28th January 2009

I was contemplating my last post when watching the TV programme “Chickens, Hugh and Tesco too”. I have been following this intriguing position in the news since it started and watching the events as they unfolded on the small screen made me consider the ethics of Tesco in this case. I have always been a reluctant supermarket shopper preferring to shop at local independants – and indeed I refuse to buy meat from a supermarket as it is generally tastless, filled with unwanted supplements and usually more expensive than your local butcher.

The way in which Tesco has behaved in this instance is an example of everything which I hate about how some businesses operate. They have been obstructive, bullying, evasive, stretching of the truth and interested in nothing but profit. Those institutions which invest in Tesco on our behalf (pension funds etc) were spineless and whilst I acknowledge that TV editing can sometimes present a biased picture, in this case I think that the general message was acurate.

The disregard for their reputation by Tesco is worrying but I have the feeling that this may be of greater importance than they yet believe. No one likes a bully and Tesco exhibits all of the traits expected of the playground tyrant. They have their day but eventually someone stands up to them and once that aura of invincibility is punctured the decline has started.

I probably do not spend more than a few hundred pounds per annum in Tesco and so I am of no importance to their profits but from now on I will not use Tesco until they show some moral fibre, an understanding of the communities which they claim to serve and the highest ethical standards in their trading. My clubcard is being returned to Sir Terry Leahy with a request that any unused points are donated to Compassion in World Farming to support Freedom Food as a minimum industry standard. I will not register on his radar or probably get any acknowledgement but if everyone did the same then they would have to take notice.

In the meantime take my challenge – do not buy any supermarket meat for one week and use your local butcher instead. You will find a big difference in taste, a friendly smile and who knows maybe a few more pence in your pocket. Then see if you want to buy Tesco chicken again.

Businesses need ethics!

P.S. I highly recommend the butchers at Walsingham Farm Shop in Norfolk – superb meat all reared within a few miles of the shop!

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