Yesterday, I was alerted by Dr Sean Gabb to the staff directive by Sainsbury’s, that Moslem checkout staff who objected to scanning alcohol products would be absolved of this duty. Dr Gabb has duly fired off a letter to Sir Philip Hampton, to which he will receive at best a non-informative reply. I bet you all 1p each this will be the case. The Daily Telegraph will have it in its archives, but unfortunately I can’t help you as to the date as Mrs Blogger used it to line the bins (which were emptied by the Soviet in the meantime.)
But it’s not what this is about. We have another report that Waitrose, the smallest and most expensive of the “big” supermarket chains in the UK, is “calling on the competition commission” to take steps to hobble Tesco in its consequential success in the UK grocery markets.
I say consequential, for it is consequential not on a desire to demolish competitors, but merely to apply a good and economical Business Model to the objective of serving customers with more of what they want at prices they are willing to pay. Apparently Tesco’s “Land Bank”, which I assume to be Tesco’s property and not that of either Waitrose or the State, is “bigger that “Waitrose’s trading space”, and “they can’t need all that”……..I ask you! What is to become of us in a climate of opinion when intelligent and presumably highly-paid and well-educated Officers of a well-regarded company like Waitrose, start saying things like this – in public?
Waitrose has chosen to follow a different model. That’s OK. That is the choice of their managers, and it will be subject to ultimate approval – or not – at general meetings of their owners. That is to say; Shareholders (or partners (who are frequently employees) since they are something to do with that untypical organisation John Lewis plc.)
Let me give you an example from the North, an area I know well as we live here. When Morrisons bought Safeway (for too much money as it turned out) they moved into the old but fairly nice Safeway hyper in Southport from their old crappy site on a poor street in the town, which has now been “pedestrianised” (that tells you all you need to know!) Then, Morrisons made a bad decision! They turned the (now their very own) Safeway in Formby, a nearby coastal and genteel large-village in which very very very many footballers’-wives live (I tell you, really, they do!) into a MORRISONS! Imagine the consternation at all the shee-shee barbecues in the place! “We CAN’T shop at Morrisons! We can’t even send the servants, for someone will recognize the car(s). Nobody will ever come to our houses again…we can’t even throw away the BAGS, as EVERYONE WILL KNOW…..”
Oh dear. Ummmmmmmmmmm……..Bad error.
So, it was corrected. “Morrisons Formby”, gasping for cash and air, was sold to WAITROSE. Smiles all round at the barbecues, since Waitrose is reassuringly empty and expensive. The riff-raff from all the 60s/70s boxy little houses round REDGATE will be kept out! And no chavs coming up from Crosby either…. or from Woodvale, those odd Lancashire folks from three miles up t’-road, who live in, er, boxy houses, near an “air base”.
Meanwhile, the origial Morrisons in a crap part of Southport remains empty. (IDEA – if “farmers’ markets” are so great, why has not someone done it to it? There is a 600-space car park on two floors right above it. It rains up here a lot, and the place is fully under cover.) Its emptiness doesn’t matter to real people who are overtaxed and poor, for there is a grand and large TESCO, about one mile away, where the staff smile at you even if you are a bit scally right now today, and ask if they can help, and where YOU CAN PARK FOR FREE for two hours. Even Sir Terry Leahy can’t imagine his customers wanting to spend longer than that in his shops…..
But what in heaven’s name is going on, when a small expensive supermarket with a defined market niche with which it ought to be happy and grateful (and into which its competitors do not want to tread or else they would have done, for they are not cretins, not on that salary) tries to grass up a big cheap one to the guvmint?
All I can say is “Atlas Shrugged“. If, in what is still in practice a slightly-free market for groceries and light consumer goods, the broad mass of consumers REALLY WANTED to “end their obsession with cheap food” – as the sad, mad, tormented Prince Charles calls it, then Tesco with its existing business model would be perceived as “cheap”, “mass food”, junk etc and the like, and would fail. Waitrose, with its sausages for £3.99 for eight, woud succeed and would have “40% of the UK Grocery Market” or whatever it is Tesco has – and Tesco would be vulnerable to a JLP bid! or one by Sir Philip Green, it does not really matter, the outcome would be the same.
Poor old Charles Windsor. He’s finally, at last, legally got the woman he has always loved (I believe he did nd does love her too; I am sadly old enough to have watched it all unfolding tragically, and to have seen Spitfires flying in RAF Service, before that.) Why does he have to meddle in the tactical day-to-day affairs of the mass of his poor subjects? Their food, and their diet, for Christ’s sake? Ok OK OK, Poundbury’s nice, yes, but England has thousands of these villages, real ones not pretend ones; just ruined by socialism, their post offices and schools closed by State-fiat, their farms burned to the ground by state-DEFRA-clearers with guns and terror-Police, and which could be restored much more cheaply by returning to a smaller State, which ought to do little or nothing at all about literally anything.
The spread of “out-of-town” supermarkets is an inevitable result of State interference in all aspects of the lives of individuals, and the social and economic patterns that they stupidly want to apply to their ghastly little lives – as the metro-mediarati see them. But without GOSPLAN and a fully-effective Terror-Police presence, all Tesco will do, it being nominally if not practically free, is respond – better with success, and less well with failure – to the wishes of its customers as expressed through what passes for the free Market.