Glass bottles on the doorstep - getting a milkman

Posted on 5 January 2009 in Shopping (5 comments)

It's remarkable to think how much the humble household shop has changed in just twenty years. Nowadays it's all supermarkets, supermarkets, supermarkets, but as a kid in the early 1980s, we would walk round Hyde Indoor Market - veg from one stall, eggs from another, meat from a third. Despite the presence of a huge Fine Fare hypermarket in the town, a monthly groceries shop was usually done in Asda's Longsight branch seven miles away. And milk came from the milkman, delivered daily of course.

Ah yes, the milkman. Glass bottles, foil tops and electric milk floats silently trawling the neighbourhood.

Milk Bottle

Milk bottle photo by Richard Cocks. Used under licence.

My parents still use their milkman, as do around 5m other people in the UK. However there's a concern about milkman decline. And like many, I never got a milkman when I left the parental abode.

One of the reasons I never considered it was because you just don't know how to get in touch with your local milkman. In our current street, I've never seen anyone delivering milk, nor anyone with milk bottles outside.

Which, it has to be said, is where the internet offers a helping hand. A couple of years ago, when a new website launched called Find Me A Milkman. By coincidence, around the same time I kept seeing a milk float as I walked to the tube station in the morning. Although the concern that the delivery would not be early enough, put me off trying it out.

Then, a few weeks ago, a leaflet came through the door about milk&more, a new website from Dairy Crest, Britain's biggest doorstep milk delivery supplier.

It was enough to make me think about it all again, and I ummed and err-d about it for a while.

Milk bottles

Photo by Mark Hillary. Used under licence.

On the plus side, it is a lot more environmentally friendly - glass bottles get washed and reused at least 20 times before they're recycled, unlike the average plastic milk bottle. The weight of lugging the weekly four pints back from Sainsbury's on foot, is also a nuisance.

And frankly, I'd been getting fed up of giving my money to the supermarkets who are just getting too big, and dominating of our lives at all levels. We'd already moved to getting our veg from an organic box scheme - it was time to take the milk away too.

The milk would cost more that it would in Sainsburys, but actually there was the potential to actually save money. Milk was actually the only regular item we needed to buy, week in, week out - ensuring that there was always a trip to the supermarket. And like most of us, when I got to the supermarket, I always end up buying more than I intended to, and usually things I don't need. Without the need to buy milk, I was hopeful that I could cut the supermarket trips down to fortnightly, rather than weekly, and hopefully save some cash too.

It was enough to convince me. The website was loaded up, regular orders created. And the next day, there on our doorstep, was a glass bottle of milk. It was lovingly carried upstairs, wiped, and stashed in the fridge.

And so it began. So far the jury is out on whether money has been saved or not, however on Sunday 7 December we celebrated two weeks of milk delivery.

We celebrated in style. By not going to Sainsburys.

Tomorrow I take a look at milk&more - Dairy Crest's doorstep delivery website

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Simon Dickson said:

Similar story here; we only started getting milk delivered when we had a kid who wanted it poured down her throat every few hours. It felt a bit decadent, as the local corner shop is under a minute's walk. But it made me feel all grown up, like I'd finally settled in a permanent home. And it's great to have one less thing to worry about.

Posted on 5 January 2009 at 11:35 AM

Fintan Gaughan said:

Also your local milkman deliver bread and yoghurt and god knows what.
I would never have milk delivered on my door step,for a simple reason a stray dog could urinate on it.

I used to be a postman saw a dog do his business ,ok it could not contaminate the milk but it still puts me off.

Our local milkman deliver his milk across my road dead on midnight Sunday night.

Posted on 5 January 2009 at 11:35 PM

Andrew Bowden said:

Good job I've never seen any stray dogs in my area, and that my milk isn't left on the doorstep for long! Not sure I'd want my milk delivered at midnight either - well not in the summer.

Posted on 6 January 2009 at 3:21 PM

Nadeem said:

i want to find milk man in my area , i cant find any can you help me findout one thanks.

Posted on 16 January 2009 at 11:51 AM

Andrew Bowden said:

I suggest trying Find Me a Milkman - they'll have information if your area is served.

Posted on 16 January 2009 at 1:26 PM

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