Tuesday, 4 October 2011

In praise of Tesco. Well sort of.

A lot of people love to hate Tesco. I suppose it’s because they are the largest supermarket chain in the UK and those opposed to large supermarket chains of any description and the tactics employed by that sector instantly go for the jugular of the brand leader. It’s a view I don’t necessarily share.

I don’t like capitalism, but unfortunately it is the system we are forced to live under. Of course I could just opt out of the mainstream economic society, but that has always seemed like bloody hard work to me. So, I take the path of least resistance and having metaphorically taken the bullet in the back of the head in room 101. Given that, my supermarket of choice would always be Tesco. They have reached their number one position because they a good at what they do. They offer consistent quality and choice at prices that offer value for money. What’s not to like? In my humble opinion the real villain is the American owned Asda. They claim low prices; and yes you can pick out some of their prices and they will be cheap. But, I’ve never liked the quality of their own-brand products and, whilst no supermarket shopping is enjoyable, shopping in Asda always seems like a very unhappy experience. As a consequence I actually think in terms of the whole shopping experience Tesco beat all others when it comes to my shopping trolley prices. My message is lay off Tesco as its better the devil you know. It’s Asda that people need to be wary of.

Whilst Napoleon was probably right when he described us as a nation of shopkeepers I do think it is a great pity that we don’t manufacture as much as we once did. Manufacturing can be a very positive force in any economy. It creates wealth by genuinely adding value as opposed to some of the service sector that creates dubious ‘smoke and mirrors’ wealth. But I suppose I’m biased as for the vast majority of my working life I’ve worked in manufacturing. So when I saw that Europe’s largest private sector employer was now a British company I was quite taken by surprise. Not something you expect. Of course I naturally thought of some manufacturing based conglomerate. Perhaps I’m too blinkered. It turns out, according to this article, that Europe’s largest private employer is none other than Tesco. I suppose we shouldn't complain about any British economic success story as in these times of need “every little helps”.

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