‘Eat that!’ yells a vilified Netto

New vast Tescos at Trafford, Manchester

Depressing, moi?

Which? Magazine (my Dad subscribes) has a feature this month called Best and Worst Supermarkets.

Forget what supermarkets do to undermine communities, this survey was purely about what they are like to shop in.

The survey placed the mighty Tesco at the very bottom of the list. ‘Eat that!’ yells a vilified Netto.

The survey looked at pricing, the freshness of fresh produce and the great British afterthought, customer service.

Participants found shopping in Tesco ‘unpleasant’ and that stores tended to have ‘surly staff’.

Quote: Tesco is also considered the supermarket which cares the least about its customers and is least trustworthy.

‘It’s too keen on profits and not keen enough on service,’ one member told Which?.

Only 27% of members felt that Tesco is helping to ease the strain on their food budget. No other store in the Which? survey was as poorly-rated in this respect.

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The Tesco Effect hits Altrincham Hardest

Ghost Town Vancancy Rate

Let’s face it, the battle to save our towns from becoming crap-towns has been fought and lost.

In reality it wasn’t a fair fight. In war/fairness terms it was like pitting the 101st Airborne against Nicholas Parsons.

In his excellent and blood-pressure doubling book Captive State, George Monbiot talks about the Tesco-effect and what it does to towns.

This effect is approximately this: If a Tesco (or any big supermarket) opens a store in your town, employing say 500 people, then within a 5 mile radius roughly 1000 people will lose their jobs and businesses.

Net loss, 500 jobs (usually butchers, pubs, ice-cream men, chemists, milkmen, bookshops and, of course, grocers).

With this in mind, I was not exactly astonished to read that the town of Altrincham topped a recent list of new ghost towns, towns with a high incidence of vacancies – a word planners use to mean boarded up shops.

Now Altrincham was, until recently, considered quite posh. It is still surrounded on all sides by prosperous family neighbourhoods and good schools.

With Dewsbury and Bradford, also high on this ghost town list, there are other factors, like a terminal decline in industry. But Altrincham doesn’t have these broader, historical problems.

So why has the town centre wobbled and waned faster than Eric Pickles doing the three peaks? Well a downward view from google maps sheds light.

Altrincham not only has one of the biggest Tesco stores I’ve ever seen (blue on the map below), but somehow it got permission to build this megashed literally fifty yards from the high street (red).

(Supermarket people always claim they will ‘increase choice’ if they are allowed to build. The term ‘increase choice’ is used by all sorts of idiots, often politicians just before they begin privatising something.)

Altrincham Town Centre

Altrincham Town Centre, what chance did it have?

If you start walking from the other side of the town centre, the place visibly gives up and dies the closer you get to the Tesco Extra.

Wonder if a late counter-offensive from Mary Portas could put things right?

Screw-top wines have no romance – Published 26 Aug 2010

Wines without corks

Most wines available in supermarkets in the UK seem to have screw-caps these days. I don’t know why, it must help the supermarket in some way but I would imagine most people find them cheap-looking and unromantic.

Besides not liking to open a bottle without the familiar pop of a cork, I’ve also long suspected that the dregs of Europe’s wine production are shipped to the UK in bottles with screw caps and passed off as drinkable to a nation with a notoriously indifferent palate.

In France and Italy, even in large supermarkets, you will never see wine with screw-tops.

If you know nothing about wine and want to be an expert in 10 seconds, read this: spend more than £8 and only buy a bottle with a cork in it. Doing this will ensure you bypass 95% of the dross.

And More. It turns out there’s a good ecological reason for supporting the cork…

Put a cork in it: the environmental cost of the screw cap

So that settles it.

The British attitude to wine…

Somehow this seems to say a huge amount, perhaps even everything you need to know about the British.

Wind in plastic cups with a tin foil peel-back lid

What we are seeing here are pre-poured glasses of wine (plastic glasses) with tin foil peel-back lids  (yes, yogurt-pot-style) for sale in Marks & Spencer’s, of all places. Cheers gluggers. (clack!)

Comments

A visitor‘ left this comment on 7 Sep 10
Point taken but it all tastes the same after the first glass. My mate nearly severed his arm off trying to open a bottle of wine without a cork screw. Plus I witnessed my Mum and Aunt hacking away at a cork for half an hour in the same situation. The screw cap gets you quicker to the good stuff. Once you’ve knocked a bit back, romance is definitely in the air! Know what I mean?

How the skies clogged up after the volcano ash – Published 14 May 2010

A visualisation of the northern European airspace returning to normal after being closed due to volcanic ash.

Airspace Rebooted from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

Comments

A visitor‘ left this comment on 5 Dec 10
Wow, great video, looks a bit like snow

Doing better than good, and why that’s never enough for Tesco – Published: 11 Aug 2009

In 1998, the government commissioned a study of the impact of big stores on market towns. It found that when a large supermarket is built on the edge of the centre, other food shops lose between 13 and 50% of their trade.

The result is the closure of some town centre food retailers; increases in vacancy levels; and a general decline in the quality of the environment of the centre.

Towns are hit especially hard where supermarkets “are disproportionately large compared with the size of the centre”.

In these cases the superstore becomes the new town centre, leaving the high street to shrivel.

Read George Monbiot’s article in full
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The Tesco Effect, as witnessed by me, on my local high street…

A Tesco opens

A new Tesco opens on the high street, with its tried and tested formula...

Long established grocers Harts and also Cullens both close down.

…and long established grocers Harts and also Cullens, both of which offered a product range based on local demand, were forced to close down.

Modern Life is Rubbish #23332 – In the future, all shops will…

[ Published: 12 May 2009 ]

Asda. In the future all clothing will work on a buy one get one free basis (already successful with socks)…

But jacket, get trousers free. George at Asda.

But jacket, get trousers free. George at Asda.

And at the news stand in Tesco…  

In the future all magazines will be distilled into one magazine called Jamie.

Jamie Magazine

Jamie Magazine

Each page will have a flavoured picture of Jamie that you can lick.

If you lick it enough, the picture wears away to reveal TV listings showing when the next cookery programme is on.

In the future cookery programmes will be on all the time, meaning the Editor of Jamie can just use the same listings issue after issue, saving time and money. This saved cash will be put to better use buying more page-flavouring.

In the future, after Jamie is dead, licked to death by an obsessive fan presumably, the magazine will fold. That will be the end of the printed word because people won’t read anything that doesn’t have a flavour.

In the future, Asda will produce a suit that has the shirt, tie, socks, pants and shoes all conveniently sewn in. If you buy one you’ll get a second one free. When you get a hole in a sock you’ll just throw it all away or give it to a tramp.

In the future, tramps (many of them redundant Listings Editors) will all wear suits and ties as these will be cheaper than jeans, T-shirts, tracksuits etc.

The reading material they will sleep under will also be their evening meal.