Why it’s crap at Tesco

I was reading this article in the Metro (the free paper you get at railway stations, for the uninitiated) about how the once mighty supermarket Tesco was having a rough year (issuing profits warnings, that sort of thing), generally falling out of favour with the British shopper, who seemed to have been neglected while senior Tesco management were focused on growth at all costs, especially internationally.

I don’t like Tesco, and generally avoid shopping there. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

  • As the article says, it’s a fairly dull and uninspiring experience.
  • The shelf-edges at a Tesco are heavily cluttered with promotional signs (known in the trade as “barkers”) advertising “special offers” – it’s often hard to find what you want in the morass of brightly coloured shelf-edge clutter.
  • Special offers which frequently turn out to be non-offers.
  • When you’re stuck for a quick lunch and the nearest option is a Tesco, the pre-packed sandwiches are dreadful – a bland, rather un-inspiring selection, and what’s more, they tend to use meat from non-UK suppliers – for instance “Bacon from the EU” (could be Brit, I suppose!) or “Chicken imported from Brazil and/or Thailand”, presumably because it’s cheaper than supporting British producers? Given the choice, I’d avoid these.
  • Tesco don’t seem to be focused on doing one thing well. They seem to be trying to be everything to everyone.

There are probably other reasons why I’m not struck on Tesco, but these were the ones which immediately sprang to mind when I read the article.

If you want a no-nonsense, bland shopping experience to pick up your essentials, that’s something Aldi do really well. Tesco don’t appear to have responded enough to the changing market, and seem rather stuck in the 1990s.