Scandal! Outrage! There they were, the people of Crouch End, Twickenham and Walton-on-Thames, all leafy London suburbs, enjoying what appeared to be good coffee and delicious food in an attractive new independent cafe – when all the while it was they who were the mugs. Little did they realise that, actually, what they had been enjoying was good coffee and delicious food in an attractive new cafe … part-owned by Tesco.
Despite its perky blackboards with their drawn-on smiley faces, the new chain of coffee shops Harris + Hoole was launched by Australian siblings Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley with a minority investment – and no doubt much satanic knowhow – from Britain’s biggest supermarket. Even as we speak, there could be plans to open another of these deceptively pleasant places where you live.
The truth is that many people like the friendly local feel of independent shops, and the big multiples have noticed.
If it is friendly, serves coffee you like (it’s not possible to say “good coffee” in the UK) and you like the teacakes, then what the hell do you care who owns it?
This is rather the point of this market economy shit. You don’t have to worry about the who, their religion, sex, gender, nationality. You can just look at what you are being offered at what price and decide whether it’s worth more to you than what you’re being charged.
If it is, go for it, if it ain’t then don’t. It’s all so much simpler than that Polanyi style network of mutual obligations. Which is why we use it of course.