It might not be the supermarket of choice in Scotland, where there are only seven branches, mostly in the Central Belt, but over-priced, middle-class Waitrose has a loyal, if small, clientele here.
For many of us who grew up in the south, where the retailer was more of a fixture, familiarity draws us back.
So it is with a heavy heart that I must now boycott its aisles, particularly as its shelves start to groan with seasonal fare.
Last week, the store ousted William Sitwell, the editor of its in-house magazine, for being rude in an email to a vegan.
Sitwell, an old Etonian from famous stock (the poet Edith Sitwell was his great aunt), can stand up for himself. I know this because we used to work together and he easily rolled with the punches in cut-throat national newspaper journalism.
But that is not the point. Sitwell’s sacking – described as a ‘resignation’ but why would he leave a job he loved? – is a defeat for press freedom and free speech and reason and humour.
Sitwell’s crime was for teasing a freelancer, Selene Nelson, who had suggested a plant-based meal series.
Here’s what he wrote (and vegans might want to look away now): “Hi Selene. Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one? Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
This sounds like a rejection to me, perhaps somewhat fruitier than the normal boring rejections that most freelance journalists take in their stride over the years, but nothing more harmful than that.
However, not only did Nelson fail to see the funny side, she was able to harness a community of militant food faddists who took to Twitter to call for Sitwell’s head.
Some threatened to withdraw their custom from Waitrose and, incredibly, the supermarket backed them over its award-winning editor of almost 20 years.
This is not an argument between vegans and carnivores. Most people have learnt to accommodate alternative lifestyles, whether they are diet-related or about something more profound.
In largely affluent, western societies, like ours, veganism has gained increasing traction among swathes of the population partly because of the plentiful options available to non meat eaters.
In the urban slums of sub-Saharan Africa, though, the poor tend to eat protein when they can get it, and few would turn down cheap fish or chicken for their children in favour of grains or vegetables.
Here, it is when what we eat defines what we are that the trouble begins. It is bad enough that some vegans, and vegetarians for that matter, claim a moral advantage over the rest of us.
But there is a branch of veganism now that takes the debate to a dangerous level, as highlighted by the Sitwell row.
This vocal minority assumes quasi-religious status, so if mocked it believes it is persecuted. Some of its more misguided devotees also seem to have confused veganism with ethnicity.
One caller to an LBC radio phone-in accused Sitwell of ‘food racism’. To the astonishment of the presenter, he said: “Veganism is not just a food fad, it’s not just something ‘oh I’ll be a vegan for a week, or a day, or a year’, it’s about a very strong and comprehensive life choice.
“Now if I was to say tomorrow, something about black people and black slavery, for example, let’s take the black people back to the plantations, and I say that as a joke or humour. How would that go down?”
The food writer Rose Prince wrote in a Sunday newspaper that she had been sent death threats in the past from vegans after writing about the meat industry. She said that an Instagram photo of Sitwell’s newborn son also received a death threat.
This is not about animal welfare or about saving the planet, which are the common reasons given for choosing to go meat free.
Most people who profess to cherish all life forms do so from some notion of compassion and are unlikely to be the perpetrators of online hatred.
What we witnessed in Sitwell’s case was not the outrage of ordinary animal lovers, but the extreme reaction of an isolated and isolating group.
This one happens to organise under the vegan banner, but you get the impression that vegetables are just a cover for fury at the world, and that other causes could exercise their anger too.
Waitrose wouldn’t have lost its core customers – organic, wholemeal, wheat free, steak eating or whatever – over Sitwell’s remarks but it fell for the unfiltered hysteria of the Twittersphere.
Now it is left with egg on its face, which is not a good look for a vegan-friendly food giant.