16 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Sitting in this bastion of the stockbroker belt, positively churning with the upper middle classes, I’m struggling to understand what this bloke’s blathering on about. There’s not a single greengrocer in the entire town. Nor much else apart from estate agents, charity shops and …supermarkets.

  2. From the Grauniad piece;

    “increasingly, consumers use a home delivery service for the bulk of their haul, and smaller, local shops for the rest.
    The last explanation is pleasing to my ears,”

    Now the crucial part here is what people mean when they say ‘local shops’. It’s one of those lovely phrases thats meant to make us feel all warm and lovely inside.

    ‘Local shops’ conjurs up images of a fat, jolly red-faced butcher wearing one of those old-timey striped apron thingies, packing up sausages for the Widow Migginsbottom, and waving a cheery good morning to the Reverend Crumpet – all this whilst the hovis theme plays in the background.

    Local shops in reality are far, far,far more likely to be some grotty little overlit dump, selling warm fosters and sandwiches of dubious origin manned by a goblin who barely makes eye contact whilst he hoovers away your cash.

    It’s this deeply conservative view which irritates me when our Betters start lecturing us proles about where we shop. I, for one, don’t give a fuck about knowing the name of the person serving me.

  3. ‘But we also know we spend less online, buying only what we need, choosing necessities with a ruthlessness that often abandoned us in-store.’

    Fuck me ragged, I thought buying stuff we don’t need was evil, consumerist and wasteful?

    Is there a coding book somewhere so I can get a handle on these idiots and what they actually mean?

  4. That’s odd as in the past couple of years out here in the sticks we’ve had a new Aldi, Waitrose and two Morrisons in Swindon, an Aldi in Cirencester, a Waitrose in Malmesbury, a Tesco in Faringdon and a Tesco in Marlborough.

    I don’t think you can really compare North London with most places as you have different demographics. Lots more single people and couples rather than families.

  5. Twit doesn’t understand that home deliveries are an expansion of consumer choice. When supermarkets began they carried a much wider range than the local grocers and butchers and kept up with changing tastes as more people travelled abroad or watched food programmes on television. Amazon is my choice for books , music and rare comestibles like Mexican chillies. I would rather see fresh produce before deciding what to purchase while enjoying free parking for my car to carry them homewards. My children, carless and Londoners, use deliveries because they would get scurvy and food poisoning if forced to rely on the local shops.

  6. There has been a price war ongoing for the past few years, which has recently become a proper price war. The initial version was where the idiots running the supermarkets tried to buy market share by building gazillions of the little shops.

    The first reason for this was that the big out of town stores became less attractive – primarily because Amazon (and other internet places) sold white goods, clothing and consumer electronics at prices that even the supermarkets could not match. (Walmart, with its superior buying power in the US did not face this problem). This is what did for Tesco’s big stores. In order to compensate all the middle market supermarkets built hundreds of those little stores. This cannibalized their big store base.

    Secondly, the market has bifurcated – the everyday cheap places – Aldi and Lidl and the posh places – M&S and Waitrose have done well. The middle has been squeezed.

    We now appear to be in a proper price war, which should be prosecuted until one of the big remaining supermarkets gets pushed out. (my guess is morrisons)

    But the ONS retail sales data does support the view that sales of smaller and mid sized firms are growing more than the big un’s . Table 3 page 11.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rsi/retail-sales/july-2014/stb-rsi-july-2014.html

  7. As I waded through the TV listings the other night in the vain hope of finding something interesting to watch between all cookery and reality TV crap I started to muse about a cookery series the BBC could do.

    Take a few of these Guardian middle class families and tell then they have to live for a year buying only British grown products from local shops, no supermarkets at all. I’d even ban them from goods grown in polly tunnels but that might be a bit hard to police. It would be quite amusing watching them struggle to keep their kids content eating turnips and sprouts for the 20th day on the trot, I might even be tempted break the habit and watch it. It would be especially fun watching them look longingly at the local Supermarket and then their faces drop when they see what their latest treat is going to be, possibly a few manky peas.

    Once they’ve successfully done that and vowed to continue the lifestyle I might be prepared to listen to them.

  8. “Now the crucial part here is what people mean when they say ‘local shops’.
    Now there’s a thing. The carer, looks after the old man, waxes lyrical on organic, localism & all things woo. She’s been waxing lyrical on a “local butcher”. Trouble is, the local butcher in question is a thirty mile round trip to Brighton. Which brings to mind, most of the “localists” bore for localism generally seem to be locally shopping considerable distances from where they live. The praised “local” shop never seems to be just round the corner but a fair hike in the Range Rover. Passing by a couple of Tescos on the way.

  9. ‘But we also know we spend less online, buying only what we need, choosing necessities with a ruthlessness that often abandoned us in-store.’

    They’ve obviously never been in Amazon while drunk. It’s amazing what turns up a few days later.

  10. What we used to spend on impulse buys – or some of it – then goes on a decent wedge of Lincolnshire Poacher, a couple of fillets of haddock or some good beef”

    Oh do fuck off you thick snob. You know nothing about anyone outside your effete social circle.

    “We have become suspicious: … of their treatment of farmers,”

    No we haven’t; we’ve found a cheaper or more convenient place to shop. People working hard to stretch their wages out do not care about the precious supplier; they leave that shit to numpties like you!

  11. Sort of what Dan said.

    There were plenty of “local shops” when I was growing up.

    Their opening hours were limited – one of the reasons why Asian corner shops became such a staple of British life was that the Asians were prepared to open late and on Sundays when British shopkeepers had their doors locked.

    Prices were high and stock was limited. They usually had the dank ambience of an oubliette. Customers were frequently welcomed with signs saying “do not ask for credit”, or “no more than two schoolchildren may enter”.

    I had the opposite experience with the service though. The staff tended to be all too interested in your business. Not in a friendly, neighbourly way, but in a claustrophobic small town gossip sort of way. If you wanted to buy, say, a box of condoms or a copy of Razzle, it could be an ordeal.

    It was a revelation when they opened a Tesco in our town. Gleaming aisles stuffed with choice! The convenience of not having to traipse through half a dozen shops to get your groceries! Checkout staff who weren’t asking if your father had found a job yet, or if those men they saw outside your house were debt collectors!

    Really, the British local shop was more like the one in The League of Gentlemen than the one in Open All Hours. Tesco, Asda, and Sainsburys rescued us from the tyranny of the shopkeeper.

  12. Indeed, supermarkets should be celebrated shouldn’t they? Not only do they offer an astonishing variety of good (and bad) things, there is also sufficient competition to kindle pretty well endless price wars. Oh, and supermarkets are something we do better than pretty much anyone else.

    On the minus side, I’m sure farmers are as downtrodden and exploited as they say, but since I left public school I don’t seem to meet many farmers or their offspring.

  13. Steve,

    You are spot on. Every Tesco’s that opened in a little town put more money in the pockets of the average villager, who by buying at Tesco with their cheaper prices meant they had some money left for luxurys.

  14. In my experience people are using grocery delivery much more for stocking up and using small local shops for regular top ups of perishables. But the small local shops used are Tesco Expresses, Sainsbury’s Locals etc etc. So still part of the supermarkets.

  15. I can’t imagine buying groceries online. How do you squeeze the avocados to make sure they’re not like bullets? How do you tell the guy at the meat counter, “no, not that chop, the one next to it”? How do you ensure the stuff is delivered while you’re in (Graunadista snobs can get the au pair to haul the bags in but most people don’t have that luxury)?

    I remember traipsing round the town in my mother’s wake when I was a small child in the 70’s. It took forever. Then Tesco opened a vast warehouse you could see from low Earth orbit on the outskirts of town. The first time I walked through the door it was like the scene in Die Hard when Gruber’s mob crack the vault and the Ode to Joy starts playing. The professional miserablists who hate supermarkets should all be boiled.

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