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Not So much Super as All Consuming

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suze
379149.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:24 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
The oldest trade mark is the Bass Pale Ale red triangle from 1876.


I guess you were referring to Britain here - in which case that does indeed seem to be the received wisdom.

As for the oldest trade mark in the world, it just might be from Poland. The Wieliczka salt mine near Kraków claims to have been using the same trade mark since 1241 - although the mine closed last year after almost eight hundred years.

 
tetsabb
379156.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:40 am Reply with quote

While not a patch on suze's salty Poles, does this

not predate Messrs Bass?

 
suze
379161.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:54 am Reply with quote

Possibly not, as it goes. According to many many places on the Interweb, the harp logo was introduced in 1862 - but faced the other way until an unspecified later date.

Also, a question which I'm asking because I don't know the answer - was Guinness readily available outside Ireland at that time?

 
tetsabb
379164.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:02 pm Reply with quote

First exported to England 1769, a mere 10 years after the foundation of the brewery.
Thanks to http://www.beeripedia.com/index.php/Guinness

 
Davini994
379170.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:14 pm Reply with quote

Maybe the problem that some have is with the power that these corporations wield both up and down the supply chain. These claims would centre around the way that they can put pressure on suppliers, e.g. farmers, and smaller businesses in the area.

Is this to the benefit of the general populace? Perhaps, perhaps not. We don't have to shop there though do we.

 
Neotenic
379178.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:26 pm Reply with quote

Are supermarkets not just the most elegant solution to the supply problems that arise from a rapidly expanding population and diversifying workforce?

I'm sure there was a point in history where the greengrocer was the cutting edge of retail - is anyone aware of any historical resistance to going to a single outlet to buy all of one's fresh produce, rather than to a market or visiting the individual farmers themselves?

 
Davini994
379182.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:31 pm Reply with quote

No complaints from me on that Neo.

As I say though, moving to a handful of big corporations buying so much of the farm produce, and providing so much of the retail acreage debatably has some negative effects. Hasn't there been quite a few fines due to collusion on price setting and unfair business practices over the last few years? As a dyed in the wool capitalist do you not agree?

 
barbados
379199.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:49 pm Reply with quote

I think the farmer to greengrocer was a bit before our time Neo.
As for the negative effects, you only need to look at the choice available at the supermarket. Try the fishmongers vs the fish counter at Tescos, John Dory is a rather tasty fish, albeit not very popular. Your fishmonger will be able to get you a couple of fillets, Tesco fish counter will just tell you they don't have it and it isn't something they will get sent.

That's how the choice is affected, if the fishmonger is forced to close because he can't compete on the stock items, mackerel, Trout, Tuna etc. You now have less choice.

 
cornixt
379225.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Two or three years ago, I picked a tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (yes, silly name). Except it wasn't that. It was the Tesco version called This Can't be Butter in the exact same colours and font. They had "mysteriously" sold out of the aforementioned butter substitute and they still didn't have any for the next few weeks.

Yes I bought it, and it was okay. My wife did most of the shopping so I don't think we ever had it again after that.

 
Neotenic
379238.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:45 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Hasn't there been quite a few fines due to collusion on price setting and unfair business practices over the last few years?


Oh yes - plenty. But price fixing cartels aren't exclusively supermarkets, nor exclusively multinational corporations. It's more a facet of human nature than big business, if you ask me.

Quote:
I think the farmer to greengrocer was a bit before our time Neo.


What, even yours? ;-)

I'm still curious about the thought though - whether or not there was, in effect, a historical equivalent of the anti-globalisation movement. Maybe I'll have a hunt around later.

Quote:
That's how the choice is affected, if the fishmonger is forced to close because he can't compete on the stock items, mackerel, Trout, Tuna etc. You now have less choice.


To respond to both this and Davini's point about 'negative effects' above, I think that part of the problem we have in the moment is a rather sentimental view of local businesses.

I'm not going to deny that there have been instances where local businesses have been forced out of business by a hulking great Tesco opening up, but how many small businesses closed simply because they weren't very well run?

The point about John Dory is a good one, though - as it proves that as long as there is a demand for speciality fish, then someone will step up to supply it. True, not [i]every[/] business can be saved, but it would be fallacious to carry the trend line all the way down to zero on the 'number of fishmongers' axis. The market may well be smaller, but it will still exist.

And as we all know, it is not the survival of the fittest, but those most adaptable to change - and small business can be very adaptable. Owners canny enough to spot a niche in the market may well do very well for themselves - well enough to end up being hated. After all, it was only 80 years ago that there was only one Tesco.

 
djgordy
379239.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:47 pm Reply with quote

<sings along>

"One Tesco, there's only one Tesco....."

 
Davini994
379249.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:57 pm Reply with quote

Neo wrote:
And as we all know, it is not the survival of the fittest, but those most adaptable to change

Debatable in the current marketplace.

 
Ion Zone
379432.  Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:29 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Except it wasn't that. It was the Tesco version called This Can't be Butter in the exact same colours and font.


This is exactly what I mean, nearly copyright infringment, but not quite. It's like the joke brands you get in the Beano.

The thing is, instead of circling between customer, local shop, and producer, all our money is now heading in one direction. And simple maths will tell you this can't go on forever. And voting with your feet is usualy no longer an option becuse while you wern't looking, the supermarkets were using loss-leaders to price almost every other shop out of existance.

You only have to visit a country were they are less prevelent to see what I mean. Africa is a good example, streets upon streets of small shops and market stalls where you can buy anything.

And yet they are invading even there. reducing the entire world to a single colour.

In fact, look at this photo of the sphinx and see if you can tell what that shop with the red sign is...

Give up?

It isn't fake.

 
Neotenic
379467.  Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:26 am Reply with quote

Quote:
And voting with your feet is usualy no longer an option becuse while you wern't looking, the supermarkets were using loss-leaders to price almost every other shop out of existance.


As I said upthread, I do not believe that the supermarkets will ever completely take-over.

A good example from recent history is that of major record labels.

In the mid-to-late nineties, there were grave portents of doom about the increasing consolidation and power of the major record labels. the cry went out - soon will come a day when the only way artists will be able to be heard is to cosy up with a major. Doom doom doom.

But then the internet happened, and the market changed significantly. Now, anyone with the time and inclination to record some tunes can be heard by anyone with the time and inclination to seek them out, and the majors (EMI in particular) are suddenly standing on much shakier ground. Little indie labels can reach as many people, or at least more of the right people, as any hulking conglomerate, and can do so with significantly lower overheads.

I confidently expect that something similar, although obviously not identical, will happen to the food retail market at some point. Again, I think I mentioned upthread that one potential outcome is that rising oil prices bring about a change in the dynamics of the supply chain (and public sentiment) make localised business more viable whilst robbing national chains of their competitive advantage.

A reduction in disposable income could also result in a shift away from a disposable culture, where people would rather pay £15 for a single, decent quality t-shirt than £15 for three shit ones that fall apart or fade after four washes, which could favour the small, independent clothesmaker over Primark or George.

Obviously, current market conditions mean that some companies - both large and small - could easily go to the wall, but the market is no place for sentimentality if you ask me - if it was, we'd all still be buying HD DVD's out of sympathy as well as Blu-Ray ones.

 
Davini994
379479.  Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:14 am Reply with quote

Excellent, so we *all* agree that a handful of large multinationals supplying all our shopping needs is less desirable than a marketplace where variety can thrive.

However, some of us think that the market will return to an advantagious situation in some currently unknown way, and some aren't so sure.

[/tongue firmly in cheek]

 

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