There is a secret to shopping at Tesco. If you have lost hope of ever finding any of those convenient trundle baskets; if you have time to cruise the aisles several times and prise open half a dozen misted cool cabinets, and if you are happy to be diverted by Sky News as you dither about which till has the longest wait, then every now and again you will get lucky. You might even arrive home with something tolerable for supper. The secret lies in low expectations.Ah. Clearly, that’s where I’m going wrong: my expectations are simply that they sell me stuff at prices I want to buy, when I want to buy it.
They seem to always meet them, too.
To many shoppers – and I exclude here members of the chattering classes, who were always rather sniffy about Tesco – the company’s decline has been evident for some time, at least for the two years that its market share has been falling. Shouty price wars concealed price rises.
The shopping experience – too few staff, inadequate hygiene, those self-service tills – left much to be desired.Perhaps viewing shopping as ‘an experience’ rather than as a necessary act to get foodstuffs is where you’re going wrong, Mary?
Anecdotally, it was obvious that many people shopped at Tesco for want of an alternative.I have lots of alternatives. Lidl, Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are all within a 25 minute drive.
But I still shop at Tesco quite a bit.
The problem for Tesco was that, where there was an alternative, its customers chose it, for all that it had a Teutonic tinge. Price was one consideration, but only one. In my experience, Aldi and Lidl offer a less frenetic atmosphere.
A more limited selection saves you time.Yes, that’s what I want when I go shopping, too – anti-choice. “No,” I cry, “Don’t give me too many options, I’m just a simple person, I want to have fewer decisions to make! The bog-standard fish fingers will do!”
Bring back the 50s, eh, Mary? You would have loved the Soviet Union.
All Britain’s big four supermarkets, not just Tesco, but Sainsbury’s Morrisons and Asda, have been losing market share. There are perils in massive expansion (yes, even for the upmarket, and so far resilient, Waitrose). And the pattern of British food shopping is changing: a few big shopping trips are being replaced with more smaller excursions, with a greater emphasis on quality. To blame Aldi and Lidl for the troubles of Tesco and others is to let complacent British supermarkets off the hook. The Germans deserve to be praised for offering a superior package, not stigmatised for their nationality.Amazing, the depths of self-hatred of the progressives even extends to our national supermarkets…