in our local shopping centre. One of them is run by a very large multi-national. The other is a "family run" concern - part of an "independent" chain.
I do not like the supermarket run by the large multi-national. It is, at first glance, larger and apparently less expensive to shop there.
The Senior Cat and I discussed this back when the smaller supermarket made the bold move and came into the main shopping centre. We thought we should support local if we could.
Since then the large supermarket has filled the shelves with their "own brand" products. These are at eye level. They are cheaper. Other products are disappearing from the shelves. I am sure I do not have to explain. More and more of their products are coming from overseas - mostly from China. People flock in there despite the poor lighting, the appalling layout and the vast distance from the entry to the far end - where they, of course, keep the milk.
The service however is poor. Staff stand behind checkouts and ask the usual "How are you today?" type questions. They do not listen to the answer. (My father's brother once answered "lousy" to such a question and received the answer "that's nice".) They are not, generally speaking, interested in their jobs - and who can blame them. It must be fairly soul destroying. Of course the profits go to the big shareholders at the very top.
The other shop makes the point of employing university students - something I think I may have mentioned before. These young employees know that they are not going to be there more than a few years. I have seen quite a few of them come and go - and have read quite a few of their essays as they go through their degrees.
But I am wondering how much longer the smaller supermarket can survive.
Why? Because this morning there is the report of yet another local food manufacturing business going into voluntary administration. One of the chief reasons, it states, is that they suddenly lost 40% of their business when the bigger supermarket chain decided that they would no longer source products from them. Bang. Just like that. The big supermarket chain has made a decision. Any contract will no doubt have been a short term contract. They will break the terms of a contract if it suits them Their market share is so big it does not matter - to them. Small companies know that it will not even be worth taking them to court.
It matters to the rest of us of course. I think there may be some parallels here with other monopolies... but apparently it is all right for the government to have a monopoly... or is it?