Waitrose is a chain of 200 UK supermarkets flogging high-quality nosh at extortionate prices. The company is run as a co-op and prides itself on its image of ‘corporate social responsibility’, despite its core client base being the over-privileged English white middle-class. Its branches are concentrated around London, there are only four in Wales and two in Scotland. Some readers of this blog will recall that way back in January we got into a discussion of Waitrose in the comments to my Anti-Capitalist Shop Closure Wish List. I made my feelings about Waitrose clear then when I wrote:
“Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership but I object to their client base. Watching the mega-rich residents of the Barbican complex in the City of London campaign to get the supermarket that had been Safeway and more recently Somerfield on Whitecross Street turned into a Waitrose was pretty horrible, but all part of the (anti)-”social cleansing” of the area. When it was a Safeway, and latterly a Somerfield, this supermarket used to have a lot of working-class customers from nearby Peabody and council flats (social housing) but they’ve all pretty much disappeared. Instead middle-class Barbican residents shop at Waitrose, rather than having to trail all the way to the M&S Foodhall on Moorgate! These days it’s the poor who have to trudge further for their food, they’re not jumping in cars and taxis like the owners of flats in the Barbican would. Scumsuckers!”
This comment floated back into my mind as I was cruising for Waitrose reduced price bargains (food that had reached its sell-by date) in the Canary Wharf branch yesterday. While doing this, I noticed the stupid slogans on a line of Waitrose “Cooks’ Ingredients”. One thing that particularly offended me was the strap-line “Discovered by Columbus” on their red chillies. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover the Americas, there were indigenous civilisations and peoples on the continent for thousands of years before he arrived. Columbus was an imperialist! Which leaves me wondering whether or not Waitrose care that the fraudulent claims carried on its chillies will piss many people off (mainly those too poor to do their main shopping in their chain). And just how much did the idiot who came up with this offensive piece of marketing spiel get paid for the inanity?
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!