The wake-up call was on the 26th June 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic and walking in to Tesco’s to be greeted at the entrance to a basket of facemasks priced at £6.50, This was a price that clearly had a good profit margin for Tesco and so I was left to feel uneasy given what we were all going through. Tesco (and other supermarkets) is one of only a fraction of sectors to thrive during the global pandemic and the resulting lockdown, yet here they were selling an item, that they wouldn’t ordinarily have done and sold at a price to make even more money, the true definition of opportunism! To make matters worse, they were selling to families who would purchase them not to protect themselves but to protect others, including Tesco’s own staff – This highlights the ruthlessness of our supermarkets and if they are willing to do that, what else have they been up to?!
‘Opportunism – the practice of taking advantage of circumstances with little regard for principles or with what the consequences are for others’ (highlighted as a dictionary extract)
Make no mistake, our supermarkets are equally aggressive. What Amazon has done to our book stores and countless other industries, Supermarkets have done before them. Bakers, fishmongers, green grocers, butchers, book shops, stationers, clothes shops, have all at the very least been considerably affected and in many cases, have gone forever. Family businesses who have survived generations, families whose livelihoods were at the heart of family life, good people, who made a good honest living and who brought something considerable to our high streets have all mostly gone.
We acknowledge demands and we acknowledge our lives have changed. Supermarkets have capitalised on this change by giving us convenience, we can now park free of charge, with ease and then go on to do our weekly shop without any need to go anywhere else, we even fill up our car with petrol on the way out. It’s convenient and it’s simple. They do the price matching for us and offer us the reassurance of a price guarantee, they ensure that we ‘save money, live well’ and they ensure we ‘live well, for less’ and of course, they make sure ‘every little helps’. This is their way of subconsciously manipulating us to believe we have made a wise decision without any need to question..
A lot of people condemn Amazon and online shopping and go on to show their frustration at the demise of our high street and how the internet has destroyed it and then they jump into their car and do their shopping in a supermarket!
Make no mistake, our high street started its decline long before the birth of the internet, the fundamental reason for the demise of our highstreets is the supermarket.
It is unfortunate that supermarkets have starved our highstreets as they have, but the reality is that this is probably more about evolution than greed. Our society has created a demand (for convenience), supermarkets have simply supplied.
Despite our acknowledgment, supermarkets and the ruthless way in which they have stripped our highstreets means that we feel it not appropriate to offer any of the products or services they offer. Instead we would ask that if any of you have the time, shop local, find your local butcher, green grocer, fishmonger and once a week take a trip out, say hi and shop with these wonderful people.