Town centres under attack

That’s great Sainsbury’s – but you should be doing this anyway!

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I am not a big fan of the large supermarket chains – I believe they are responsible for a lot of the problems our town centres currently have, plus they don’t add anything to our community. Despite what they might want you to believe they are net takers not givers.

On a regular basis one or other of the big supermarket chains will go on a campaign to show their green credentials or how they support the local community – Sainsbury’s are this weeks candidate, they have announced Initiatives under the “20 by 20 sustainability plan” that will include driving down energy use in supermarkets, doubling the amount of British food sold from the current £4bn a year, increasing sales of fairly traded products to £1bn and making sure suppliers of meat, poultry, eggs and dairy goods follow higher welfare standards.

The company is also pledging to create 50,000 new jobs by 2020, by which point it expects 20,000 members of Sainsbury’s staff will have reached 20 years’ service.

The company, which has 21 million customers and almost 1,000 stores, says it is the most ambitious and far-reaching programme ever announced in the industry – which it may well be – but I can’t help thinking that much of what they are suggesting they should have been doing for years to support UK farming and communities?

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DIY store fun!

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This is another grumpy blog I am afraid to say – I will get back to property and environmental issues next week, but this is another example of the way big retailing is costing us all money!

My wife teaches at a nursery and often returns home with items that need glueing or repairing, and asks me to attend to them – I really don’t mind, in fact it’s quite nice to be considered someone capable of repairing things given the nature of our ‘throw away’ society today.

costly little devils!

Often I have something that will sort the problem in my tool box, I am a keeper of any ‘spare parts’ from dismantled items or similar – some would call it hoarding – I beg to differ!

Anyway, this week the lower section of a doll’s house came home, some bolts needed tightening which was straightforward enough – but there was one missing, and it was fundamental to the structural stability of the building! A replacement was needed!

Searching through my ‘collection’ produced a correctly threaded bolt, it was however rather too long. No problem I thought, I will get a new shorter one! So off to B&Q I went with my extra long bolt to hand to compare with what was available. Now, B&Q by DIY store standards actually have quite a good selection of bolts, and one can purchase a single unit or a pack. So far so good, and they had a suitable bolt.

But, to buy a pack of a dozen or so bolts would be around £3.50, not cheap but fine if I needed 12, but I don’t (and obviously I wouldn’t want to add to my stash!). The cost of a single bolt (bizarrely with no nut or washer)?

£1.38!

When I was a kid we could go to the local hardware shop, they had bolts, screws, nails, you name it. And they would sell single ones for a few pence. It was called customer care and was fundamental to the community feel from traditional shops in town or village centres. The giants like B&Q have killed off all the proper hardware shops and now have us basically ‘over a barrel’, they can charge what they want because we can’t go anywhere else – and consequently do.

Yet another example of how the growth of out-of-town retailing has had a negative effect upon our society.

Grumpy rant completed – for now!