Fancy getting your legs waxed? Just pop along to Tesco (6 November 2011)

It won’t be long until you can spend an entire day in a supermarket without leaving for anything.  This statement comes after the news that supermarket giant Tesco, is planning to open, within their supermarkets, hairdressers, as well as some beauty treatments like spray tanning and waxing among other things.  

If you think that will never happen, then think again.  It’s already happened in 6 stores south of the border in England.

As a person of a certain age I remember two scenarios from my young days.  The first is visiting my grandmother who was always “just off out to the shops”.  So I would go with her.  We’d spend most of the morning trooping along a street visiting a baker for fresh bread, the butcher for fresh meat, the fishmonger for tomorrow’s tea, the sweetie shop, the grocers for potatoes and veg.  It all took an absolute age.  Not because you had to go from one shop to another but because grandmother knew the shopkeeper in every single shop.  Spouses and children were asked about, general chat was exchanged (OK – read gossip there) and this happened from shop to shop.  It was great.

The other scenario was shopping with my mother.  We went to a supermarket (remember Fine Fare?).  Not these great behemoths we have nowadays but basically a bigger version of a general store or convenience store.  The difference being that these places offered more choice in brands.  

It’s no secret that supermarkets desecrated the high streets.  Offering cheap prices and more variety the supermarkets, and the rise of them, have seen grocers, butchers and small bakers close across the country and now they want to do the same to beauty salons.  Offering haircuts and leg waxes cheap will, over time, mean the demise of hair and beauty salons.

Do we really want this? It might seem convenient to be able to get your nails done in the same place as you buy your cornflakes but is it really?

Supermarkets are already selling clothes and every electrical item you might need.  They sell bed sheets, crockery, medications.  There really isn’t much they don’t sell already.  Supermarkets are actually turning into small department stores.

There was talk, a while ago, about GP services being available in supermarkets.  So is this really the future? You can spend your entire day in Tesco’s.  Have your breakfast in the cafe, get your hair cut, visit the doctor, collect your prescription, do your banking, have lunch, get your nails done, legs waxed, get something dry-cleaned, do some shopping, have dinner, put your lottery on and go home.  

What happened to enjoying a stroll along the street visiting several shops, or better yet, window browsing.  

The future is, if supermarkets control everything then the quality of what they produce becomes less.  We certainly don’t want, nor need that.