The new Heath Road Tesco is set to open in July. A placard tells us so. Another placard on the hoardings offers “thousand of products on your doorstep”. Or should that be “threatens”. All those products on your doorstep sounds like a cross between a convenient, local store and Shaun of the Dead, as thousands of zombie groceries advance slowly up the road, through the gate and arrive at your front door. Yes, they’re outside your front door! “Brian, grab the shotgun! There’s an army of Thai ready meals outside. And they’re all carrying asparagus spears.”
Even if these groceries turn out to be benign, the question of where to store “thousands of products” is never properly addressed. It’s already getting stressful having to think about clearing out cupboard space or buying a bigger fridge. Thanks a bunch Tesco. They’ll be telling us we’re supposed to pay for these products next.
Then there’s a third placard, a sop to those worried that Tesco will not be good for the area. Tesco is “working with the community to make a difference.” They’re not here to damage independent traders. It’s not that kind of difference. They sponsor runs for charity and do stuff for kids. It’s that kind of difference.
The area around the Green probably does need a few more shops or a half-decent small supermarket and Tesco will fit that profile. Stores that don't compete on the same turf such as Percy Chapman & Son (pet food, plants & fishing stuff) and that electrical shop that opens weird hours might do quite well from more shoppers being in the area. It'll be a lot more worrying for the local newsagents and convenience stores with Tesco in direct competition. But possibly the biggest loser could be M&S Food, after all, who's going to walk past Tesco just to get to an M&S? No one with thousands of products blocking their path, obviously.