Protesting Supermarkets

I’ve read a couple of articles recently which have got me thinking. The first one was about people who protest supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco etc – unfortunately I can’t remember where I found it so I can’t link to it! (May have even been… hushed tones… on paper!) The other article was called Good News and Bad News, which I linked to on Twitter.

Anyway, it got me thinking about supermarkets and why people protest them. In many ways I actually support people who protest supermarkets: I do think that town centres can be ruined by large out-of-town stores moving in and taking everyone’s business away. But I have an issue with that, which is: whose fault is it that these stores are so big and so ubiquitous? It seems that blaming the stores for opening is ignoring the issue that there are people who shop there. The stores wouldn’t open if people didn’t shop there.

If the stores thrive because of unethical dealings with third world countries and slave labour etc – then that should be stopped. Of course it should. But that’s not really an issue people can solve by protesting against Tesco opening a new store in… whichever town they want to open a store in. It just seems to me that the rising flood of supermarkets is something which can only be ‘solved’ by proactively using local shops and businesses over the bigger chains and getting other people to do the same.

Aside from this is the issue that high-street shopping is gradually evolving – if it’s not actually dying out. Who buys CDs or DVDs or books from an actual shop these days? It’s just cheaper and more convenient to buy online. But you don’t find people protesting Amazon in the same way, do you? And I think in the past few years, online shopping has done far more damage to the high street than big supermarkets have.

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