. For example with Google I’ve done some very strange things, but the impact isn’t so clearly felt as with shopping algorithms.

Recently I bought tampons which were 2 for the price of 1 on Tesco online. I bought them because I wanted to screw up the algorithm but more importantly I wanted to support my female colleagues (extra special shout out to Jasmine) who have been fighting the good fight to provide women & girls with free sanitary products in BBC buildings. As they really should have!

Maybe this is a triple win, one for my colleagues, two for messing up Tesco’s recommendations and three for my pocket? What ever it is, I noticed Tesco recommendation now includes pointers to shampoo products which I certainly don’t need  but makes me laugh the algorithm is so easily manipulated.

Already planning similar on Amazon and Ebay…

Get your turkey order in now

I know turkey is in huge demand over Christmas but this is just weird?

Thank you for placing your Christmas fresh poultry order with tesco.com. To ensure you receive everything that you’re expecting, please read through the information below: • Christmas fresh poultry is only available in deliveries between 20th and 24th December*. Please note that if you move your delivery outside these dates, you will lose your poultry order. • December 14th** is the final day for placing Christmas fresh poultry orders. You will no longer be able to add, remove or change these products in your shopping basket after this date. • Don’t forget that you can make amends and additions to the rest of your Christmas order until at least 11.45pm on the night before your delivery. If you do so, you will notice that the Christmas fresh poultry you have ordered will be marked with a message to say that you can no longer amend the quantity on the item. Please do not be worried by this – it is simply to show that your fresh poultry order is already in the system. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and we wish you a very Merry Christmas. Kind regards, Tesco Customer Service

If I don’t get my Turkey on the 23rd, expect a full twitter onslaught… 🙂

Dataportability between supermarkets…

Tesco Metro

Yeah right… Like thats going to happen (just like dating data portability)

I just switched from Tesco.com to Sainsburys because for some reason Tesco’s site fails to show on my internet connection. (I tried multiple browsers on multiple machines and it just times out. But doing the same on my phone connection works no problem). There seems to be a problem with the MTU or something

Anyway, I found Sainsbury’s delivery service actually really good, dare I say better than Tesco’s. But what I can’t get over (yet) is the lack of favorites. Sainsburys does have favorites but I had to manually copy over the data from Tesco.com on my phone to Sainsburys on my laptop. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t that painful because I generally don’t have that much on my favorities but boy oh boy could I have done with some portability in this space.

Heck even allowing openid would be a start, I looked at Ocado but it couldn’t find my postcode. It gave me a phone number to ring but calling it went no where. I was hoping to use them because I’ve used them for barcamps in the past, plus they have a android phone app but it wasn’t to be.

Geek and Geekhag podcast number five – Tesco too big for its boots?

My and Sarah's five podcasts now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we talk about joint/partner websites, Sarah says sorry to Blojsom creator and how Tesco is becoming Walmart in the UK and it would seem trying to beat Walmart at its only game in America with Tesco Metro's (starbucks style?).

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Been using Tesco shopping service for about 7 years now?

I just read Jen's Groceries on demand post

Ever since the delivery guys mistakenly pressed our buzzer instead of the flat they needed, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of having groceries delivered. I had always thought such services were the domain of the physically challenged or wealthy.
Not that I need to whittle away at my scant reasons to leave the flat already, but I felt compelled to give the service a whirl. I have a Tesco ClubCard; I have a bank card. Tomorrow, I’ll have a kitchen full of groceries carried up two flights of stairs by cheerful delivery folk.

To be honest I love Tesco's Delivery service. The day I moved out of my parents house, I was getting Tesco to deliver my monthly shopping. It made sense, because having a 125cc scooter and a hectic lifestyle (college during the day and work in the cinema at night) there was no way I could find time to act like a zombie for a couple of hours, walking up and down the supermarket shelves. Then drag all the crap home without falling off my bike. Trust me I tried. It was painful. When I lived in Bromley, I use to drive over to Elmers End's 24 Hour Tesco at about 1am and do my shopping. A couple of times I could not carry it all and ended up going back and forth to get everything home. I hated it! So I opted to get everything delivered and would only pop into Tesco to get quick bits and bobs.

Even when me and Sarah got married and moved into our own place, the Tesco Delivery contunies. Sarah did spend a little bit of time getting use to stuff from this country by wondering around the local Tesco supermarket but in the end also opted for there online delivery. However now and then she will want to go shopping, for some unknown reason.

Shopping for me is just one of those life zapping things I could do without. I don't mind so much going and picking up a couple of things but any more than 10 items and I feel like my head will cave in. I think the problem lies with me working in Tesco for over a year while studying. I worked in the Tesco Cafe till they realised I was alergic to the cleaning material and moved me to check outs. On checks out I quickly made the move to night shift to better fit with my college hours. I mean at the time almost 7 pounds a hour to work from 10pm to 6am seemed like a good idea. I only had to work 2 days a week and earned enough to do all the stuff I wanted to do. But on the downside I learned to quickly hate the supermarkets bright lighting and depressive decor. Maybe its put me off for life? Sarah will tell any of you, I turn from a nice friendly guy into a moaning pain when I'm in a supermarket. Thank goodness for Tesco delivery.

I still remember when my manager was telling me about the new online shopping service which our store (Tesco Eastville, Bristol) was going to trial. I thought it was such a good idea and hoped to be the person picking the goods for the delivery but it was not to be. I also hoped it would be a huge hit and less people would come into the store. That obviously never happened. But it would certainly seem things have changed alot. At the time (maybe 1998) only Tesco was doing online home delivery. I think Watrose and Iceland followed a year later then Sainsburys. And to tell the truth Tesco's online offerings and service went from ok to great within a few years. They even offered a website and pocketpc application early on which I could browse on my ipaq. So I could look in the kitchen and simply add stuff without being tied to my desktop machine (didn't have a laptop or wifi at the time, only ipaq and gprs). And even now Tesco are doing little things to make the whole process even easier and enjoyable.

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