It’s the in thing to hate Tesco. You’re cool if you reject Tesco and it’s plans to take over the world.
The proponents of the anti-Tesco campaign have many reasons about why you should not shop there.
The supermarkets wipe out the local shops and markets, they misuse their buying power, they work in cartels against free trade, their products are produced in foreign countries with cheap slave labour, their buildings are not in keeping with the local environment, they force shoppers to go out of town, etc.
However I shop at Tesco in spite of the above because most of the points are not valid. Anyway, shopping at Tesco is convinent, and I can do a lot of the weekly shopping in one go.
The supermarkets do not wipe out local shops and markets just by setting up. The reason local markets do not tend to survive after a supermarket comes into town is usually because they don’t respond competively. Even a small shop can do things that Tesco can never hope to do. Its finding these little gaps in Tesco’s abilities and using it to their advantage. For instance not all shoppers go shopping purely on price. If they did then there wouldn’t be any Fortnum and Mason and all shops would be Lidl. Some people appreciate service and that is where local shops can excel. Anyway, Tesco aren’t always the cheapest. Lidl and Aldi and Netto (Asda) are.
Selling cheap products is a good thing for society. It means that those on lower wages can afford some of the stuff that used to be preserve of the rich. Being able to buy food cheaply means that those on low wages can afford to feed themselves and still have money left over for other things and don’t need state (or charity) help to help them out.
Even though I shop at Tesco (other supermarkets do exist) I do also go to the local market and local shops. I go there for the better quality product at reasonable and sometimes cheaper prices. Yes it’s inconvienent because of the lack of parking so I usually walk, but I consider it worthwhile because the quality of the product is so much better than those from supermarkets. Some times I like the quality of some product, at other times I go for cheapness. Your milage may vary in which products you prefer cheap and which for quality.
It’s not the fault of the supermarkets that they have to build their shops out of town. That’s down to planning policy as written by politicians, implemented by civil servants, and imposed by those who have let power go their heads. The council thinks it’s best not to upset all the little shop keepers who don’t want to change with the times and their customers who are fixated on tradition. So the supermarkets build their shops out of town. And all the customers drive away from the all the little shop keepers to the out of town retail parks and do all their shopping there. Result? Local shops lose out.
The lack of parking for local shops is another reason why they fail to compete fairly with the supermarkets. But it’s not the supermarket’s fault. Again it’s the planning policy of the council and the council’s usually excessive car parking charges. Compare car parks in town centres which cost a bomb to car parks at supermarkets and in retail parks where it is free. Where would you rather go. The supermarket would have to be some distance to cost more in fuel than the parking charges.
If the council had allowed the supermarket to build in the town centre in the first place, then customers would still be going to the other shops as well. It helps shops to have competitors around. For example, the Curry Mile in Manchester has dozens of curry houses of all shapes sizes and types and they all do extremely well because there is enough variety to keep everyone happy. Forcing a curry house to set up amongst craft shops doesn’t help the curry house, nor the craft shops.
The supermarkets are responding to customer pressure and are building and using smaller shops more suited to the centre of towns. Here they have used their marketing clout and legal pressure to be able to get planning permission from the councils to do so.
The cheap products made by cheap foreign labour is only cheap when the wages are compared direcly with UK wages. In the foriegn country the cost of living will be different and the workers at least are working and have a good wage with respect to many others of their compratriots. The working conditions might not be the same as ours but then ours does have extreme health and safety rules. And the trade with the foriegn country means that that country is earning money. Some countries don’t have mineral resources to trade with so instead they trade their labour.
Once the country has been providing cheap labour for a while, the living conditions of those working will get better. Then more people will want the work and there will be a demand for more products to be made in the country and with cheap labour many companies will find it attractive. This leads to an increase in wages as the workers realise that their labour is more profitable. And so after some years the standard of living in the country starts to rise to the same level as ours. This has been seen in China already. Ten years ago you would be hard pushed to find Chinese millionaires, now there are plenty. And the ordinary Chinese person will have all the mod cons that most westerners have. Now that China has caught up, it’ll be Africa next where cheap products will be made.