I’m a bit of a fan of Budvar Lager, but it’s quite difficult to buy it in reasonable quantities anywhere near my home. My local ASDA used to sell it, but I haven’t seen any there for about nine months.
As usual, I did some searching online to see if I could find someone who would sell me Budvar at a reasonable price.
Firstly, all the specialist Internet drinks sites proved to be useless. They’re fine for premium wine and spirits, but the postage for crates of lager is just too much. I don’t want to pay £35 or so for 24 x 330ml bottles of lager. I like Budvar, but not that much. Kronenbourg 1664 is nearly as nice, and is often on offer at my local ASDA.
Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s all claim to offer Budvar online. Below is a brief summary of my experiences with their services:
My first order was with Tesco. They had a good offer on for 24 x 330ml bottles of budvar for £18 each + £5 delivery
First annoyance is that you have to create an account and log in to browse the site. It really puts you off checking out what they have on offer
The site is functional, but is not very pleasant to browse. The text is too small, as are the photos. I wasn’t tempted to browse past the lager section
Delivery slots were hard to get. I had to book over a week in advance. The delivery slots were also two hours long
Despite the above issues, three crates of Budvar turned up as requested. The annoying thing is that they now no longer stock Budvar at all 🙁
Overall marks: 6/10
This felt like a trip back to 1998. Their site (just recently updated) works with Safari, but doesn’t like Camino. I was shown a page suggesting I upgrade to Internet Explorer 4 or higher, or Netscape 4.5 or higher. There was a link to a non-existent page on Netscape’s website. No mention of Firefox etc. This is a disgrace in 2006
Their site in general is comparable to Tesco’s site. ASDA’s navigation is worse, but their product details are better
They do allow you browse (using Safari) without logging in, and they showed Budvar as being available. Once I created an account to place an order, Budvar wasn’t listed
I raised a query about this through their website, which states that they will back to you in 48 hours. It took them roughly two weeks to call me (it was long enough that I can’t be specific about the number of days). The guy I spoke to said that the site you see without logging in is just a demo, and that products shown there might not actually be available
When I asked about why my local store didn’t stock Budvar, and why I couldn’t order it, he suggested filling in a form elsewhere on the ASDA website. Somehow I have my doubts that this would result in me being able to buy Budvar anytime soon
I’ve been bombarded with emails by ASDA since creating an account. Many more than either Tesco or Sainsbury’s. So much so that I’ve asked them to stop sending me emails
Overall marks: 3/10
Sainsbury’s site is nicer to use than either ASDA or Tesco. Bigger text, clearer navigation, no login required to browse the site
They stock 4 x 330ml bottles of Budvar for £3.99, but you save £1 if you buy two packs. So basically it’s £21 for 24 x 330ml bottles. More expensive than Tesco, but at least they still sell it
Delivery was available within two days, and the delivery slot was one hour. Noticeably better than Tesco
As it was pleasant to browse the site, I order some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (on offer) and 20 bags of Bacon Wheat Crunchies (not available at my local ASDA)
Everything turned up on time, although I only got 48 bottles of lager, rather than the 80 I ordered. They do warn you that this might happen. The 20 bags of Wheat Crunchies were delivered filling a single carrier bag to capacity 🙂 (they don’t sell multipacks). The lager was in carrier bags with 8 bottle per bag. Surely it would have been easier to deliver two crates as Tesco did?
I’ve just been emailed a £5 voucher for my next order, which will cover the delivery charge. They also offer free delivery between Tuesday and Thursday if you spend more than £70
Overall marks: 8/10
From my admittedly limited experience, Sainsbury definitely seem to have the edge over Tesco in terms of the customer experience, and ASDA have some serious catching up to do