All entries for Saturday 10 February 2007

February 10, 2007

Tesco Has Come For Your Soul

Un column de la Boar. Even I felt educated after reading this (I forgot I wrote it).

Are you ready for your Amazingly Dull Fact of the week™? No? Tough. The Amazingly Dull Fact of the Week™ is that there are only four postcodes in Britain which do not have a Tesco. Three make sense if you adopt a sort of “let’s leave out those weird people who paint themselves blue and charge around led by Mel Gibson” attitude which only those too enraptured by London to notice the rest of the nation has moved into the twenty first century can really achieve. These people probably think the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, and Orkney are firms of City lawyers or accountants. Go to their stall at the Careers Fair. In fact, judging by the size of modern Tescos the chances are that these small clumps of island are just too small to fit one on, especially as each Tesco must come with a carpark the size of Epping Forest and no signage to indicate which area you have parked your car in. Yes, everyone loves a good game of Find My Car whilst carrying eighteen tonnes of shopping. It’s good for the shoulder muscles.

The fourth postcode was a little more surprising. From the mountainous regions of Wales, to the snootiest plains of Buckinghamshire, to Devon where the locals seem to get most of their goods from shipwrecks, all postcodes were endowed with a way to acquire starchy mush (or Tesco value rice as it claims to be). The exception is Harrogate. For those of you who don’t know, Harrogate is in Yorkshire. It was Britain in Bloom champion in 2003 and hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982 from which we can conclude that they clearly like bright colours and lots of them. It’s a spa town but unlike Leamington does not seem to feel the need to show off about it, although unlike Leamington, it’s not Royal which probably irks it somewhat considering how well it fits the idea of quaint olde Englande. Charles Dickens called it “the queerest place, with the strangest people leading the oddest lives”. When you think about it, this was a remarkably astute prediction of the coming of the Eurovision Song Contest from someone born during the Napoleonic War when the possibility that Europe might settle its seething tensions through the medium of voting on camp costumes and terrible songs seemed remote to say the least. Although Eurovision would be funny if it featured more nineteenth century cannon fire.

What would Napoleon make of Tesco’s amazing progress in taking over the entirety of the country he so wished to pummel into submission with cannon and bayonet? It has managed to become the bogeyman to a lot of people who see it steamrollering local shops and businesses and bullying farmers into dropping their prices. But still we shop there. For campus denizens it has the advantage of a captive audience whose main alternative is Costcutter, a shop whose name lies and whose food products range in quality from “Meh” to “Argh! My tastebuds! My stomach!”. So students trudge their way over to Tesco’s then come back to play an amusing game of Find My Hall Of Residence whilst carrying eighteen tonnes of booze and getting their weekly exercise in the form of a shoulder workout. Every penny spent at that Tesco is going into a giant pot which will one day be used to buy campus itself and turn it into a carpark.

February 2007

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