We British are at our worst when we're clamouring to bring down those people or institutions that we've puffed up over the years. And, so it is with Tesco.
Never mind the fact that they're a British success story, employing over 300000 people in the UK and more than half-a-million worldwide. Or, the reality that with its 2013-14 group sales of over £70bn and a combined pre-tax profit of £2.3bn, Tesco is a major contributor to the British economy. No, to many Tesco is the devil-incarnate and that's that.
But, here in Bermondsey it's a different matter, for we know the truth about Tesco (their Bermondsey Spa branch in particular).
Celebrating their first anniversary serving the Bermondsey community, the Jamaica Road branch of the retail giant strives to provide outstanding customer service: with staff on hand to greet, say thank you and goodbye, and a smile at the checkouts, this has taken Bermondsey somewhat by surprise. In a cynical and often selfish Britain, the branch manager takes a 'unique' approach to customer service: she trains her staff to be nice to people! Yes, it's simple but true; her staff work hard to create a positive shopping experience, where customers are treated as valued human beings - now, you don't get that at Aldi!
In fact it's about more than just good old-fashioned Bermondsey manners: for the Bermondsey Spa branch goes all-out to be inclusive, with generous offerings of both its value, standard and Finest ranges, and a selection of dairy, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to rival any other local convenience store.
The most common complaints levelled at Tesco are: that it offers buy-one-get-one-free deals, fleeces farmers to provide customers with cheap milk and prices the smaller shops out of business. However, 'big-bully Tesco' doesn't really ring true in Bermondsey; competition is alive and well here, and competitors and rivals are thriving, too.
We've five markets...
|Ropewalk, Maltby Street (Image © wwwilovemarkets.co.uk)|
...hundreds of independent shops...
|Southwark Park Road|
...three and soon to be four Sainsbury's...
|Spa Road, Bermondsey Spa Gardens|
...an Iceland, Lidl and a huge Asda superstore - and still the naysayers complain! Bewilderingly, they would rather we spent our money at Aldi, Asda or Lidl, so that they can squirrel it away in a foreign bank, instead of pulling together during a recession to fill the tills at home.
|Southwark Park Road|
Talk to Bermondsey's struggling yet hardworking poor, and they'll tell you that they prefer paying less for a bottle of milk, and really rather like their two plastic-wrapped trays of British Beef for the price of one.
Yes, we'd all love to shop the length and breadth of Bermondsey's premier Ropewalk and Spa Terminus markets: they sell Britain's finest food and continue the area's proud heritage as the Larder of London - but, they ain't cheap! The reality for most is that Bermondsey Spa Tesco provides choice, charm and customer care, assets missing from most supermarkets in the area.
|Spa Terminus, Dockley Road|