\”I thought: \’That\’s very brave, opening up next to Starbucks,\’\” Bridget Chappell, a full-time mum, said of Harris + Hoole, a new coffee shop in north London next door to a branch of the US behemoth and four doors down from a Costa Coffee.
\”I like to try independent shops, and it was really very nice with great coffee,\” she said. \”But when I got home, I looked it up and discovered it was a chain.\”
Chappell is one of a growing number of Harris + Hoole\’s customers discovering that the new, independent-looking, stripped-back coffee shops popping up on high streets across London and the south-east are part of a chain that is up to 49% owned by Tesco.
\”I avoid Starbucks because it\’s a big chain and it avoids tax,\” said Carol Levine, 50, a Crouch End physiotherapist enjoying her lunch break in Harris + Hoole. \”Now I find this is Tesco … It looks like a small indie. It is disingenuous. It makes me upset. I feel duped. I don\’t go in there [Tesco]. It is taking over the world. If it [Harris + Hoole] had been called Tesco Coffee, I wouldn\’t have come in.\”
Katy Smith, another Harris + Hoole customer, said: \”I don\’t really like Tesco. I don\’t shop in Tesco. Now I\’m in one of them. They\’ll probably be on every high street soon. I would avoid it, like I avoid Starbucks and Costa, which I thought I was doing today – putting money back in the community.\”
Makes you wonder how the human race has managed to exist quite so long really.