Tuesday, January 15, 2008

do the shopping, stuff the skunk

Having been born with the disability of XY chromosomes, I find shopping traumatic. It's an activity I dread. So it may be no surprise that, although purveyors of things that Maxima decrees we need are generally not of much interest to me, I find it easier to shop in establishments whose layouts and staff let people with better things to do get in there, get the job done and head back home.

Talking of which, not a million miles from the draughty old fen, there has been a hullabulloo about the proposed building of a small Tesco's store in Mill road in Cantabrigia.

The main thrust of the case against Tesco's is that it would threaten the livelihood of the other traders in Mill Road. This is a very diverse area, it is true. But surely ipso facto this is an argument against any shop opening up in the space left by the old Wilco shop, in that it will threaten the livelihood of at least one other shop in the road. It's called competition.

We are told by the people who run the "No Mill Road Tesco" campaign that it is not its remit to make anybody feel threatened, but makes a lot of the fact that it once managed to marshal 600 people to join a march down the road. Even though 110,400 Cantabrigians elected not to march, the presence of 600 angry people outside the window of a small outlet - and the proposed convenience store will be an "Express", a small shop among small shops - would leave me feeling threatened.

Tesco's is a successful enterprise, and I think this is what the ringleaders of this confused campaign are really protesting about: capitalism. That being so, they should extend their protest to include every shop in Mill Road, because they're all there to make money. Sonia Cooter, the co-ordinator of the No Mill Road Tesco campaign, states that people who want to shop at Tesco's are "misguided", and that "independent stores on Mill Road are cheaper." Those would be the charity shops, Sonia. And even they exist to raise money for their respective causes, thank God, showing that capitalism has a heart. One might also wonder why Miss Cooter protests against one shop opening in Mill Road, when the neighbourhood of Romsey, which she represented for last year's Mill Road Winter Fair has been decimated.

Another moan is that the presence of a small Tesco's will endanger pedestrians and cyclists. Much of the danger in Mill Road is caused by precisely these two groups. There are also cars and motorbikes that drive on the wrong side of the road at high speed to try to overtake the traffic creeping into or from town, depending on the time of day.

Still, if the protesters find themselves confused by the facts, they can indulge in the last refuge of the liberal by crossing the road to buy paraphernalia for using cannabis (at best) in a discount store. In case their ideologically sound hand-wringing leaves them tired and emotional, the relevant items are marked with pictures of cannabis leaves or Mephitis mephitis. I don't see Tesco's putting that particular shop out of business, and even less the head-shop up the road.

In fact, unless Tesco's Express starts providing rosaries, wigs, acupuncture, betting facilities, hard-core pornography or second-hand firearms, I think even the shops in the immediate vicinity are safe.

I plan to use Mill Road Tesco's. If I should change my mind, I'm going to dare defy the received wisdom of the comrades that everybody within two miles will march into the store like automata, and choose to shop somewhere else. In the draughty old fen, we call that thinking for ourselves.

Related posts:

normal service will not shortly be resumed
Tesco: a different view always helps

1 comment:

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