As we hurtle on towards Christmas, it’s becoming more and more clear that bagging a supermarket delivery slot is going to be increasingly difficult.

First things first, supermarkets know that demand is going to be off the charts. So even if the first batch of delivery slots have been released (and generally, they have), that doesn’t mean it’s all over.

They want your cash and only availability of stock and drivers is going to affect the final number of slots you can book.

Firstly register for updates with your preferred store or stores. Find out when they’re going to be releasing more delivery slots and what the criteria are for booking one.

If you're already a member of their delivery or saver scheme you might get advance booking.

You also have rights if the retailer messes you around (


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The problem seemed to have been sorted out but bear in mind that where there’s demand, technical problems can and will happen – so have a back-up plan.

People on the Government’s priority list should still be able to book slots specifically reserved for vulnerable people.

Each supermarket has a Q&A explaining how this works, but in short, if you were shielding over lockdown because you were classed as vulnerable, you should already be on the priority list.

If not, speak to your doctor. Again, though, competition for these slots is still high so don’t delay before booking.

Supermarket deliveries are imperfect and last Christmas we had the 'Christmas dinner cock ups' disaster as some supermarkets failed to deliver - literally - the correct order for the big day itself.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket, so to speak.

Start shopping for the trimmings, or emergency back-up items right now. Yes, you can freeze most of the components of the Christmas dinner – but demand is high this year for alternatives like pork, goose and venison.

So if you want an emergency back-up option, snap it up now.

When things go wrong, take a deep breath. You do have consumer rights, but that’s a cold comfort if things can’t be sorted out by the big day.

You’re entitled to a full refund for any items that aren’t delivered or aren’t suitable so check off that list as the delivery arrives (don’t feel pressured to fling everything into the cupboard because the driver is waiting).

To save time, go straight to the ‘substitutions’ section on the invoice. You can reject these items straight away if you’re unhappy.

Substitutions are the most contentious complaint about deliveries after cancellations - and we've heard from hundreds of people who have received completely different replacements.

If you’ve been given an assurance that you’d have the big money items – like the turkey – by Christmas, you can make a formal complaint if you think they don't turn up.

Compensation is likely to be largely symbolic though so it’s still safest to have a back up plan. That turkey crown in the freezer might take up too much space now – but it might be a lifesaver if things go wrong.

Need to make a complaint? can help for free.

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