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Death of an (honourable) Salesman

by gourmetpimpernel published on

A few weeks ago, listening to the news on the radio over breakfast, it was one tragic story after another, and then the newsreader added a pep to her tone with the line "...and now for some good news".

Rather than put a smile on my face, her final news snippet was the most tragic story of all, made worse because it was feted as a joyous event - Dealz, the discount retailer, had opened it's 17th outlet in the republic of Ireland. Where do I begin? This is a tragedy on so many levels, a tale without light.

Firstly I suggest that you look at their "grocery" page on their website. Jars of hot dogs, tins of "pork luncheon meat", pot noodles, chocolate and biscuits. Do we not care about what our nation is eating? Do we not care about the adverse effects on health caused by a diet of convenience food?

Next, look at the prices. Most items retail at €1.49. How will small independent retailers survive if they are loosing customers to these insanely cheap prices? And how can nutritional food be sold at such a low price? (Obviously it can't, nutrition is not for sale in Dealz).

Thirdly, look at the origin of most of the food. The milk is Bangor Maid milk from Co.Down, the meats are made by Struik Foods, a Dutch company, the sugar is made by Whitworths, a U.K. based company, all products that we produce (or produced, as the sugar beet factories have been closed in Ireland for some years) ourselves in Ireland. How do we expect our agricultural industry to grow when the opening of a retail outlet that sells mainly imported food products is hailed as a good thing?

Lastly, I refer to Dealz the great employer. Today's opening brings the number of jobs Dealz has created in Ireland to over 490. RTE journalist, Philip Boucher Hayes, in his documentary What's Ireland Eating(2011), showed that for every job created by a supermarket giant, 1.5 jobs are lost locally within 2-3 years. So you see, this is a tragic story. Dealz should not be lauded as a great employer or a positive business that will work for the good of the nation. Dealz, and the likes of Dealz, do nothing but harm everything and everyone in its path, from the customer who is now tucking into a sandwich of slice pan and tinned bacon, to the small local traders who are struggling to survive, to the nations economy.

I speak for Ireland, and the damage these discount retailers are doing to our economy, communities and health, but the same applies to all countries who allow these retailers to grow.

4 replies
Replied on

Great article - good reading, I grew up eating rabbit, ox kidney etc: all of the cheap cuts. I was so shocked to see they are now so expensive in a leading (Delia)! supermarket as they are considered trendy! I also feel the lack of schololing in teaching people / kids about food, crafts etc mea]ns they are distanced from things. But the greatest problem for many is lack of time. Work, running a house etc means people struggle to have the time to do proper cooking, crafting etc.

Replied on

I don't see the growth of these supermarkets as a result of the stubbornness of the Irish. From the Government down, these giant food suppliers are feted as welcome additions to communities. They are seen as great employers who give value back to the communities. When this message is being conveyed all around us here it is no wonder that these businesses are prospering.

We are being told daily in our newspapers how much Lidl, Aldi, Tesco and the likes are doing for our agricultural industry and for our country. All their print advertisements show green fields, Friesian cows and a smiling "Irish" farmers. My problem is that these companies are being encouraged and promoted by the Irish government and the Irish media. The government is interested in quick money and not in a sustainable local economy that will work for the good of the country years down the line.

People will, more often than not, seek out the better value. My hope is that the government and media will cease encouraging the supermarket bullies and highlight that, actually, spending a little more on local produce will give better value in the long run, sustaining jobs and communities and bringing back the hearts of towns and villages.

Replied on

I lived on the west coast of Ireland and was shocked to find how keen the locals were to see Tesco move in to our local towns.

Moving there from Sussex I was delighted to see independent shops; real butchers and fruiterers for instance.

Until i got the bill.

The Irish got VERY greedy when the tiger was roaring and haven't lost that sense of greed when times have got hard.

An irish friend was amazed when she saw 'yellow sticker' goods in Sainsbury's over here. She said that her 'local' supermarket (supervalu) would rather throw it away than offer a discount.

Ireland is just not used to competition. The man in the pub who smiles at you will happily rip you off over the counter.

Harsh but true.

In my opinion, the only reason that these discount stores are thriving (Aldi and Lidl included) is because the Irish are so stubborn.

Replied on

Strangely enough,Kerry Gold Butter is sold in the UK.

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