Supermarkets: terribly bad for consumers, aren\’t they?

School badges emerged yesterday as the latest, and most unlikely, battleground in the supermarket price war.

Uniforms with bespoke embroidered crests, loathed by many parents for pushing up the price of schoolwear, are being targeted for the first time by Tesco.

Britain’s biggest retailer is promising to undercut specialists by at least 40 per cent.

Market\’s worth about a £1 billion. So, that\’s a £400 million consumer surplus right there if they can do it.

Yup, gotta investigate those supermarkets for ripping us all off, don\’t we?

8 thoughts on “Supermarkets: terribly bad for consumers, aren\’t they?”

  1. Does anyone know why and when the Supermarkets suddenly became the whipping boy of choice in Europe. On a single day in the same publication in Germany you can find one article describing a government ransacking of Supermarket offices looking for evidence of price fixing AND an article describing how extremely low prices for milk and butter are ruining the farmers. Where does this all come from?

  2. This is hardly new.

    Back when I were a lad St Athelstan’s Reformatory for the Sons of the Gentry required pupils to wear grey blazers decorated with their school number and numerous small cloth arrows in house colours. Naturally the school’s sole official tailor* made a small fortune providing these at great expense.

    At least he did until parents realised the almost identical blazers sold by Poundland (the official outfitters for St Oik’s Comprehensive down the road) could be had at a fraction of the price. Provided one’s under housmaid was reasonably adept with a needle and thread, a reproduction worthy of a Chinese knockoff sweatshop could be effected within a couple of hours.

    Speaking to chums who attended other schools, the parents of St ‘Stans weren’t alone in this revolt against the evils of monopoly trading. It sounds like Tescos have simply taken what was a minor rebellion and turned it into a national movement.

    *And, doubtless, the Chairman of the Board of Governors too.

  3. Mr V,

    Form where does it come? From the same place that prompts many politicians to declare some poor bunch of schmucks as the greatest threat to civilisation.

    First rule of politics: When everything is going to ratshit and any honest assesment will pin the blame on you; find a scapegoat.

    Stalin had the Kulaks, Hitler the Jews and Brown has the bankers. Obviously Angular thinks she’s about to be blamed for somthing and needs to divert attention towards a “greater evil”.

  4. Wonderful: you want to put some poor soul who relies on selling,on average, maybe three or four school blazers a week out of business so a supermarket ,that does n’t really need the extra income can increase its market dominance. It always amazes me that its the Conservative or the conservative minded who strive to build The Eagle’s towns of the future ,where everybody shops at one big blockhouse and then drives home and parks in what was once their front garden.Supermarkets in the UK were not a natural evolution but came about by legally destroying the diversified retail system dependent on Resale price maintenance that had evolved naturally.In anticipation of all the criticism that mention of RPM (re-legalised in the USA)occasions on this site from people who get on better with cars and machinery than people gathered in towns, I would like to say, keep calm.

  5. Wonderful DBC, you want to put other unknown poor souls out of business because the parents have to spend more on blazers leaving less for them to spend elsewhere.
    ” Resale price maintenance that had evolved naturally.”
    No markets evolve naturally, RPMs and the like are imposed centrally. (I’m calm, you are just wrong).

  6. “the diversified retail system dependent on Resale price maintenance that had evolved naturally.”

    I think that translates as “existing retailers managed to have barriers to entry erected to their businesses to prevent competition”. No surprise about this. This is what existing businesses do.

  7. It’s not actually me that’s wrong but traditional British retail practice pre 1964 and more recently the American Supreme Court (with expert witnesses from academic Economics).So Mr M has n’t been entirely calm in his response.
    @Michael Jennings;
    RPM was set up by manufacturers to stop retailers messing about with the prices of their goods.
    As to depriving people of spending power,you should aim your fire at the property market which ensures that young households are saddled with a one hundred thousand pound debt for the land beneath their( very small) houses. Also I don’t doubt that once the supermarket has lured people from all over the school’s catchment area to drive there by car (the expense of which negates any savings) the supermarket will make up for a probable loss leader when the family completes the rest of the shopping while they’re there.
    Sewer the Continong, what with all those Poujadists and all, they have a very different attitude to preserving small shops and towns (perhaps their politics were n’t shaped by a landed gentry) and so they are not always so enthusiastic about building out of town hypermarkets ,at least according to the evidence given by David V above. (All of this anonymity and such thoroughly conformist opinions too!)

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