Wednesday, 6 April 2016

When you buy from a big business...

Let's consider this message. Its sentiment is lovely, it speaks of the effort the small business makes to succeed, of the hours of struggle, the nights wading through paperwork, the early mornings racing to collect stock and still get back to open the shop. We've all got a great regard for the shopkeeper, their work (as Napoleon knew) is deep in the English psyche.

But the words on the board are still wrong. Not because there isn't some distant chief executive wanting a second yacht but because when you shop in a big store you're helping to pay the wages of the woman on the checkout, the lad stacking shelves, the folk in the back doing the banking, the warehouse staff, the drivers, the trolley boys and the smiling ladies in the cafe. And those people have daughters who want dance lessons and sons who want a football shirt. These employees of the big shop have school uniforms to pay for, mortgages, gas bills, bus fares and loan repayments.

The portion of your shopping bill that goes to pay the chief executive is tiny - in the case of big bad Tesco it's less than 0.001% of the company's turnover. And the proportion of each pound of sales going in profits is also pretty small - less than 5% even in good years. Most of the mark up goes on paying the wages of ordinary employees who have exactly the same struggles paying their way as do the owners of those lovely local shops.

Don't stop shopping in those indie stores but do so for the right reasons - great service, interesting products, high quality and good value. Don't shop there because you think you're sticking one to some bloated plutocrat because you're not.


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