Anti-Capitalist Shop Closure Wish List

After 806 Woolworths shops closed their doors in the UK over the past few days, which British high street chain will be the next to go? According to “December 29, 2008: “Begbies Traynor, the insolvency expert, predicted only days before Christmas that up to 15 retail chains would crumble by the middle of January… PwC has already calculated that 4,000 empty shops will appear on Britain’s high streets if only 10 per cent of the nation’s retailers hit financial problems over the next 12 months.” What would you like to see go first? Here’s my anti-capitalist top ten wish list!

  1. MacDonalds. Consensus means that inevitably this has to top the list of chains anti-capitalists would like to go bankrupt! Unfortunately its franchising system makes this unlikely. But junk food is ruining both children’s health and the planet. Alongside MacDonalds, I’d also be very happy to see Burger King and Starbucks go to too.
  2. Countrywide. This is the UK’s biggest estate agents with about 30 different brands under its umbrella including Gascoigne Pees and Bairstow Eves. Economists are suggesting that house prices haven’t started falling properly yet, based on historical precedent it looks like they ought to fall 30 percent before long. It would be great to see even more estate agents going out of business and ordinary people getting access to decent housing.
    3.  Somerfield. A big supermarket chain going bust would really send out the message that capitalism doesn’t service our needs. The Icelandic banking crisis seems to have left the Co-Op take over of Somerfield in limbo. Loosing Waitrose, food retailer to the middle-classes, would be a groove sensation too!
  3. Marks & Spenser. You can only rely on the elastic in M&S underwear as long as the retailer is in business; the closure of this chain would really put middle-class knickers in a twist.
  4. Barclays Bank. It ought to be number one with a bullet, but down at number 5 because of the bail outs. And I only choose Barclays rather than another banking chain because of anti-apartheid campaigns against them in the past and the fact that Barclays (Bank) is Cockney rhyming slang for wank. The closure of all banks and the abolition of money is what I actually favour. According to Wikipedia: “Barclays PLC is ranked as the 25th largest company in the world according to Forbes Global 2000 (2008 list) and the fourth largest financial services provider in the world according to Tier 1 capital ($32.5 billion). It is the second largest bank in the United Kingdom based on asset size.”
  5. Waterstones. This book chain is a typical example of the pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap mentality.  In terms of prose fiction in the UK what makes money is what big publishers pay to push in the windows and on the front tables of this chain. Getting rid of Waterstones, and hopefully W. H. Smith at the same time, would do a great deal to create a more level playing field amongst novelists, instead of everything being so over-loaded in favour of the literary establishment’s lackeys. Additionally many branches of Waterstones also host Costa Coffee or Starbucks coffee shops, so you’re not just getting rid of a book chain, you’re also nailing corporate cafes at the same time!
  6. Blockbuster. This video/DVD/game rental store holds such a dominant position in the market it has been able to get the movie business to self-censor itself. With the rise of the internet any retail outlet specialising in games, DVDs and CDs is potentially in trouble; viz the demise of Tower Records, MVC/EA Music, Music Zone, Fopp (although seven flagship stores are still trading under HMV ownership) and now Zavvi (formerly Virgin Records).
  7. Argos/Homebase (both owned by Home Retail Group). Go to Argos and you have to queue twice, once to order the product and again to collect it from a counter. Absolutely pointless, especially in an age of internet shopping. Meanwhile Homebase is every bit as bad as B&Q, but a little bit more expensive.
  8. JJB Sports. This company has indulged in price fixing and sells overpriced branded sportswear, so if they disappeared from the UK high street, the loss would be to their shareholders.
  9. Tie Rack. This chain retails ties, scarves, cuff-links and other disgusting looking shit you’d never want to own. Their stores are small but always irritating, especially when you see one in a train station or airport, where somehow they annoy even more than on the high street. The closure of Tie Rack would definitely make the world a better place!
    So this is my top ten shop closure wish list. Use to the comments below to let us all know where you’d like to see the credit crunch bite next in the retail sector!
    And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!
    green coffee 800


Comment by Sharon on 2009-01-05 16:37:08 +0000

I like the list and can we add from the other side of the pond….
also, have you noticed how Obama’s selections for cabinet are slowly being targeted and smeared? The puppet strings are being tightened….

Comment by Mister Trippy on 2009-01-05 16:45:44 +0000

Yeah..I’ve been getting smeared myself…it’s as if Obama’s relatives are jealous of his presidency and trying to throw a spaniard in the works. I’ve been up all night replying to all my colleagues in the House of Representatives and they’re pissed I can tell you (although things improved when we ran out of mixers at about 3AM)

Comment by Phina on 2009-01-05 17:36:07 +0000

I agree with that list, but I have to add Tesco and HSBC, but then I just have vendettas against them so I would.

Comment by PronetoClone on 2009-01-05 18:14:05 +0000

Indirect advertising… Shame, Trippy!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-01-05 18:26:23 +0000

subscribers who go to the subscription button within the next thirty seconds and press ‘SUBSCRIBE’ will also be subscribed FREE OF CHARGE to my subscription service

Comment by PronetoClone on 2009-01-05 18:51:56 +0000

Subscribers who go to the subscription button and press UNSUBSCRIBE within the next 24 hrs will get a 80% bonus coupon.
Tie Rack

Comment by Mister Trippy on 2009-01-05 19:31:55 +0000

Oh! Maybe I’m a stalker….. but if noone is who they say they are then what? Maybe I’ll just take my dripping thighs elsewhere…..

Comment by PronetoClone on 2009-01-05 21:11:12 +0000

get back, Michael

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-01-05 21:34:54 +0000

But without these fine establishments, what would I do with my life? I guess it’s back to those MySpace phishing scams for me.

Comment by Michael K on 2009-01-05 21:40:23 +0000

Show them you’re a subscriber by subscribing now…it only takes seconds to subscribe and then you’re subscribed!

Comment by Bunny on 2009-01-05 21:51:33 +0000

But isn’t Waitrose part of the ‘Workers Coop’ that is the John Lewis ‘Partnership’.
John Lewis bequeathed his company to his employees, and getting perks like grouse shooting, as well as profit share. Does there workplace democracy cut the mustard? Are they less alienated? Does it contain the seeds of new that will grow in shell of the old? Is ownership where it is at or …..

Comment by PronetoClone on 2009-01-05 22:00:09 +0000

very well then

Comment by Michael K on 2009-01-05 22:07:35 +0000

Yes…like many of our subscribers who subscribed early, you subscribed early!!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-06 01:54:28 +0000

Yes Waitrose is part of 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! Indirect advertising? I heard that people writing about places doing badly recently has been the final nail in the coffin that put some chains out of business! Oh and wished for chain deaths from around the world are welcome!

Comment by marmitelover on 2009-01-06 02:23:15 +0000

Carphone Warehouse. Fucking hate them.
Disagree about Waitrose. The food is good. I’m a foodie. I can only afford to go there as a treat though. The problem is the price. If it were cheaper then the working classes would shop there.
We don’t want to make everyone second class, we want to make everyone first class surely.
But even Tesco’s is bloody expensive. A box of Guylian chocs was double the price that it was in Iceland (the supermarket not the country).

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-06 04:08:11 +0000

Oh I was fed up in Lidl the other day coz a packet of green tea had gone up from 80p to £1.20 (might as well have bought it in Tesco when I had the opportunity but I’d put it off coz it had been cheaper at Lidl), and I drink a lot of green tea when I’m not drinking black coffee…. or single malts! I agree with you about the food in Waitrose, and if you’re on the Isle of Dogs the one at Canary Wharf does good reductions if you know when to go… otherwise it is Asda on the IOD. But I’ve tried finding reductions in the Whitecross Street Waitrose largely without luck despite constantly varying the times I try scouting it out….

Comment by kncln on 2009-01-06 06:35:19 +0000

world wide working class control now baby and while you’re (not) at it have a trip on me

Comment by kncln on 2009-01-06 06:54:58 +0000

? Buffett, Warren
? Helú, Carlos Slim
? Gates, Bill
? Mittal, Lakshmi
? Ambani, Mukesh
? Ambani, Anil
? Akhmetov, Rinat
? Kamprad, Ingvar
? Pal Singh, Kushal
? Deripaska, Oleg

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-06 14:10:17 +0000

Yeah, there are plenty around at the moment who need to try suicide to see if it will make them last longer…..

Comment by Martin C on 2009-01-06 17:22:52 +0000

For me, estate agents would be number 1, every time. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to burn those Foxtons minis, rubbing it in everyone’s faces. They offend me more than a Big Mac ever could.
River Island, purely cos they used to hose down homeless people who had the audacity to kip in their doorways during winter with cold water. Ditto Pizza Hut, who used to squirt bleach over any unsold food they dumped out the back. I don’t know if either still engage in these vile practices, but I’ve never gone to either since (I wouldn’t wear the crap that River Island produce anyway)
Philip Morris. Purely cos it’d help me give me up smoking!
Oh and Tursa Records, of course…

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-06 17:38:22 +0000

Oooh nice list!

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-06 21:00:12 +0000

I’d like to add Oprah to that suicide list please…

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-06 23:25:41 +0000

Toot toot!

Comment by Vivian Kilbride on 2009-01-07 21:33:54 +0000

My cat’s favourite food is Waitrose Senior which is a nuisance as I don’t live near one. But I would add Boots as I once accompanied a relative to court and saw a woman being charged for stealing a small bottle of baby Ribena from there. I have to confess I used to like Big Macs but I managed to stop eating them by telling myself they were made of cows bottoms and eyelids. Which they are…

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-01-08 04:37:21 +0000

Some restaurants are selling it with one slice of cheese instead of two, and billing it as a “double hamburger with cheese.” Others are offering a double hamburger without cheese.

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-01-08 09:44:20 +0000

Oh I’d quite happily see ALL stores go down and the buildings levelled to make room for people to gather and barter their wares. Yeah!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-08 13:30:12 +0000

Even the veggie burgers in those chains taste bad…. what we need is some neo-Diggers handing out free food at the Panhandle, erm, I mean outside The Foundry on the junction of Old and Great Eastern Streets…. Anti-capitalism, it’s a groove sensation!

Comment by Steve Davies on 2009-01-08 22:25:16 +0000

Oh Marks and Spencers… don’t they give loads of cash to the Israeli government or something? They can go though I’ll miss the wine section…
I’m sort of with you on Waterstones though I quite like their store by Exeter Cathedral (I can usually pick up a few Dalkey Archives and cool imports there).
The thing is if Waterstones went bust would lots of little indie bookshops jump up in their place? I doubt it. I reckon the only place you’d be able to buy a book would be WH Smiths or Asda. Imagine that….
Argos only exist to satisfy the British public’s love of queuing.
I’ll add Asda and Millets to the wishlist.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-01-08 23:08:08 +0000

oh the Notting Hill Waterstones is also good and the guys behind it very nice… but I’m talking about the effect of the chain as a whole, not specific aspects of it or people in it I happen to like… indie shops ae unlikely to replace it… people will be getting stuff on the net…. and nice adds!

Comment by ben on 2009-03-05 07:37:08 +0000

What about all the people who would loose their jobs? I’m sure you are a student or something, who will probably go on to run your dads company, so get off your high horse you prick

Comment by ben on 2009-03-05 07:43:25 +0000

remember, we are all deeply implicated in world wide networks of capital. It’s total hypocrisy to reject certain retail outlets. We use money, electricity, have bank accounts, own computers. Picking certain nodes of global capitalism is pointless. We are all part of the problem, not just a few ‘bad’ retail stores. Its noy us and them. Its us. period. we are all part of the problem, so shut the fuck up ‘mistertrippy’. (and oh yeah – psychedelic drugs – also part of the network of money, crime, politics to).

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-03-05 11:09:11 +0000

Marx explained it much better with the theory of alienation, viz we all reproduce our own alienation under captialism. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t struggle against alienation. As for the cheap jibe about being a student, I’m not, and likewise there is no family business for me to take over. And psychedelic drugs – like everything else – are obviously commodified in a capitalist society, but they won’t be in a communist society – there won’t be any workers in a communist society either, coz the working class is the class that abolishes itself. You should drop more acid, it would improve your dialectics!

Comment by lionsze on 2009-03-30 19:26:45 +0000

agree with your list, but unfortunately loads of jobs will be gone if these chains disappear as well…Maybe try if you can think of a list of ‘big brands’ that deserve to stay?
I found your article as I was searching for ‘anti’ and ‘wh smith’…
bascially I was disappointed that WHSmith has been very sneakly LOWERED THE QUALITY of their notepads, AND ALSO increase the price – for the narrow ruled pad it had been £1.99 (70gsm 150sheets) for years and now it is £2.19 (70gsm 100sheets of ‘as-rough-as-recycled-paper’ paper).
I just feel like I need to tell the world – WHSmith has really gone downhill and is REALLY annoying/upsetting/disappointing some long term customers like me :'(

Comment by Officer Dibble on 2009-03-31 09:27:04 +0000

These pseudo-commies who seriously believe that the working class will rise up, seize control of their cable TV provider and start producing propaganda broadcasts that will rally a great mass of people to take back the streets have clearly been watching too many Michael Winner films (and who can blame them as they’re fantastic).
Believing in the Communist Revolution that will someday come is precisely the same phenomenon as believing Jesus will come and save the world.
Whatever replaces capitalism is evolving from action not theory. You won’t find it in a book. So my advice to you young people is stop eating sweets and consequently filling the pockets of the dentists who continue to rule the world from behind their secretaries’ smart customer service routines.

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