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How did Sainsburys identify vulnerable customers for priority?

(25 Posts)
mynameisntlouise Wed 22-Apr-20 16:12:49

When all this started, I was one of those who got an email from Sainsburys saying I'd been identified as a vulnerable customer and would have access to priority delivery slots. I'm not sure what info they used to come this conclusion though as I wouldn't have considered myself vulnerable.

I'm assuming it's because I'm pregnant, but how do they know? I've probably used my nectar card when I initially brought a pregnancy test, and maternity pads etc. Would the government have given them a list of pregnant people (amongst those on their vulnerable conditions list) and they've matched this up with their customer database?

Anyone else pregnant and been given this priority access? I have no other health conditions and my husband is mostly going out to pick our shopping up anyway, but I'd probably be more tempted to use them when the newborn is here shortly!

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Ormally Wed 22-Apr-20 16:22:03

Although I have no source for this I remember there being something at the time about Sainsburys using data from their in-store pharmacies as part of the list (found that a bit dodgy in terms of data usage for things other than their original purpose, which is why it stuck in my mind) - although I have to say that I may have got the wrong end of the stick or be wrong about this.

These are copied and pasted paragraphs from my emails received at the point when they changed their strategy (from Sainsbury's - I was using them briefly for online deliveries before they changed):

We have proactively contacted 270,000 customers who had already given us information that meant we could identify them as being in these groups. Our customer Careline is working at full capacity to help other customers within these groups and we are able to give an additional 8,000 customers a day access to delivery slots over the phone. We have already booked in slots for 115,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers this week and this number is growing every day.

We will receive the government database this week which tells us which people in England the government considers to be most vulnerable. Where these people are already registered with us, we will start to write to them next week to offer them a delivery slot. We are also working hard to secure details for vulnerable people living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

I apologise to our regular online customers, who I know are feeling very frustrated at not being able to book slots. Please bear with us and I hope you can understand why we feel the need to prioritise elderly and vulnerable customers at the moment.

ILookLikeAMonster Wed 22-Apr-20 16:26:02

I am in the vulnerable group but Sainsbury had me down as not being, not sure what they are basing their info on.

IWasThereToo Wed 22-Apr-20 16:28:31

It's supposed to be entirely linked to the government or any customers who have previously flagged themselves up as vulnerable, for example, elderly people with their details on file with Sainsburys.

My email from Sainsburys came after the government informed them.

MrsJoshNavidi Wed 22-Apr-20 16:37:06

If you have a nectar card, they use this to deduce things about you.
They don't exactly "know", but they will have a pretty good idea of your circumstances.
They don't give you nectar points out of the goodness of their heart. They track what you buy and use this to inform personalised advertising.
There was a tv programme about it.

wowfudge Wed 22-Apr-20 16:41:46

Pretty sure it was government list the supermarkets were sent.

Everytimeref Wed 22-Apr-20 16:41:55

My DF is in the vulnerable shield list and has an email from Sainsbury's agreeing but if he clicks on delivery it's says he has been identified, apparently the site is struggling and showing the wrong info.

Everytimeref Wed 22-Apr-20 16:42:22

* hasn't been identified

HeIenaDove Wed 22-Apr-20 16:44:48

I didnt realize they were card only at the tills in Sainsburys until yesterday. It was the first time id been there in two weeks. Yet their advert says pay by card IF you can.

Cash is still accepted at self serve tills.

mynameisntlouise Thu 30-Apr-20 12:41:06

Well I thought 'bugger it, the slots are there, I'll book a cheeky delivery" just to tide us over in that first week of life with a 2 year old and a newborn.

Shame on me, the delivery driver quizzed me at the door, saying I didn't look vulnerable and was too young, why was I on the vulnerable list?

I don't know, I told him. I was pregnant just 7 days ago? He then said births should be put on hold as his mum isn't allowed her hip operation. I assume he was joking, but I was not amused. Maybe if my perineum wasn't throbbing and my breasts weren't leaking, I might have seen the funny side!

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IWasThereToo Thu 30-Apr-20 14:44:50

Wow that's bang out of order.

MrsKypp Thu 30-Apr-20 14:48:40

the delivery driver quizzed me at the door, saying I didn't look vulnerable and was too young, why was I on the vulnerable list?

I am shocked a delivery driver is asking this based on the customer not looking vulnerable and being too young.

Not all vulnerabilities are age related or outwardly visible.

I'm not saying the poster of that (*mynameisntlouise*) is or isn't vulnerable, but it's not the correct way to judge vulnerability to Covid-19 is it.

Deelish75 Thu 30-Apr-20 16:04:25

I've wandered this. I am a delivery pass holder and it's DP's nectar card that is linked to the account. On 22 March I received an email to say I'd been identified as vulnerable, I'm not but my DP is (he's not shielding, but he does receive the annual NHS flu jab due to a brain haemorrhage when he was a teenager) The email stated they were working with the government to identify people. I tried contacting Sainsbury's at the time to clarify this but couldn't get through. As I've said my DP is vulnerable so I do feel as though we are entitled to it.

The only other thing that happened at that time was my delivery pass was up for renewal, I don't know if they moved fast with us to make sure we renewed (not that they'd ever admit it).

mynameisntlouise Thu 30-Apr-20 16:38:25

I’m pretty cross about it! But technically, if I was classed as vulnerable due to pregnancy, I’m not anymore so I guess that’s that.

I do feel like sending a message saying “please remove me from the vulnerable list so I don’t make such an error in booking the vulnerable slots again... but more poignantly, please brief your drivers on hidden disabilities and discrimination hmm

I did look; there’s no complaint contact email and only a number to call so it makes my self-gratifying complaint a bit more petty, when they must be so busy anyway.

OP’s posts: |
mynameisntlouise Thu 30-Apr-20 16:43:11

@Deelish75 it’s weird how and what they know, if the account is in your name how would they link your partner?

It’s definitely a flawed system, another reply said her dad had been identified as vulnerable but couldn’t access the slots. I do appreciate they’re doing the best they can to respond in a relatively short timescale. Still mad about the driver though.

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TwoRedCushions Thu 30-Apr-20 16:44:14

I’ve no idea. I was flagged as eligible. Healthy 30-something with a toddler.

NightingalesAtDawn Thu 30-Apr-20 16:56:17

I'm furious with Sainsburys. My 80-something parents spend the best part of £100 there every week, they're both now on the official shielding list of vulnerable persons and cannot go in person, but Sainsburys will not recognise this, no matter how many times I contact them about it. I have spent literally hours on the phone trying to speak to a human and when I do, they're so unhelpful: they're "working through the government list"and to "look for more information on the website".
So in the mean time, I have to make a 45 mile round trip to shop for them every week, which does not feel in the sprit of lockdown.

Deelish75 Thu 30-Apr-20 17:02:22


No idea, it’s his nectar card on the account, which may have flagged something up. Or our address, again not sure how, maybe Sainsbury’s gave the NHS/Dept for Health our address and they said someone vulnerable lived there. I genuinely have no idea.

Also shocked at the delivery driver commenting on you not “looking” vulnerable, one of my neighbours is a Sainsbury’s driver and she delivered to me last week, I asked how busy she was, she told me it wasn’t too bad and our area has got a lot of capacity, I mentioned that we were a vulnerable household and she had no idea.

Deelish75 Thu 30-Apr-20 17:11:42


I’ve heard this so much. There’s clearly been a breakdown in communication between government and Sainsbury’s. I would contact your parents MP, I have heard of people who have done that and they’ve managed to get it sorted.

HeIenaDove Thu 30-Apr-20 17:29:04

@NightingalesAtDawn Its not just Sainsburys. The infrastructure in this country to support lockdown simply isnt there.

An hour and ten minutes was spent on the phone to Nat West on Monday trying to pay off DHs CC.

Absolutely futile They take you through security questions............fair enough.

But asking a 70 year old exactly when he opened his account He doesnt remember so they made him hang up and phone up again and get in the queue again. Then the next security questions were "how much do you have in another account" (he doesnt have another account with them) and about a non existant ISA. Neither of us could cope with the absolute ridiculousness of this anymore so gave up and he physically went to the bank to pay it in. This was their over 70s and/or vulnerable helpline.

Ditto GP surgery. Phone the repeat prescription in. Spent two hours on the phone Couldnt get through. Had to be taken down there.

Online is not the answer See above re. Sainsburys. And the big Virgin outage a few days ago.

Jemma2907 Thu 30-Apr-20 17:47:57

I messed up somehow when I registered my Mum as vulnerable on her behalf on the government website. I was sure I'd ticked all the boxes saying it was for someone else, gave her email address, not mine but gave my telephone number as she is useless at answering the phone. I then had emails from sainsbury, then Asda, and iceland all adding me to their priority deliveries! I wont use those slots but it only shows me those ones now, not the normal ones so I dont feel I can shop at any of them! I had a call from the shielding service and I said there had been an error but they couldnt do anything about it! So frustrating!

BlueBrian Thu 30-Apr-20 17:54:43

Given up on Sainsbury's they don't seem to be able to work out that I'm on the shielded list, all the others have got it right, anyway Sainsbury's are overpriced, they just sell the same stuff as everybody else, but charge more for it, so not being able to get deliveries from them is no great loss.

BlueBrian Thu 30-Apr-20 17:56:18

Should be Sainsburys, not being able to edit after posting is a pain.

kingis Thu 30-Apr-20 19:01:06

I am not vulnerable and I have been able to book deliveries almost every week from Sainsbury's. One week I got a message that I am not priority so I got click&collect. I did receive an email in the beginning of the lock down that they have slots left over from vulnerable group.
Delivery drivers haven't commented anything.

NightingalesAtDawn Fri 01-May-20 08:51:33

I suppose it might also depend on where you live and what the local demand is like. Perhaps if there are several different supermarkets in the area all doing deliveries, some might have slots left, but in places where Sainsburys is the main supermarket, or in heavily populated urban areas, it's going to be harder to get a slot.

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