||Opinion - Mark
Mansbridge, supermarket boycotter
Tesco opened a huge store in Shaftesbury, Dorset last year and
I've watched as shops and businesses I knew as a kid down there
have collapsed one by one. Somerfield had already built on the
cattle market, turning the heart of the town into a car park.
Goodbye then to The Sport-e-quip, Mr. Anstee's Bakery and Hall
and Woodhouse offie and hello to ‘lifestyle’ shops
selling overpriced cappuccinos and garden nick-nacks to the
weekend cottage people. Lewes shops have managed to withstand
having two supermarkets as the greedy cuckoos in the nest, but
now Tesco proposes expansion into ‘other areas of retail’.
They dangle a ’50 jobs’ carrot*, but how many real
jobs will be knocked out in the wave of closures as local independents
inevitably go under? Ten years ago Common Cause hosted the Sustainable
Lewes Conference addressed by Charles Secrett and other local
visionaries and this helped to establish local food initiatives
like the Farmers Market, Just Trade and the Veg Box schemes.
Meeting local needs locally provides affordable accountable
food, the opposite of over-packaged and over-travelled supermarket
I gave up supermarkets a year ago and found the speed and cost
arguments to be a myth. This is a small town for Christ’s
sake and we want to do things slowly anyway! Whilst shoppers
are getting tetchy in the checkout queue, waiting to be served
by a stressed minimum waged teenager, I'm having a great time
gossiping with Sue at May's Stores or admiring Bill's monumental
*That'll be a standard sized straight carrot of course.
Tescopoly: a supersize Tesco
will spell the end for many