I think it is safe to say that Tesco has won the monopoly war. They must own roughly 97% of the market by now thanks to their virus like expansion.There is a Tesco Express store five-minutes down the road to my left and another six and a half minutes down the road to my right. Should I decide to try and beat the system and take the road straight ahead, there is a larger full fat Tesco store ten minutes in that direction, I am surrounded.
I live in Leicester, not exactly the largest city in England. Yet despite its relatively small size, there are eight Tesco stores within a thirty minute walk from my doorstep (make that 10 minutes if going by car). In that same area, there are two Sainsburys stores, one Morrisons and a no show from Asda and Waitrose. If these other big supermarkets can’t compete, what does that mean for the smaller independent shops?
But as the saying goes, every little helps.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much choice in the matter. If I need groceries, I must submit to the Sith Lords down the road and hope I don’t displease them. The Stormtroopers at the cashier desks seem friendly enough, but you know Darth is keeping a close eye on the security feeds hoping for the chance to Force choke a shoplifter. I’m sure on a slow day, he’ll even take exception to people leaving items in the wrong place. Now I think about it, I’m not against punishing those people. When you are shopping in the fresh produce section and you come across a disbanded pack of tampons snuggling with the apples, you’d want to Force choke someone too. Say what you want about the Empire, but you have to admire their efficiency.
So I am within the walls of the enemy and behaving myself admirably as I reach into my pocket to grab the vouchers sent to me accompanying my Clubcard statement and head immediately for the Pringles aisle. Sure there are other products there, but I only have eyes for Pringles thanks to this magnificent 60p off any tube voucher. Target located, but something does not compute. I want to believe it was an error, but the Empire doesn’t make mistakes. This tube really is priced up at £2.49. Even with the voucher they are costing 80p more than Morrisons has advertised them for.
Pringles are still just crisps right? They don’t have some new recipe that involves lacing individual crisps with platinum do they?
Ok, so I’ll shred that voucher, I can still get 50p off a bottle of Lucozade and they were selling them for 99p the other week. Lets see, nope, up to £1.99 a bottle now. I’ll shred that one too. I can still get 50p off a pack of Cadburys chocolate fingers that were priced up at £1 not long ago. What a surprise, £1.89 now.
The vouchers often seem like a good deal, but pay attention and things aren’t always what they seem. To me this seems to imply that average customer is an idiot easily fooled by a piece of paper with a barcode on. Maybe the average customer is. The vouchers go out and the prices go up. Earlier on I said that Tesco must own about 97% of the market by now, and maybe that was a slight exaggeration. But for the biggest share of the market, they sure offer some of the worst value deals, even if the adverts on TV tell me otherwise.
This is a place that once offered the stellar deal of £1 for a loaf of bread or £3 for three. Should I consider myself a mug for shopping there or just submit to the Empire’s wishes and accept that they can do what they want? Maybe both are true as I am the mug who just got back from Tesco to write this blog.