Published On: Thu, Apr 30th, 2020

Action against lockdown: boycotting supermarkets

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The customer services department of Aldi has responded to a communication in response to the incident reported in the FBEL article, The disease is unsanctioned behaviour: getting asked to leave Aldi (and never going back).

It has been returned with a request to escalate to management, and to supply comment on the conduct of the store manager.

It reads:

Good afternoon

Thank you for contacting Aldi Customer Services regarding your recent experience in our Chichester store.

We apologise that you were unable to shop with your partner and for any inconvenience this may have caused. Where necessary people can of course shop together, but like all supermarkets we’re asking people to come alone if possible to support social distancing in our stores. In addition, vulnerable people and those over 70 have access to our stores half an hour before usual opening times, Monday to Saturday, whilst carers can shop 30 minutes before opening every Sunday.

Our store colleagues are working extremely hard as key workers while also ensuring that safety measures around Covid-19 are adhered to, and we are sorry for your experience on this occasion

Thanks again for contacting Aldi.

Yours sincerely

[A name provided, not published here.]

While alternative-media is generally flailing around, it has been realised here at FBEL that it would be good anti-lockdown strategy to choose one supermarket chain and boycott it. The objective would not just be to attempt to force a reaction to the current situation, but to create a deterrent against future abuse. The reason why one supermarket is targeted is because many people do not have an independent store as an option, and will need to shop with a corporate name. Obviously, not all of the big supermarkets can be boycotted. Thus, to operate most effectively, one is chosen as a victim. (This doesn’t mean the reader’s boycott should be restricted to the target [ – as long as the chosen victim universally doesn’t get any custom]).

The prime target would be Sainsburys. It seems to the author that Sainsburys has been at the vanguard where implementing “Covid-19” measures is concerned. Indeed, when he was present at his local store in the last days before customers were asked to queue outside the premises, he witnessed a Sainsburys employee snitching to police on one of the company’s own customers for not respecting some inane regulation or other (the author paraded past the entire party giving it a well earned Roman salute – although it has to be said that the West Sussex police has wisely kept a low profile in Chichester).

The main reason, though, is that Sainsburys is potentially using lockdown as an anti-competition measure for survival. The Aldi and Lidl model using a flexible workforce which can open and shut tills on demand for a greater volume of throughput surely has to be suffering when there are huge delays because shoppers won’t even share a conveyor belt. And then, consider this extract from a 30th April Guardian article titled Sainsbury’s boss says coronavirus disruption will last until mid-September:

The boss of Sainsbury’s has said disruption from the coronavirus outbreak will last until at least mid-September, and that physically distanced queues are likely to remain “for the foreseeable future”.

Mike Coupe, the chief executive of the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain, said the retailer would take a £500m profit hit from the costs of keeping staff and customers safe from the virus, such as by providing protective kit and covering absences for up to a quarter of its staff who had been off sick or self-isolating in the early days of the pandemic. Coupe said about 15% of staff were still absent.

Despite the additional costs, Sainsbury’s said it expected profits for the year ahead to be in line with the year just completed because the retailer was saving £450m in business rates under the government’s business aid scheme, and had also booked a surge in grocery sales as shoppers stockpiled in the run-up to the lockdown restrictions.

Arguably, Sainsburys has become a failing business because of a threat from upstart newcomers, and requires lockdown, panic buying and corporate welfare to survive. This is a theory that requires more research and the production of evidence (work is underway); as it is, it is a pretty good hunch, and as such, we can start to be aware that continuation of lockdown and then continued implementation of measures that reduce the competition’s advantage is potentially entirely to Sainsburys advantage. This, of course, would be a disgusting insult not to be tolerated.

Also, a boycott of Sainsburys could produce a fair amount of political leverage. The Lords Sainsbury (there are two of them) are shareholders of the company, and the Qatari royal family appear to own the lion’s share. For the British public to attempt to squeeze Sainsburys into extinction would surely create pressure on UK Government from moneyed and influential parties. For the British public to put Sainsburys down, and out of its misery, would send a message that a free people are not to be trifled with.

The featured image is the one that accompanies the cited Guardian piece, attributed to Jill Mead/The Guardian.

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Have Your Say
    • P W Laurie says:

      Some useful information.

      But Jesus could come in a thunder and lightning storm and argue for lifting the lockdown, and there still wouldn’t be any doing any “level best for the citizens of this great country” by the Prime Minister, because that’s not how things work.

      Free people don’t need to ask permission for it.

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