Brendan O’Neill examines the worldview of the supermarket-hater:
A malady is spreading through the leafier bits of Britain. It’s causing fevered thinking among its sufferers, who can’t even walk down a high street without experiencing distressing symptoms: cold sweats, anger, an urge to shout rude things at dumb shoppers.
Their ailment? Tescophobia, an irrational loathing of Britain’s biggest supermarket.
A certain tranche of the middle classes hates nothing more than the sight of a Tesco store. Except perhaps the sight of Tesco patrons, whom anti-Tesco author Andrew Simms snobbishly describes as always looking “listless and depressed… slumping from place to place”.
It is nothing more than thinly veiled class disdain for the plebs:
But there’s a reason Tesco and other supermarkets have been a roaring hit: it’s because they’ve made people’s lives, especially women’s lives, so much easier.
Remember when we had to traipse from shop to shop almost every day of the week just to have enough grub and stuff to live on? I have vivid memories of going shopping with my mum, accompanied by my five brothers, back when supermarkets weren’t as common as they are now.
We’d go to the butchers, the bakers, the greengrocers, the corner shop, packing our wares into tatty bags and dragging them home, before having to do the same thing again in a couple of days’ time because the foodstuffs sold by small shops didn’t tend to last long. The arrival of the supermarket revolutionised all that.
Suddenly, everything you might need or want was under one roof. A family larder could be stocked in the space of an hour, where once it was a never-ending task. How much of mankind’s, or rather womankind’s, time has been freed up for other pursuits by the spread of Tesco?