Thursday, March 22, 2007

Will Tesco Take Over the World?

As long as I have other choices, I will never shift all of my grocery shopping to a supermarket. I love shopping at the open air markets too much, and I like to have small, local grocers all around me.

Even the butcher two doors down is not too offensive. He sells eggs for 99p a dozen, and he's got a lovely butchers' block in his shop that must be generations old. It's hollowed out in the centre from years of chopping and cleaning.

I would be really sad to see the Turkish grocer down the street close. He's less than a block away from me, and it's not only convenience that draws me there. His selection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cheese is the best I've seen, so far, in London and his fresh fruit is better than Tesco, ripe and ready to eat, instead of hard and half formed. He seems to supply half the neighborhood with groceries, beer, etc, on credit, with nothing more than a slip of paper kept in the cash register. He's also been very kind to me. I'm an easy mark. Anyone who shows kindness has a customer for life.

Even though I wouldn't shop there exclusively, I was happy to discover a 24-hour Tesco within walking distance of my home. As grocery chains stand, Tesco is not my favorite, I prefer Sainsburys, but Tesco is close to me. It's cheaper than many stores. It has its place. There are times when it's nice to be able to drop by, straight off the train, late in the evening, when everything else is closed. Some things, like family-sized laundry detergent can't be bought in small shops.

When I got a Tesco club card, I didn't really pay too much attention to the points I accumulated until one of my cousins told me she paid for a weekend in Paris, Eurostar and hotel, with her Tesco points. She has two sons and probably spends thousands of pounds a year feeding them, but it made me think perhaps I should shop there more. I actually have increased my Tesco shopping a little. It would be nice to have a weekend break, paid for by Tesco. But is it really paid for by Tesco? What is the higher price?

I wounder how many people do this? Is Tesco going to do a WalMart and drive all the little businesses out of town, then raise their prices? Are we enabling these big organisations to create monopolies? I'm certainly not going to stop shopping at Tesco, but I'll try to think about my purchases their a little more closely. Am I buying something because I need it, or because it's a good price and it's double points week?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You do know Tesco is coming to the US? Wasn't it started by and American? Or was that Selfridge's? I'm confused, as usual. Anywho...... Tesco kinda sucks, but not as much as Somerfield. Oh, Somerfield, my Somerfield. I love to shop and be followed. It makes me feel safer. I am always tempted to ask my new found shopping companion for recommendations and/or help to the tube with by bags o' stuff.