Category Archives: tesco


I have some vouchers for £5 off shopping at the new Tescos in Callington.  Went today to see it (and spent one of them), leaving three more which I’m unlikely to use.  Free to a good home if any local reader could use one.

The shop itself is a decent-size but not huge supermarket.  Strongly in its favour were freedom from muzak, and decent trolleys.  Against it, prices at the till that didn’t always match those advertised on the shelves, and staff who hadn’t a clue what to do about it.

Open source farming

The Beeb’s early morning farming program[1] today featured a finalist in their “farmer of the year” media event. Today’s finalist is someone who makes a business growing herbs in Scotland, and I found it genuinely interesting.

The Beeb’s farming coverage is mostly in the vanguard of the propaganda effort telling us that farmers are good but hard done by, and supermarkets (especially Tescos, the biggest and most successful) are evil. Today’s herb grower is a clear exception: he’s spent twenty years not whinging, but building a successful business instead. His biggest customer is Tescos, but rather than tow the usual BBC line, he explained that they shared the common goal of selling fresh herbs to consumers, to everyone’s benefit.

That positive attitude to cooperative marketing will look familiar to open sourcers, but doesn’t of itself make an open source style of business. What provoked me into blogging was the additional information that this farmer has spent a lot of time travelling the world in search of best practice and ideas, and shares them freely with whomsoever is interested. That sounds like a genuinely open source style of business model.

[1] no link – the website is wrong: either it’s featuring another day’s (week’s?) program, or they changed their minds. UPDATE – this link now works, but will probably change again.

An ugly shade of green

I took the bus to Tesco this morning, for a big shop. It’s quite a long time since I last went there, as the Tavistock shops are now so convenient. But there are a few things Tesco has that I can’t find locally.

Since I last went, they’ve introduced “green points”, based on things they deem to be “green” (by what criteria I can only speculate). My big backpack apparently qualified me for several, presumably on the basis of not using carrier bags.

So far so good, even if the value of the points is mere tokenism.

The problem is, these are just clubcard points. Tesco’s clubcard is not a consumer-friendly scheme like, for example, the Coop’s. It’s a card that, at best, earns you discounts on selected items (their selection, not mine, and I’ve yet to see anything I want to buy discounted). And worse, the means of delivery is by utterly wasteful and anti-green junk mail arriving in your letterbox.

So, you have to be anti-green to qualify for green points. Jolly good. I ditched my clubcard years ago. A rather greener action, I think, than saving carrier bags (which I always keep for re-use anyway).

BTW, don’t get me wrong. I don’t subscribe to the “Tescos are evil” view peddled by some of the meeja (and politicians in search of a scapegoat). On the contrary, I thoroughly approve of what they’ve done to bring quality and value to consumers. And of what they’ve done to make themselves accessible to everyone (today’s bus, provided by Tesco, being just one example of that). When you’re as poor as I was around 2002/2003, you really appreciate the value of pasta at 12p for a 500g packet, and pulses at 80p for a full week’s worth of protein.