Thursday, 19 March 2015

"Welcome to your ASDA"

I don't tend to shop in Asda. I've been put off whenever I've gone in there: it's usually incredibly full of rude and aggressive people! And their stock control is very poor. I also don't like the use of red and yellow labels and the fact a huge amount of their products seem to be rounded up/down to the nearest pound. How can that be an accurate figure of costs + a bit of profit?

However, I walk past the local Asda twice a day and sometimes need something urgently and don't have time to go to the next nearest shop that sells whatever that is. Last night was such an occasion and whilst there, I spotted this:

The cynic in me scoffed and thought it would be mildly humorous to try to leave the store with lots of things I hadn't paid for, pretending I believed this meaningless bullcrap. Then I thought I could express what MY Asda would actually be like, if I suddenly ended up owning the ruinous behemoth.

So here are a few of the things I would change if Asda really was mine:

1) Stop shafting producers. Sell cheap produce if you must but label it as such and also have a different range where producers are paid a decent amount - and label that as such too. Then shoppers will make an informed choice: some will only be able to afford the cheap option and many who can afford the better product will choose to continue shafting farmers etc. But some will choose the more producer-friendly option.

2) Offer good-quality meat. For example, very few people these days buy barn eggs but most still buy standard, intensively-farmed chicken. It's often very difficult to get hold of free-range alternatives but some people are willing to pay the extra. Again, label it as such - perhaps even with photos of where the meat comes from.

3) Stop offers on very unhealthy food and have some offers on more healthy, fresh and less processed options. Healthy options cost a lot more and people will inevitably choose the cheap, salty, sugary processed products anyway so there is no need for extra offers on top.

4) Work with and promote local shops. I've seen Asdas that have taken over whole towns. Inside, you can find banks, shoe shops, key cutters, charity shops, chemists, opticians, even GP surgeries, and all sorts of things that should be on the high street instead of hidden inside these huge hangar-like beige and grey monstrosities that blight the view from streets away. I can see our local Asda from our bedroom window, even though it's a mile away and has many streets of houses and churches in between - and it's not even a big Asda store. If it really was MY Asda, I would want to keep the local community alive with proper shops, amenities, pubs/bars etc rather than the betting shops, pawnbrokers and payday lenders, charity shops, takeaways and one or two other struggling businesses that aren't starved out of existence.

Yes, MY Asda would quickly lose profits but it would still make money, and contrary to popular thought, you don't have to be the biggest at what you do. If it really was my Asda, it would be really quite different.

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