At the End of the Day

Tesco: a good place for the Resistance to start

A few days back, I posted a piece about Tesco’s openly misleading price policy between small and large pack sizes. Thus far it has attracted 140 comments (a record at The Slog) and had just over 1500 hits. When I posted about Tesco breaking planning laws and mysteriously winning new store site battles against the odds at NotBornYesterday four years ago, that too broke all records. A post about Tesco enjoys a unique feature no other type of blogpost can match: it goes on being visited for months afterwards. For a post to get 8% of the readers commenting is an astonishing result: the average is under 1%.

People feel strongly about Tesco. Big T would have us all believe its cod research that proclaims it ‘One of Britain’s best-loved brands’, but I’ve seen the questionnaire they used – and the results – and as a former market researcher, I can tell you it is cleverly bent beyond belief. For example, ‘I couldn’t do without my local Tesco’ is tabulated as ‘strongly like’ Tesco. Liking or love has nothing to do with it: once every other shop has been put out of business, Tesco is a drug whose dependency grows like smack. I wonder how many smack addicts would prefer not to be hooked on smack?

However, this is no reason on its own to target Tesco as an anti-social nuisance in Britain: because it is monstrously big does not necessarily make it bad. It enables busy professionals to shop quickly and efficiently at all hours, and for the very careful shopper it has some exceptional offers to cut the cost of living. No, the reason I am suggesting Tesco to Sloggers – and anyone else who wants to join in – as a great starting point for concerted action to restore Britain’s values is because I know the company to be cultural and commercial anti-matter on a number of levels. So before suggesting the course of action to take, I’d like to quickly run through these.

1. Tesco and other supermarket multiples played a major role in destroying the profitability of farming and consumable manufacturing in Britain. After the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in 1961, the multiple supermarket sector began a meteoric growth pattern that continues to this day. Once they between them had a clear majority of the grocery market and enormous buying power, they rapidly began to hold to ransom (aka screw) manufacturing and farming suppliers. They developed own-label (using manufactured brand owners’ short-term greed), made suppliers pay for promotions (but took all the credit) and introduced the infamous ‘case discounts’ system – a means of funding their own advertising budgets that was only marginally above the Mafia as a model for doing business. Tesco were leading lights in all this.

2. Tesco thus played the largest role in turning a UK balance of payments surplus in manufactured food products into a massive deficit over 40 years. First, by reducing the manufacturer monies for export marketing; second, by increasingly importing exotic, high-value foodstuffs;  third, by putting indigenous farmers out of business; and finally, by having the largest brand share in grocery retailing and the most aggressive new-store opening programme. While lately, all the multiples have developed the fiction of favouring local produce, this is really rather like Edward VII returning to his wife when he became King, after forty years of bonking every society mistress available: it is a gesture – and not a particularly nice one at that.

3. Tesco has, more than any other supermarket brand, destroyed the local shopping communities of Britain – in precisely the same way as Walmart (now Asda’s owner) has done in the US. They continue to trot out rationales suggesting they don’t do this, but to be frank here, they are an insult to one’s intelligence. I have just completed a personal study of fruit & veg, newsagent, take-away, convenience store, stationery, clothing, hitech, and bookshops in an area that was recently Tescoed local to me here in Devon. It’s only a qualitative sample, but 100% reporting of a significant drop in sales since Tesco’s arrival does not leave much margin for error: Big T decimates local stores, bankrupts retail landlords, discourages small concerns already raped by business rates, and turns small, friendly and manageable communities into tumbleweed junctions inhabited by Third World and Cancer charities.

4. Tesco has allegedly done a great many store-siting deals that involved brown-paper envelopes. The ‘allegedly’ there is of course vital for legal reasons, but I can say that the fecundity of feedback about this topic over the years has led many observers to assert that there is no smoke without fire. Personally, I couldn’t possibly comment. But a close acquaintance of mine has on several occasions remarked that “since the multiples began chucking funny-money around, it’s made it a damn sight more expensive for the rest of us who would prefer a level playing field”. I’m not sure the playing fields of Eton are level, although it would be nice to think so: however, Camerlot’s recent relaxation of the rules on land development tends to militate against such wishful thinking.

Thus we can see that Tesco has worked against good, fresh, British food, diluted the manufacturing base, cost UK plc billions in lost trade, reduced the quality of life in small communities, and contributed to that need for ethical cleansing identified by The Slog recently. So all in all, I think it needs  a damned good thrashing.


On any given day – depending on whether I’m writing about EU fraud or our dogs – The Slog gets around 7-9,000 hits. With additional pinging, emailing and lots of urrl leaving around the newspaper sites of Britain, there is no reason why a shoal of at least 20,000 emails shouldn’t hit the Tesco head office at some time during the first two days of next week. They should say this:


‘We, the concerned citizens of the UK, hereby announce our intention of pointing out every example we find in your stores of dishonestly misleading prices, in particular the heinous practice of deliberately pointing customers at poor-value alternatives between small and large pack sizes.

‘We shall report these instances to local MPs, the DIIS&R, local TSOs, consumer watchdogs, the BBC, and any other medium available until you stop doing it.’

If enough Sloggers are up for this, I will pull every string I can get to get national media coverage of the event. I would also ask any and all Sloggers with similar contacts to help me in this regard.

The event should be coordinated through Twitter – everyone with an account should tweet about it – and also Facebook.

All this will be strengthened as an action if we have a central and memorable brand name for it. The call to action I want to use is:


I’ll look at the comment threads tomorrow, and then make a decision about whether to press the button.

151 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. A mate of mine used to sell wine tom Tesco’s and had limited penetration until he realised he wasn’t selling wine to buyers who knew SFA beyond the colours red and white.

    He went back to his cave and rethought out his proposal, came back with a range of wine for different retail prices with buying prices that refoected the buyer’s required margins, plus a little bit extra.

    He made a fortune.

    Much of his wine was good, because he sourced it well where he knew they made good wine but often he was obliged to include crap to stretch the buyer’s margins, You fill in the rest.


  2. Total support from me. Hope the button gets pressed.

    Then with a power base let’s see where we go. I propose the CO-OP for their Double Speak Bollux:

    Conventionally Grown – reducing, banning and controlling pesticide use.

    Rather than: Grown with the following chemicals x x x x x x

    I take this crap less from the CO-OP because they like to paint themselves so holy.


  3. On a personal level, if you live in France, go to LIDL and Leader Price in September who promote wines released from various cellars to clear space for the new harvest.

    You could set up a UK buyers co-operative and buy / import in bulk at French / Spanish prices and the redistribute to the members. Now that is something positive would be a great way of sticking two fingers up to them.

    The odd bottle of crappish wine would just have to used in the steak and kidney.

    There is always a way to make a turn from monopolies. Just out-think the buggers.


  4. With you on this one John; I’ve already started gathering evidence on their prices (decaff. coffee in eco-friendly, save the whales, recyclable packets …. more expensive than the same stuff in jars etc.).

    But be prepared for some shitty underhand tactics from the creeps at Tesco. Your troll count will go up too!


  5. An alternative title might be, “Every Little Trick”.

    While I loathe their verbless (& mindless) slogan, I’d be happy to see it turned against them.


  6. I’d be up for this and willing to get on their case. I’d be interested to see the impact it would have on them

    I’m already starting boycott. My wife has had an operation and can’t drive down there every other day. This will save a fortune on it’s own.



  7. I’m obviously not going to get anymore bargains at Tesco when everything is dumbed down to help LCD (lowest common denominator) customers.
    Guess I’ll have to mooch around Sainsbury’s or Waitrose now.
    How are us pensioners going to spot these money saving bargains when everything is made so simple? What happened to this “Wonderful Shopping Experience’ we keep hearing about? Shopping is not exactly the most brain stimulating experience, is it? What’s wrong with working out the ‘money saving’ buys?
    Keep it legal – yes. Keep it honest – yes.
    But please – give me a choice to purchase what I consider to be the ‘Best buy’.
    (And no John, I’m a pacifist – no arms dealer.)


  8. John,
    You press the button & we are with you.

    For data comparison etc please see

    Good Luck!!!

    PS: we could start a site for bulk buying like : toiletries, soap, tins, pasta, oil, rice, cleaning etc.
    You never know…. I can see it growing ;-)


  9. Absolutely wrong on this one. Why single out Tesco?
    They do nothing that Asda, Morrisons, et al don’t.
    Where I live Tesco’s the most well organised, has the best trained staff, is efficient and customer.
    You try getting served in a Coop (and I live in the birthplace).
    Yes, sharp and dishonest practices should be campaigned against, not individual participants. Do you imagine Walmart, which dwarfs Tesco, behaves any better? They’ll be offering to sponsor your blog next.
    By all means have a shot at them all but what you propose is unfair.
    I declare that I have no interests in the company. Well, maybe my pension provider may have investments, maybe not, I don’t know. That’s another point, there’re a lot of folks involved with its success. Allow it a level playing field.


  10. More power to your elbow JW, count me in. This could be the start of a significant movement, with not one smashed window or voice raised in anger.


  11. I’m sure I have several of the legal items about misleading prcing and all the appropriate decriptions of the relevent processes


  12. Have a look at Dunhumby who manage the clubcard scheme, we had a fellow from them on my MBA explaining how they track your life and target you with tailored offers. Buy baby food today in 4 yrs you’ll get promo stuff for school uniforms etc. The human lifespan as a marketing dream. Dunhumby was so good Tesco bought them, true.


  13. I went to buy a sandwich from the CoOp a few months ago, thinking their chicken would be ethically sourced, British and at least free range, Wrong! Factory chicken from Thailand!


  14. start considering the logistics and storage locations then

    even more important tax avoidance measures and business expense allowances


  15. So, i goes into Stresco for my weekly shop. On the ‘bargain basement’ shelf a spot a 4 pack of of John West tuna – except that its not a 4 pack its 3, one of the cans is missing. Anayway, for the bargain price of just £3.49 three cans of tuna are mine.
    Lo and behold, when i get to the actual shelves where tuna is stacked i see that a normal 3 pack of above tuna is available for the bargain price of …£3.00. C*nts.


  16. I think Tesco seem to come top of the “doubtful” business practice league in areas outside the actual retailing – the mention of planning approval comes up often


  17. I don’t do twitter or Facebook and I don’t shop at Tesco either, but you are right about all you have said about them being destructive to other competing small guys, local suppliers, town centres and selling so much crap from China.
    Im with you on this John.


  18. It will be interesting to see how the Big Four cope when the toxic effects of QE kick in with hyper-inflation. Farmers will suddenly have the upper hand (see Weimar).
    Alliance Boots could be interesting with all that KKR leverage and the debt markets looking like a scene from the Frozen Planet. I live in hope!


  19. I agree with you with reference to all the big chains, but I live in the wrong country to help with this one. Spiritually I am with you!


  20. Total middle class tosh. Its all very well to harp on about the independent stores that close down when Tesco et al come to town. Good riddance I say. In the absense of any competition they have systematically gouged the customer for years. Where’s your post detailing how much poor people have saved by the supermarkets making food cheaper? (The Beeb today details how food is now in real terms one thirteenth of the cost it was 150 years ago:

    I notice you don’t practise what you preach. You often mention your cheap wine deals from Tesco. Why aren’t you giving an independent wine shop your custom? (and don’t say there isn’t one, in these days of internet shopping etc there will be a independent wine shop somewhere ready to deliver to you, if not right round the corner).

    The simple fact is that if the middle classes who harp on about how AWFUL Tescos are (and how LOVELY Waitrose are by comparison, what a shame we don’t have one close by darling) actually did what they constantly witter on about, namely shop at independent stores, not supermarkets, then small stores would be booming. But they aren’t because people vote with their feet and their wallets.


  21. I have done a copy and paste into an email ready to send. Just tell me when…

    Here are a couple of other tricks to watch out for that re easy to fall for if you are in a hurry or haven’t got your reading glasses with you:
    Restocking special offer shelves with similar items at a non offer price
    Leaving special offer labels up past their end date [ALWAYS check the small print]
    BOGOF displays laid out so you think that it includes items that it doesn’t

    These all regularly happen in my local Tesco. Apparently one of the qualifications for working in there is extreme incompetence [but strangely only when mistakes are made in favour of Tesco…]

    If you have to shop there, always check your receipt.


  22. Good comment Jim.

    Cant understand a lot of the followers on this site. Only a few days ago the talk was of stocking up on spam in order to survive the forthcoming world crisis. I take it that might have been bought out of Tesco. Now its forget the apocalypse, lets sink Tesco. `Life of Brian` springs to mind.

    Anyway I dont think your emails will get through to Tesco, they will probably be classed as spam.


  23. The people at have had a great deal of success in the US. There’s no reason to think we couldn’t get a campaign started on there which would have a similar effect in the UK. If we could target all the supermarkets we stand a chance of getting a lot more people to sign up.


  24. The problem is that the busy, comfortably off, not very value-conscious housewives, sorry shoppers, who are Tesco’s target market do seem to like Tesco. Brashness, warts and all. Convenience, bright lights and good layout and massive free car parks (at the big stores) are everything to quite a slice of the UK population. The rest go to Waitrose at one end or Asda and Lidl at the other. They really don’t have space in their busy lives to consider the slender ethics of Tesco’s sourcing policy, the apparent plight of the UK farmer (poor in income but very wealthy in capital), whether Tesco has cracked the bastions of the UK’s weird planning system by blunt, no-nonsense lawyers or other channels alluded to above, how their bogof tactics operate to the consumer’s disadvantage, the whole strange issue of loyalty points and come-ons like ‘5p off petrol if you spend £x’, whether the price per unit of ground coffee has risen by a sly reduction in the size of the pack or that mysterious space below the base of the yoghurt pack has grown yet again, the inexorable rise in virtually all prices… and the almost total absence of reducing prices, even when perhaps they should.

    Other more pressing things in the lives of the affluent are squeezing out a critical view of supermarkets in the target market. That, of course, is why they are the target market. The top end is too small and the bottom end is tough territory if you want profits. Affluent and uncritical shoppers, driven by convenience, only vaguely concerned with value.


  25. @Jim

    I live in a country where I am blessed not only with a local supermarket, but also a plethora of local shops. Having to travel ten miles to get to my nearest Tesco/Waitrose for supplies that is my abiding memory of living in the Cotswolds. We had one bus a week and narrow lanes that one could not happily cycle on for we had a van for the family business.

    The culture I find here supports the supermarkets – as do I, for I visited an Albert Heijn in Bunnik just this evening as my local Plus shut at 6. I was on my way home from Hilversum in any case, so it was on the way home. Had I travelled by train – as I often do – I would have stopped at any of the railway station shops for provisions. But they do not have free coffee, which is a big attraction to visiting a Dutch supermarket.

    But the culture here also supports all my local shops too – the butcher, baker (you guys should be able to remember them all by now I have written them often enough). We do not have a tailor, a boutique or chocolate shop. For this reason the local council regards this plethora as “insufficient” for a village of 6000 souls.

    I will add that the council are good on their word – we have a fire station, **two** schools (and the secondary school is in Doorn, 2½ miles from here) a railway station and a half hourly bus service with another on the Amersfoortseweg (N227).


  26. Are you now delivering blogs or sermons?
    Looking for followers, not foragers?
    Hit rates going to your head?
    Tesco is just bollocks is it not?
    Are you?


  27. It seems a very English (or American?) thing to centralize things. This goes for shops (think malls) as well as just about anything – including of course, facilities. Schools are a good example: most villages or small towns in the UK no longer have their own school, most have a school in the neighbourhood – which is to say, five miles distant.

    Within five miles of my home we have six primary schools and at least one secondary school. I am not including Driebergen as this is just outside my five mile limit – and a much bigger place that has umpteen schools and colleges.

    Centralization is a modern fact of life: it is efficient and makes things easier to do. It also makes life more pleasant for those who have to work in it – or at least can. The problem with the UK is that there is simply too much of it.

    Supermarkets are but one expression of this, and I support what Mr Ward is doing here, if only to bring back some sense of community. It is as has been mentioned above, not only Tescos, though they do seem to be more brutal than most. Tescos do seem to have bigger shops too – even the big Dutch stores (Amsterdam, Utrecht) are small in UK terms, and our local supermarket is tiny. It still has Lavazza coffee and fresh produce along with bread from the local bakery in Maarsbergen (competing directly with the local baker van den Pol of Maarn) – though it does not have free coffee. You have to go to one of the myriad others that are within striking distance, we have eight within a radius of 5kms – half an hour on your bicycle.


  28. I always check my receipt!

    There isn’t a local Tesco where I live but we do have a CO-OP, a Spar and a B&M Discount store. I shop in all three for the best bargains.

    At the CO-OP, I am always rearranging their labels to where they should be or removing them altogether and placing them upside down at the back of the shelves, when they don’t relate to the items they should. I really do believe that it is the incompetence of the shelf stackers rather than a CO-OP policy to try and diddle the customer!

    If I do happen to buy an item that has a special offer label in front of it and it registers a higher price at the till, I refuse to buy it but they are very good at reimbursing you when you argue a point.

    When something I buy still has the out of date offer label displayed, I always get it at the special offer price. It would be illegal for them to sell the item at the normal price.

    One thing I will not do, is to have one of their ‘loyalty’ cards.


  29. “”””One thing I will not do, is to have one of their ‘loyalty’ cards.””””

    I torched my cards after watching this video a few years back…..
    Ordering Pizza in the Future


  30. Anyone else have a problem with the email address for tesco that JW put up? My email won’t recognise it as a valid email address.


  31. Tesco don’t have a monopoly of any of the bad stuff discussed here – anything it does is replicated by its competitors and vice versa: it is just better, more often, at what it does. Targetting a single, somewhat more successful, practitioner of retail market behaviour is about as futile as trying to pressure Goldman Sachs or Exxon in isolation.


  32. i would truly love to see this subject get some main stream press. to maximise exposure you should box clever. despite its many failings Facebooks winning is in its sheer numbers. although there is no reason to use facebook alone and there are surely many avenues to explore to provide publicity, it could be put to good use as a central information cordinating tool. so i suggest creating an appropriate page for this specific purpose and urging all readers to join the group. do a search of FB and other social media site groups who would have similar views eg. anti tesco supermarket corporate etc. set a deadlinedate&time for the mass email to HO and see if u cant crash their servers. get the email sent to every single tesco email address you can get your hands on. you could ask for people to enlist in searching for these online. of course include the corporate board and staff, shareholders etc. look into recipient email limits of you email provider.


  33. I hope it wouldn’t take up too much time and dilute your talents. If you can handle it, we’ll back you.

    This may sound off tangent, but I hope not. When you talk about the resistance, politically speaking, I have long had my eye on the black swan of Scottish devolution.

    First, let me say I hoped we might get the thin end of a wedge when the AV vote happened. The political elites got the MSM to do a virtual blackout on independent right wingers who (opportunistically, I admit) thought AV, although flawed, would break the grip of LibLabCon and all the power elites they represent.

    For example, UKIP (yes, I know they’re naff too) seized on that position. I had to do my own research on what they thought so absent were they from the MSM coverage of the AV campaign. I don’t believe in AV per se, but I know we need the thin end of a wedge somewhere – and soon.

    That chance to unseat the Unholy Trinity of LibLabCon came and went. But, as I sat cursing the way that vote was gently rigged by the MSM, there came the sound of the Scots cavalry into my head.

    Imagine Cameron getting out of the AV frying pan and into the Scots’ independence fire! Curtains for the stinking lot of them.

    From the depths of my misery, I was catapulted into joy.

    Whatever people think of Alex Salmond, he has broken all three of them: LibLabCon. I don’t say he provides paradise, but he has always mastered the overarching objective here – breaking them. Breaking the iron grip they have on power.

    In Scotland, Labour thought no-one would ever be in outright power, apart from Labour. Wrong.

    If Scottish independence does happen, some dim Tories think that they’ll be in power forever, with Labour never getting in.

    I don’t think that, and neither does David Cameron. I think that Cameron thinks what I think: it would finally pull the wool off people’s eyes in England.

    There is a kind of awareness in England of the awfulness of the Establishment parties. All their memberships are in decline, fewer people are volunteering to go canvassing for them on the doorstep.

    Sadly, though, the MSM remains their trump card. It prevents the alternative. We just get this endless narrative about this ‘choice’ of three shyster organisations.

    Scottish independence, I think, would alter people’s perceptions of what is achievable. It would break the lie of the status quo so neatly held together by the MSM.

    I honestly believe people’s reactions in England would be: ‘What? They don’t have LibLabCon in power next door? So why do we? Where’s our alternative?’

    I have kept away from talking about this on the internet because I didn’t want the Tories to cotton on to this but, as JW rightly calls him, that Etonian streak of piss has thought this one through. He has received legal advice to the effect that only Westminster can say when there should be a referendum in Scotland and he wants it called before Salmond is ready.

    I really hoped Cameron would have had his hands too full and might miss this one. Not a chance!

    We must hope and pray that Salmond was ready for this. I feel like I can talk about it now I know the Tories haven’t missed this trick.

    I should have guessed really, there have been articles in The Spectator and the Mail recently softening up right wing opinion to support Cameron on this. Simon Heffer wrote one on Saturday sobbing crocodile tears about our delicate constitution and suchlike.

    Sorry if this seemed off tangent, but this to me is the big one, and Cameron knows it.

    We are all being taken for a ride with LibLabCon locked into the drivers’ cab, laughing at us that no-one else will ever get near the steering wheel. If Scots independence happens we are all saved from this neverending nightmare, not with paradise but with hope.

    Scots independence would jackknife Cameron, Mili and the Clegglet, and we’d all find the bars to our cage broken and could finally tell all three parties to retire.

    Vive la Resistance!


  34. What happened to ‘let the buyer beware’ ?
    Making people believe that they are getting good value has been going on for years in supermarkets. They put the price per 100g,sheet,tissue kg etc…Everyone should work it out …read the labels etc. It is a marketing ploy that is widely used , even by little local shops. Why waste time worrying about things that we can avoid if we read the labels…much more important to try to prevent the spread of supermarkets and the destruction of local economies.


  35. Use the Co-op. Then you never need to look back. Our local planned Express store attracted a well written anti-T facebook page. It seemed to attract a various countering posts from shills , no doubt account managers at Cheshunt HQ, about how their blind 99 year old mother or suchlike would dearly love to have the store. The council just keeled over and nodded it through. I’ve never bought anthing there but they are behaving themselves as locals are keeping an eye on them. They have a policy of using the public pavement and the truck outside as store floor space – Islington Green for example which makes for an ugly, congested surrounding. Of course the councils are scared stiff of them. Just ween yourself off these bullies.


  36. I could not disagree more. These corporate chains are allergic to bad publicity and besides you got to start somewhere. Much better a targetted attack than a wet slap against supermarkets in general. You can bet the rest will jump quick to avoid similar exposure.


  37. Oh shut up John.
    You’re just a massive paranoid Tescophobic old curmudgeon.
    They’re just doing their natural reasonable and nearly entirely legal capitalistic free market thing.
    You expect them NOT to squeeze their suppliers? – “Oh no – please take another 10% margin – why should we worry – our competitors won’t”
    You expect them NOT to expand aggressively using high powered lawyers and shitloads of PR prats if they can afford it?
    You expect them NOT to use the odd brown envelope (allegedly) if there are enough crooks appointed by stupid local electors as councilors?
    Of course you don’t.
    You are right that people don’t LERVE their local Tesco.
    But the poll is right – they couldn’t do without it.
    Mainly because the previous option was CRAP. Useless local grocers. Butchers that knew nothing about modern needs and weren’t prepared to change. Tesco know their business to the nth degree and that’s what pisses you off.
    My local is a Sainsbury. Believe me mate they are FAR worse.
    Much, much worse. Their OOS is amazing. Their fruit and veg is totally lamentable compared with my mates on Portobello Road market or my ICA supermarket in Sweden or compared with any Morrisons. – they are twice the price and one third the quality. You should be so lucky to have a Tesco. I yearn to have a serious Tesco locally.
    Favourite is Waitrose. But comparatively expensive.
    Instead of moaning about Tesco I suggest you set up a local store and compete. It’s quite possible you know. I have seen a good handful or more of local entrepreneurs who have knocked them sideways as butchers, bakers, fishmongers, vegemongers and so on. All you have to do is work your socks off and have a brilliant product. Works every time.
    Deconstruction great. Essential even.
    Entrepreneurialism, enterprise and creativity far superior.
    And far more rewarding.
    Radical realism. Or vice versa.


  38. Join us in the national daily one legged ass and can kicking exercise
    We’ll do it if no one else will.
    Just what Britain needs to be GREAT again.


  39. Duncan.
    “They’re just doing their natural reasonable and nearly entirely legal capitalistic free market thing.”

    True I suppose. I would question reasonable though. And that statement could be put next to many of the organisations that have caused us all so much strife over recent years. Where I agree with the slog is that small is beautiful whether in government or in business. Once you have a few big players dictating the market it ceases to be free. Sure Tesco etc got where they are by giving people what they want, I use them and I like their produce. But that is not the issue being taken up here is it. To me this is a symptom of what is happening to us in many areas from banking through to energy provision. We are moving from capitalism to corporatism. The rigging of the market by the huge players who can dictate terms due to their finance and due to their connections. I think this needs to be addressed. Maybe tesco is a good place to start. If something can be done here, then maybe elsewhere too.


  40. John. I don’t think you have a clear philosophical, easy to understand, marketable issue here. Don’t do it. Sulk in your cave for a while until you can distill the real problem that has put a bindii in your boot.
    Sorry for the local reference to a wickedly spiked seed in Oz, but we have a worse problem here. 70% of the food market is controlled by just 2 chains, Woolworths and Coles. Woolworths here has no connection to the UK, they just stole the name as the originators failed to register it in far off OZ.
    Those two chains are steadily throttling off other retail competition, and thereby becoming monopoly buyers getting the farmers, importers and processors by the short and curlies. On the other hand, they provide efficient distribution systems, lower costs per item, easy comparative shopping experience, good service and air-conditioning when it is too bloody hot to exist outside.
    Then again, if these two chains ever get into bed together, it will be me who gets screwed.


  41. James, Valid comment, and right on the ball I think.
    I’ve no doubt that Dave has been given that legal advice/opinion, but it won’t wash. The elected government of the Scottish people declared that they will hold a referendum in the latter part of their term, they havent wavered from this, and it is still their intention. Any attempt to rush this on or hijack it by the unionist parties will hit some major problems.( they all seem to be big on referenda now don’t they?)One of the major problems is that they will have to get the local authorities in Scotland to run the referendum using local authority resources. I think it would be a big gamble for Dave to be saying to the Scottish people ” Look here now, enough of this messing about and uncertainty – It’s doing nobody any good, so what we are going to do is ignore your elected governments plan to hold it in the latter part of the session, and we want it to be held in April this year – so just be good sensible chaps now and get along with setting it up for us”
    Aye Right!

    May find this interesting – also if you are interested you can trawl through the archives and pick up information on the Act of Union, which is an internationally recognised Act signed by both England and Scotland, and one which can be rescinded by Either party.

    Sorry for going on a bit there sloggers. Don’t use Tesco, Dont use Facebook or twitter but behind you all the way on this.
    Lets flex the muscles – if it works – good. If it dosen’t – think of something else to do.

    Another day above ground – I’m off to work, have a great Sunday!


  42. That’s interesting, presumably your previous commentators have been broadly supportive on this issue thus making this step possible / attractive for you.

    But as soon as you actually offer to do something practical the Blog is awash with objections.

    Is this the start of the all powerful Tesco backlash so soon? Or is it just an indication of how many people don’t care about the issues as long as they can get cheap food, bu**er the casualties such as farmers, high streets an so on?

    For the avoidance of doubt I also think Big is worse and moderate or small is better, even if it costs a little more and contrary to some here, I don’t remember you saying this was just Tesco, rather they would be the natural focal point as the biggest, as a start.

    Makes sense to me and I for one applaud your stance and your offer, it might make my isolated efforts become hopeful rather than hopeless at last and I will support it.


  43. JW, having slept on this idea and reading the comments, I’ve changed my mind. Yes, most people have an interest in shopping and food, and you may mobilise a few people, but is it the best way to become the most unpopular blogger in Downing St? As we may be facing issues that could see problems with actually getting food on the shelves at all, perhaps your focus should remain on politics, EU, banks, media etc.

    Perhaps you have done enough by raising the issue here and people can take whatever action they see fit.


  44. ‘Tesco: worst Christmas for Decades’ . Maybe enough people have got it already.

    Though I think the planning/rural transport/urban design/processed foods issues are the bigger things in all this, not the marketing tricks once the stores are built.


  45. With you here JW, but we must be careful to attack the SPECIFIC bad points, because clearly a lot of what Tesco does is valued highly by its customers.

    Also, the misleading ‘offer’ pricing is common to many more than Tesco!


  46. Duncan,
    It’s hard not to agree with your comments but imo you’re wrong mate. From a small retailers perspective, I totally admire Tesco. They are a brilliant retailer who, like you say have every right to do what they’re doing under free market conditions. I understand why customers go there. I have also given much thought to how, if I had to retail in the UK, I could take them on. I agree, it can be done with mega hard work, brilliant customer service and brilliant products. It will still be very, very difficult though long term. Should it be that only the very best small guys can take them on and survive?
    But where I think you’re wrong is that they ARE getting too big and too powerful. Tesco sell everything these days not just food. They are expanding into so many sectors like clothing, electrical, party, banking, insurance etc etc. It won’t be long before they’re building homes and supplying power. I can see a day where they’ll only be Tesco and Asda(wallmart) and virtually nobody else. Millions of people who used to work in a diverse retail sector will be unemployed unless you work for one of these two.
    I have heard horrendous tales of abuse, first hand from manufacturers who have or do supply Tesco. They are treated appallingly. These massive companies are trampling all over too many people. I think they just need reigning in a bit. Or a lot.
    However, on a totally hypocritical note, one of the first things I am looking forward to doing when I get back in March – is going to a massive supermarket and buying all the things I’ve missed whilst living here. Spanish wine is okay but I’m longing to clap my eyes on an entire aisle of French!


  47. Bloody hell, how many times does it have to be said?

    Competing shops, including supermarkets, including Tesco, do not “put out of business” anyone; they do not “destroy” anything.

    The CUSTOMERS do that, by perceiving that they want whatever the competition (including supermarkets, including Tesco) provides better, so that it where they take their business.

    You may not like it, I may not like it, but most people clearly do. It’s called revealed preferences. Why do you feel that your (minority) view should prevail?


  48. …. Candide witnesses the execution of an officer by firing squad; and is told that “in this country, it is good to kill, from time to time, an admiral to encourage the others”

    If one of these grubby little beggars is held up between thumb and forefinger, the others will take the hint quickly enough.


  49. Quite so Peter. Just as it is the ‘revealed preference’ of sheep to allow themselves to be herded from the holding pen to the butcher’s premises. Their choice entirely, the silly things…


  50. Primary spot advertising of this sort is common practice and annoying. I’ve taken to the adage of if they are advertising anything significantly more than anything else then the deal is not any good.

    On a similar score is the way an extra merchandising container gets just put in the busyiest of aisles just where it will cause most congestion just to sell “offers”


  51. BTP
    But WHY should we have to outthink and get even with them? They’re a bloody service not the KGB.
    And you’re sex mad. I don’t mind buggering pandas but I draw the line at buggering Tesco buyers.


  52. Throw a person one ball, he’ll catch it: throw him five, he won’t catch any. We can’t take them all on, and we might as well start with the biggest…the others will soon catch on.


  53. Jim
    This wins today’s prize for illogic.
    Of course I shop there – I don’t have a pathological hatred of them – I just want them to behave in an honest manner.
    Waitrose is a mutual trust, Mr Envygreen.If you catch them doing any of this stuff, do let me know. You’ll be a long time looking, chum.


  54. Dermot
    They do it all the time – puts complainants off. Go to Tescopoly or one of the other anti-T sites and get a current one.


  55. coop trade on their ethical status. It is a key USP.

    I dont shop there, but the motor divison is as corupt as any car dealers. My mate works for them and has had a terrible time with a bent regional manager (buying range rovers for himself and family at cost price or less).

    This manager has been bullying, cutting wages, imposing longer hours etc. Everyone hates, but fears him. Top brass do nothing because he is improving the bottom line.

    My mate has been interviewed by a reporter doing a story on the so called ethical coop. We may see something come out one day.


  56. It’s an ‘it depends who you are whether it matters, and Tesco is widely supported by its affluent, busy, focussed on other things target market’. Those well paid metropolitan types really don’t care about all the aesthetic considerations, the ethics of planning-warping, the high prices … they just want convenience. Hence all those little, rather expensive, high street Tesco stores. Convenience rules.


  57. They’re just doing their natural reasonable and nearly entirely legal capitalistic free market thing.

    As have, and are, the Banks!


  58. Look I don’t like Tesco, I don’t shop there (not because of their size, or business methods, mainly because I don’t like the quality of their food, and its chav city in the store close to me). I vote with my feet. I take my money elsewhere. If everyone did likewise they would go bust. But they don’t. They exist in a highly competitive market with plenty of alternatives for people, if they so chose. So their success is based on millions of individuals all voluntarily parting with their money. Basically if you criticise Tesco (or any supermarket) you are actually criticising the choices of the individual customers who shop there. Its middle class angst about the choices of the working classes, dressed up as an ethical crusade.

    If you don’t like Tesco’s business practices then you shouldn’t shop there. Put your money where your mouth is, and buy more expensive wine & food elsewhere. Just don’t buy their cheap stuff, but then complain how terrible they are at the same time. Its hypocritical.


  59. John, you obviously ave a bee in your bonnet about Tesco. Do you ot shop at Boots and see their special offers along the same lines? I have experienced them more than once and when complaining at check out found I had a security guard at my shoulder, Their special offers on spectacles are also misleading. Hence I have given up shopping there.
    The only thing that matters is money. Money Talks, which means shoppers should use their buying power to avoid such shops.
    By the way you never mention th biggest shop chain in Europe, Carrefour, which must have an impact in France. Why no comments on them others?


  60. @James
    I think we have to wake up to the fact this Independence malarky is another smokescreen to give the UK populace false hope! We are all going to end up as paupers both sides of the border, thats the way the control system has it scripted.
    Salmond and co have written a Scottish Constitution. Very good, but shouldn’t it have been written by the people for the people and not by controlled politicians!


  61. OT…but an excellent articlew from Liam Halligan in the Telegraph explaining why UK gilt yields are so low…and confirming what’s really happened to the QE dosh Merv the Swerve has been printing…

    “During 2009 and 2010, the Government issued a massive £475bn in gilts. That’s equivalent to more than a third of the UK’s annual GDP. No less than £241bn of those IOUs – more than half – have been sucked up by the Bank of England. In other words, the demand for UK gilts has been strong, pushing yields down, because the majority of them have ultimately been bought by our central bank…”

    Recommended reading.


  62. In our part of Upper Normandy, we live in a commune of 1800-2000 people. In oue Grande Rue we have 2 bakers, a chocolate shop, 2 butchers, 1 Charcuterie, a Post Office, a Savings bank, a school, a dentist and a doctors surgery. We have 2 hairdressers, a Renault garage and 2 restuarants. Oh and I amost forgot a Carrefour supermarket. The next Commune which is less than 3 Kms away has a similar array of shops, a larger Carrefour and a weekly market. They all seem to be able to coexist.

    We have a pretty dire economic situation locally with businesses going bust and high levels of unemployment but the main impact seems to be on places such as clothes shops and restuarants . The supermarkets have major promotions on such things as genuine 2 for 1 sales and suggestions as to how to shop cook cheaply for a family. We have a Lidl around 7 kms away and it is very heavily patronised, particularly for bulk items, including wine (Would you believe a very drinkable Burgundy at 1.79€ per bottle!) It is our perception that the French are far more price conscious than the British. It is also our experience, based on buying in German supermarkets, that pricesin Bavaria are maybe 10-15% lower than Normandy and that the Geemans are even more price sensitive than the French (Where do Lidl and Aldi come from?). Is this part of the problem. Do the Brits value their time more than their costs? Is this why very little effort seems to be put in to looking at prices and why so much processed food is sold? Why one stop shopping is so much in demand?

    We do shop in the UK from time to time on visits to family and tend to use Morrisons as our preferred shop. We find Waitrose expensive and not very good and do not like Tescos or Asda at all. Fresh food in these latter two shops is both expensive and of poor quality and we find the endless aisles of sweets, crisps and processed food very depressing.

    We have lived in France of over 6 years and we do see signs of things changing to a more UK style of supermarket but, hopefully, the French love of their own produce and freshly cooked food will prevail a little longer.


  63. I don’t know about John’s bee in his bonnet…but I certainly agree that virtually every supermarket – and Boots – and many other smaller shops – make offers which are often far less of a bargain than they seem at first sight. Even the chain shops selling TVs and the like don’t tell you that the shiny new TV on offer is because it’s been replaced by a newer model and they’ve bought up an end-of-line batch at knock-down prices, hence their discount price. IME Tesco is little worse than most other shops at this consumer deceit, although I stopped shopping there five years ago for various related reasons.


  64. Supposing NHS management, administration and everything else that did not require a specific higher medical qualification was contracted out to one of our main supermarket chains.

    Would there be a major improvement or not? I believe that most of the producer-led issues that drag the NHS down would disappear within a few months – though I admit some new issues may then appear,

    For example, if the NHS was run by Tesco, would my wife have gone unfed for a few days when she was in hospital because she wasn’t born with the knowledge that she had to climb out of bed, leave the ward unaccompanied and find the unlabelled enclosed metal trolley that some orderly would dump in the corridor for an hour – while the illiterate foreign nurses chit-chatted all day long at the nurses’ station?

    For this reason, I don’t feel I want to support you on this one, John. You don’t improve society by hacking down the most efficient because you’re a bit squeamish about a bit of collateral damage they might have caused on the side.


  65. @JW@Ronnie
    “a great starting point for concerted action to restore Britain’s values”
    “illiterate foreign nurses”
    John I heartily commend you for your efforts to restore Britain’s values. I also understand that you do not like Tesco. However your crusade against Tesco will achieve little. Accept Tesco as a fact of life and use your prodigious talent to restore values by initiating a crusade against the biggest problem in Britain today – immigration. You will have my support and I predict that of almost all other sloggers.


  66. John, sometimes you do good investigation, sometime good analysis and sometimes you rant. This is a rant which will devalue your brand. Shame.
    What Tesco does in this area is wrong but so does everyone else, Tesco just happen to be better at it. If you want to make a much needed difference here then address all the chains and all their behaviours. Get a campaign going for proper unit pricing comparison and display. Once properly informed in big print it’s caveat emptor.


  67. Rag trader
    I have a bloody hive of hornets in my bonnet, and I’m proud of it. I choose Tesco as the worst of a bad lot.


  68. ‘a bit squeamish about a bit of collateral damage they might have caused on the side’.
    Give me strength.
    Read the original post again.


  69. That’s another no then. “There’s no point in stopping it because nobody can stop it”.
    Your dad wasn’t Lord Halifax was he?


  70. I agree with you Peter Macfarlane, I don´t think JW has thought this through. What´s being suggested here is just another example of the “Nanny State”. “People are too dumb to work this out themselves, so we have to do it for them”. Super Markets are only another system of mass production, a system that has produced cheaper cars, T.V.s, computers and thousands of other goods and in this case food which in real terms is cheaper, better and safer than ever before. It´s true that Super Markets squeeze suppliers and they are able to do so due to the “Free Market” system we operate under, but that´s a story for another day and far more worthy of attention than an attack on Tesco. John, as a former Add Man, you must have your tongue in your cheek.


  71. Thanks for the tip re avaaz John, they contact me on a regular basis too.
    btw what’s a Drain alert? Pardon my ignorance.
    A thought just occurred during my lunch break. Do these supermarkets still have “loss leaders”?
    If so it would be a nice positive action to identify which ones were on in which stores (local knowledge) then people in that locality could act, go in and buy only the loss leader item – using cash of course – and ignoring all the other factors set up by the psycs to get us to fill the trolly with other goods. Only time I was near Tesco was when they had a buy 1 get 2 free on a 4 pack of tinned tomatoes. Worked out at 29p a tin!
    Asda currently 50p a tin and Lidl 33p a tin.


  72. Last clarification from my drain. I dont think the emerging global oligopoly of information management will be much affected by localised outrage in the longer term, because the profit connections are too strong and it is quite easy to use the IT. Amazon will probably use its new BBC viewing knowledge for hardware retail, Tesco’s baked bean data informed aisle management decisions that indirectly contributed to easing Best Buy out of the UK (though Dixons would claim more credit), and so on. And as house builders and the major supermarkets can jointly create the relevant isochrones, their strategic lobbying interests in the national planning framework will continue to overlap regardless of any localised dirty tricks and land bank surpluses.


  73. Thanks Robin, I read that a coupla days ago. The levels of debt are certainly horrifying – the debt distribution chart is staggering. One has to assume that debt deflation is an unavoidable course of action for banks and households before the UK economy even begins to recover. I guess that’s a few years away(!) Unknown risks along the way…


  74. accepting that maximum shareholder returns are the raison d’etre of all capitalist corporations, what do we expect? Social good?

    Every £ we spend is a vote on which priorities we want to support from our capitalist system. So, do we spend our ca$h as Tesco Corp and vote for them to continue to devalue community resiliance, vote to continue in the building of Clonetown uk, or do we invest our hard earned elsewhere?

    Grow more of your own food where possible, use local farmers’ markets where affordable, food co-ops when present and boycott the likes of Tesco whenever you can? I have been following this course of action for the last three years and urge others to do the same. does it amount to anything like a worthwhile protest? probably not…

    but then, for the last 15 years i’ve been boycotting shell and esso over the brent spar incident. fluffy and silly? maybe, but they’re not getting more of my energy (in terms of the power which each £ gives them), so regardless of whether i’m making a difference, i’m still taking a stand in my own small way.

    and now, thanks to changes in financial rule, i’m planning to switch banking to my local credit union too, after opening accounts for my progeny with triodos some time back.

    If we don’t take these steps, how will things ever change – when the elite finally shown to have buggered the entirety of human endeavour?


  75. It is a draft constitution and was written by a group of legal beagles, some members of the SNP and some not.

    It is not an official constitution but is there as a starting point when needed. I would hazard a guess that referenda would certainly be needed and used to form many of Scotland’s basic political building blocks.

    Yes more than 1 referendum will be needed,

    Something that the unholy trinity of the unionist parties seem not to trust the voters with.


  76. and going back to economics a-level, it was once thought that in “perect competition” there should be no barrier to entry to a market.

    try setting up in competiton with the likes of Tesco and see how true that is – or try (even) to use local planning policy to prevent them buying up what they want and building where they want. Their power is disproportionate to the ability of local authorities to protect local economies, local shop-keepers, local unique character.

    And to think, the trading name Tesco (TES cohen) was originally forged to divert consumer suspicions about the quality of tea traded…


  77. When I posted my support for JW’s proposed action earlier today I said it was interesting how many ‘nay sayers’ there were and wondered whether they were a Tesco ‘bite back’ or people more interested in low prices than anything else.

    It’s only my own straw poll but I recognize many of the contributors labels here and on that basis it looks like more of the ‘low price above all else’ brigade than the Tesco other. I’d like to be proved wrong by JW’s analysis of hits etc.

    If I am right, I don’t know what JW expected but it has certainly surprised me.

    It appears that people who put short term self interest before anything else outnumber those who would like to see a more ethical and mutual approach.

    Not much hope for change ahead then, so more of the same until it collapses?


  78. “A London double decker bus has crashed into the entrance of a busy supermarket in south-west London.

    Police were called to reports of a number 28 bus having crashed into a Sainsbury’s supermarket on Garratt Lane, in Wandsworth, at 10:45 GMT”.

    John does the Data Protection Act prevent you from telling us whether the driver has signed up to your putative campaign?


  79. I for one suggest that it is not only Tesco that do this but all the stores where they can unless there is a product in only one container size


  80. It’s oft about as you post elsewher ~ RESPOSIBILITY from those who are supposed (AND PAID OVER THE ODDS often) to keep such matters in check

    Perhaps these entities ought to be the focus of the campaign


  81. John, he wasn’t. And that’s not what I said. What I suggested was that you focus your talents on a campaign for mandatory, useful, large print comparisons. That approach addresses all the issues in all the stores I’m up for that.
    And what’s with this blur in the box and the replies coming out bold?


  82. @Richard G

    I’ve obviously got completely the wrong end of the stick here. I thought the whole point about this ‘campaign’ was to target the biggest entity for it’s bullying and corrupt ways. Not to suggest by doing so that they were the only offneders. Then if successful to move on to the next, sort of guerilla tactics.

    If I am right and I was JW (and I am not, I don’t begin to measure up) I’d be wondering why I bothered.


  83. When the Sainsburys outside Chichester burnt down in 1994, the company replaced it with a new store, double the size,without any planning consent.Local authorities are financially powerless to face up to the whims of well funded public companies.


  84. “Local authorities are financially powerless to face up to the whims of well funded public companies.”

    As are the general public if they rely on going through the normal ‘systems’ to fight back. Thus my support for JW’s sugestion.


  85. OK – just got it – Drain alert – Something stinks?
    Anyway – Skies safe for another day – I’m heading home to the bosom of my family, and my wifes bosom too.


  86. Count me in.

    Perhaps your talented readers can come up with a suitable banner and/or sidebar gadgets, to provide more clicking opportunities. I’d be happy to host such banners – on a permanent basis.

    My readership is miniscule compared to yours, but “every little helps” equally applies to us.


  87. @GP

    ” I’m heading home to the bosom of my family, and my wifes bosom too.”

    Too much information Gerry, you’re not picking up where ‘Bu**er The Panda’ leaves off are you?


  88. @Richard G

    “Perhaps these entities ought to be the focus of the campaign”

    I’m not targeting your comments Richard but you said it so I’ll respond to it. The people you are describing are the Regulators and Governmental Administrators. These people have their own agenda and in any case are effectively untouchable, without exception.

    It is the body corporate that puts pressure on the Regulators, not the other way around. Thus the body corporate should be the target.


  89. @Nick: The Tesco Lotus stores I’ve seen in Thailand (mostly in Phuket) never seem to have many customers in them. Perhaps the Thai people are boycotting them big time. Dunno but I hope so.
    And Tesco is not the only multinational retailer that has taken over Thailand in recent years…MacDonalds, Haagen Dazs, 7-11 and many others all have countless outlets there. The first Subway outlet I ever saw was along Patong Beach.


  90. John,
    your battle against Tesco was my battle in 2008. I’m still game.

    Here’s the letters I wrote to my local paper back then. I’d like to think that I had a small part in the forcing down of Tescopoly’s fuel prices. Today, Tesco are still dearer, but by only 0.2 pence per litre.

    Margaret Mead taught me….””Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
    Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008
    Even our beloved leader Gordon Brown is questioning why fuel prices haven’t dropped in line with the fall in oil prices.
    Well, here’s something to help speed that long-overdue price-drop…..

    If you are heading to Tesco at xxxxxx….keep going until you arrive at Asda. This morning, Asda was selling unleaded at 99.9 per litre while Tesco was selling at 102.9 per litre (no surprise there, as Tesco is always the first to raise prices and always the last to lower them). By going a few hundred yards further, you will save the equivalent of 13 pence per gallon.

    And if enough people do it, grasping Tesco will have to follow suit. They’ll never actually take the lead in cutting prices, but at least they’ll have to match other sellers.

    Kind regards….
    Mon Oct 20, 2008
    Well, folks……….no doubt you will be delighted to know that “market pressure” has forced grasping Tesco at xxxxxx to drop its prices into line with several other forecourts.

    As expected, Tesco didn’t actually compete with any of the other garages, it merely reduced its price to match the others. If you want to really put the squeeze on this reluctant pricecutter, why not avoid Tesco petrol station altogether (and tell your friends) until they actually start to compete with other forecourts? You will be surprised at just how effective this can be……

    Posted Thu Dec 17, 2009

    Here’s a copy of my message which was posted here a few months ago:-
    Well, folks……….no doubt you will be delighted to know that “market pressure” has forced grasping Tesco at Middlebrook to drop its prices into line with several other forecourts.

    As expected, Tesco didn’t actually compete with any of the other garages, it merely reduced its price to match the others. If you want to really put the squeeze on this reluctant pricecutter, why not avoid Tesco petrol station altogether (and tell your friends) until they actually start to compete with other forecourts? You will be surprised at just how effective this can be……

    Well, maybe it’s time for another swipe at greedy grasping Tesco at Middlebrook.

    Fuel prices have fallen again recently and this week Asda and Morrisons announced that they would pass on the benefits to their customers. And once again, Ol’ Scrooge Tesco reluctantly announced that it would “match the other two”.
    Note that Tesco never, ever, take the lead in price-cutting….it’s always in response to someone else’s action. But of course, Tesco can’t even bring itself to actually MATCH Asda and Morrisons, (never mind undercut them)…..the Scrooge of xxxxxxxx is 1p dearer than the others. So the message is the same as it was a few months ago…..why not avoid Tesco petrol station altogether (and tell your friends) until they actually start to compete with other forecourts? You will be surprised at just how effective this can be……
    I found this website to be a great help.


  91. “As expected, Tesco didn’t actually compete with any of the other garages, it merely reduced its price to match the others. ”

    And that is the point that so many posting here seem unable to comprehend. Tesco’s objective is market domination, they have the clout to undercut any local competition until they go out of business. They have to do it with a degree of restraint or risk a backlash such as your action and now JW’s highlight. But once achieved they can do what they like with prices. Will they still have the support of those ‘naysayers’ on here?


  92. To quote your original post, “I know the company to be cultural and commercial anti-matter on a number of levels.” You then go on to give a few examples of Tesco’s less than ethical behaviour.

    Presumably, the naysayers prefer their corporations to be predatory rather than ethical.

    Frankly, it seems that much of the UK population consists of spineless automatons with behavior patterns entrained for the enrichment of Tesco and the like.

    You can take that as a yes. Count me in.


  93. While I’m no fan of Tesco, I don’t think they (or the other big supermarket chains) are solely to blame for the demise of the high street. whenever they set up camp. I own two retail shops – one in Surrey (Shop A) and another newly opened one in the west country (Shop B). We have what I would call medium-sized supermarkets in both towns (a rather decrepit Sainsburys in Town A and a near-new Tesco in Town B). The contrast between the two towns couldn’t be more different. Town A – despite having three times the population of Town B and despite the fact that it is home to the offices of several large companies that probably attract a couple of thousand commuters into the town each day has a very poor selection of independent retailers in the Town centre – six or seven hair dressers, seven charity shops and a about a half-dozen coffee/sandwich shops/cafes (I can’t particularly the latter as there is a ready clientele in the office workers who come to the town each day). There are several empty shops.

    Town B has not a single empty shop. The town has a full range of shops including clothing shops, home decor/furniture shops. Most of them appear to be doing well. I’m sure the Tesco has had an impact

    There is no reason why Town A couldn’t have a thriving High Street in the mold of Town B. There are a few quality retailers in Town A including a very good Butchers. It has a relatively affluent population and also sees a couple of thousand people commute into the town each day.

    From my observations, the difference between the two towns comes down to factors other than the presence of large supermarkets. Chief amongst them is the provision of on-street parking (Town A has a semi-pedestrianized high street with limited parking available, Town B has a lot of parking throughout the town centre). Rents and by extension business rates are another factor (Town A’s are higher). The last important factor is the quality of the local Chamber of Commerce. Town A’s Chamber is useless, and most local businesses, can’t be bothered to join. What fairs/events it puts on suffer from lack of proper organisation. Town B’s Chamber is very active and works hard to promote the interests of its members. It works with other community groups and also works with local councillors. It works hard to make sure it’s events are a success (it had about a 1000 people out to the lighting of the Christmas Lights).

    Interestingly, it appears that rather than fighting the arrival of a large supermarket, Town B worked with Tesco and set parameters as regards location, and provision of parking.

    I’m in favour of holding Tesco to account for its shenanigans, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. There are other things that bear investigating (I’d like to find out what role Tesco and other supermarket chains, play in the war against town-centre on-street parking which so severely impacts independent retailers), and other culprits who also must be persuaded to mend their ways (local councils are equally to blame in my opinion.


  94. Thankyou David.

    there seems to be something about the local communities in Europe that still like shopping in local shops. I do for one thing! I think you are doing better than my village in any case – but I simply cannot complain as there is sufficient within striking distance of my bicycle. It is a luxury I am willing to pay for!!

    I agree about Asda and Tesco – I dislike both of them. Waitrose is nice but expensive and in any case haven’t entered one in five years, so can’t really speak on the matter. Aldi and Lidl are both popular here, as you can imagine, our nearest is in Driebergen (9kms) I make do with my local shops: I like my euros to flow around my village.


  95. The issue of predatory pricing is becoming an ever bigger problem in Britain, as it is in America. The example you give of Tesco and fuel prices is a good one.

    Whatever big corporate bosses say about welcoming competition (Sir Ian Vallance said it when he ran BT) it remains the case that most big corps seek to dominate and control the market they operate in. IOW they are corporate fascists. Once achieved, they can control product development (both its speed and its direction) and finally, prices. Several corporate fascists that come to my mind: Microsoft, BT and of course one must not ignore the BBC. Both of the former charge overly high prices for their products/services and customers have little or no choice but to pay up. As we know the latter controls the news agenda.

    Government needs to look carefully at what’s going on in Britain and seriously strengthen our anti-trust laws, or be accused of being in cahoots with big money.


  96. Is this the same level playing field whereby the big four were actually caught out acting as a cartel to artificially inflate the prices of various ‘essential’ items ? In the majority of cases cartelling is probably not discovered though I would guess – widely practiced looking at the lack of price competition over most ‘regular buys’.


  97. One has to wonder if….

    A) Cameron is so keen on this referendum why he thinks the English (and Welsh etc.) should not get a say in Scotland leaving the Union ?
    B) Why he thinks that Scotland should be given the option to break its links with England (etc.) when he say he believes in the union – yet he believes in the EU and will not give the people a referendum (ever – under any circumstances).

    Cameron is just playing the hippocrite because he thinks it will give him an edge back into the big chair. He has no values other than the inward looking careerist pratt, anyone who watches what he does instead of listening to his waffle knows him to be.


  98. I have read your blog. I agree with what you say about misleading shoppers on price. Today I was mislead on Grants Whiskey being only £12. Have rung the store on reading my receipt and this price was only on a three quarter bottle of the above whiskey but conveniently sited/positioned next to the large litre bottle which is £20.19. Do not be mislead others. I have found this to be the case around the wine discounts too.


  99. John,

    In terms of co-ordinating a reply, have you thought about using services like and (my preferred) ?

    These can help you deliver a more impactful blow by getting lots of emails to arrive at one time (within the limits that any email can be controlled in delivery time) or perhaps more usefully at regular times over say 2 days.

    Just a thought.


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