I hang my head in shame! I confess to having nodded in agreement with Tesco when I first heard that they had banned people from shopping in their pyjamas. I smugly thought that I had always managed to get dressed before leaving the house, why couldn't they? Then I thought, hang about, hang about, since when have Tesco ever had any principles?
They have systematically eroded British farming. They have forced thousands of dairy farmers into bankruptcy and off their land by barely paying them enough to cover the cost of production. They flagrantly squeeze suppliers and bully them. They have a poor record on animal welfare and are one of the worst companies for having the biggest pay gap between their CEO's and their staff. They use what a lot of people would call misleading food labelling. Goods are imported from thousands of miles away without barely a thought for the environment or the conditions of the workers. They have made many small independent shop keepers go out of business, causing untold misery and ranks of unemployed. They do all that and then, all of a sudden, we find that they have principles on dress codes?! Considering their track record, who do they think they are telling us how to dress?
Well, they are already in a very dominant and powerful position taking in £1bn over its counters every week that frankly they can do what they like. Before long you will be able to shop anywhere you like as long as its Tesco. Another 600 Express stores are planned by 2015 and they plan to launch bank branches in their stores. Perhaps they will be telling us next exactly what to buy by checking our spending habits (which they can do every time you hand over the points card) and by knowing how much you earn and what you can afford (by checking your Tesco bank account) and ultimately just taking your money straight from the account without even bothering to ask!
When they've completely conquered the world, how will designer makers/skilled crafters fit into this homogonised world? They won't. Tesco like everything/everyone to be standard/average, that way they are easier to deal with (they would probably like us all to be like Stepford Wives and dress like them! And not ask awkward questions like how they can sell £2 chickens.) Makers are the equivalent of bananas that are too curved or green beans that are too long. They will want them to get a proper job like stacking shelves.
Of course we can be optimistic that there is a vibrant community of designer makers all making wonderful, unique things (for now) but there is still much work to be done convincing shoppers of the dangers of having a high dependency on the likes of Tesco. We need to communicate the amazing alternatives available before it's too late. We have already witnessed the danger of what can happen when a handful of very large poorly regulated companies dominate a crucial industry. Look what happenend in banking and the devastating consequences of that.
Do we really want to live in a world where Tesco staff tell us what we can and can't do, how we must dress, what we must eat, how much we should spend? No!!! Give them the thumb and nose salute and take your money elsewhere. Forgive me for agreeing with them on that one point (a momentary lapse) and help spread the word!