Tesco triumphant . . .

A year ago were discussing fitfully whether we should try having groceries from Tesco via their home delivery service. We could both see that it would avoid the business of having a trolley load of stuff to unload and reload at the check-out, then to unload and put away once we got home. But somehow, in typical procrastinators’ fashion we just never quite got around to it.

Then came the coronavirus, and self isolation, and suddenly home delivery was no longer a labour saving luxury, but the lifeline by which we might live. There were initial difficulties because Tesco themselves were overwhelmed by demand, but also because we were novices to the web site, which like many web sites, does the job splendidly once you have learnt your way around it, but has pitfalls for the untutored. Fortunately for us, our son and his partner, miles away in Lincolnshire, were able to put us right where we were going wrong, and also to point us towards facilities that we did not know existed.

This morning, a few minutes ago, I booked our next delivery for the 11th of February on a chart of that week’s dates which was empty. This is a measure of the way in which Tesco reacted to the situation (nearly a year ago now) because back then we were sitting up till midnight waiting for Tesco to put up the next new day, and then jumping in to book a time and date wherever we could.

It is fashionable these days to criticise supermarkets for their alleged crimes against humanity, but few people seem to acknowledge that they are really the nation’s food suppliers. They feed us. There are of course those famous High Street shops, so beloved of journalists, but quite incapable of feeding a whole Nation, and Farm Shops, which also do a good job but whose total contribution to overall food supply is small. The other piece of this jigsaw, never mentioned, are seafarers. It is as though, living on an island we avoid anything which reminds us of that fact. At the moment lorry drivers and fishermen are getting lots of coverage, but shipping is never mentioned unless it is a supertanker going aground and leaking oil. The men and women who crew these things, and are often very badly treated by their employers might as well not exist.

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