What effect does a supermarket have on local communities
Supermarket opportunism of the recession
Are supermarkets good or bad for local communities
When a large supermarket announces that it is drawing up plans to create a branch in a new town have you ever thought about the implications this will have for the local community of that town?
By local community i mean all of the smaller shops that offer a similar product range to that of the supermarket whether it be:
- Local Coffee shops
- Convenience stores
- Sweet shops
- Tea shops
- Stationary suppliers
- Video game stores
- News agencies
Not to mention the different services that supermarkets are now trying to cover such as pharmacies, pharmacists who have just completed their 4 year hard earned degree coming out of university and see that their degree is being undervalued reflected by the wages offered them working within a supermarket chain such as Tesco's or Sainsbury's.
We will be looking at arguments for and against the effects that a large supermarket has on local communities to ascertain if having so many in the long run is a good idea for our overall economy.
Say no to supermarkets
Arguments against the expansion of supermarkets
Remember that community spirit we used to have - In supermarkets there is very little sense of community. People go in, they buy, they leave. This lack of communication is seen as very damaging to us not only as individuals but perhaps most importantly to the rapidly vanishing community spirit that once thrived a few generations ago making our Country more introvert and individualistic.
Smaller shops can't compete - Large supermarkets open up their bigger stores away from the town centers. This attracts people away from the city center and into the suburbs, this has a huge impact on the high street. It is estimated that around 50 smaller shops are closing every week in the United kingdom because of the opening of supermarkets.
Supermarkets only offer superficial choice - They take away the choice of the consumer by making it impossible for smaller niche businesses to survive. Supermarkets like to tell us that they have a huge range of products however what they do is prey on consumer ignorance, for example yes supermarkets sell fruit and vegetables however you are less likely to find locally produced seasonal products in a supermarket than you would be in a local fruit and vegetables store. Smaller stores have a wide selection of one particular product whereas supermarkets will have only a few of that particular product for sale giving the consumer less choice overall.
Money for the rich, less for the poor - While supermarkets do create jobs, the spread of wealth is greatly diminished. Now if somebody is to own their own coffee shop then they could look forward to £20,000 - £30,000+ annually, if that same person works for the cafe in a large supermarket then they will only earn £15,000 with the rest of what they should be earning going to the chairmen and director's of supermarkets.
Supermarkets are worse for our health and for the environment - Supermarkets sell a lot of product and they have to keep their products fresh for long periods of time, this means that they have to process their food supply. Food processing is well known for having adverse effects on our health leading to heart problems, higher risk of cancer, more prone to illnesses as well as simply not getting as much nutrition out of what we eat.
The reason that supermarkets are bad for the environment is that as previously discussed they will generally be built in rural suburbs which will then mean that cars will be needed for people to reach them.
Arguments for Supermarket growth
Supermarkets can revitalize communities - I live next to a road called Seaforth road in Liverpool, United Kingdom, for years this road and the surrounding area had become a ghost town with very few businesses operating on it. A well - known supermarket chain opened up next to the road and almost instantaneously (within a few months) the surrounding community began to pick up, new shops opened up offering some very good and niche products, new services where being offered and most importantly there was a huge influx of people coming into the road which means plenty of potential customers to be had. This shows that supermarkets can be a very good thing for local communities that have lost their way a bit, it gives smaller businesses the customers that they require to sell their products or services.
They can keep up with the demand of population growth - While shopping locally when we can is great can you imagine if everyone did that? The smaller businesses would never be able to meet the demands of our huge population levels in most of our bigger cities and its suburbs. Put bluntly, we need large supermarkets to bring in the amount of product that they do because if they didn't some of us would be going without food for a while.
Supermarkets create jobs - Many of us are aware that finding employment is a lot harder these days. Supermarkets bring us jobs that anyone can do without any real training, of course the wage offered is truly pathetic in comparison to many other positions but at least it's a step in the right direction for those of us who have no formal qualifications or experience.
They cater for our fast paced lives - As opposed to shopping around all day for different products we can generally find all we need in one supermarket. Nobody wants to waste time shopping anymore and supermarkets have begun to make it even easier for us by allowing us to shop on line, having our goods delivered to our homes which is something most smaller businesses do not yet provide.
Supermarkets can offer product at a cheaper price - Basically when you buy wholesale the more you buy the cheaper you can get it for. Supermarkets have the capital to buy huge amounts of product meaning that they can sell it for cheaper than the smaller businesses who can't compete with the amount of stock being bought.
Public vote on supermarkets
Do you think that the opening of a supermarket will have a negative impact on the local community?
Sad but true
Supermarkets are a necessary evil. They offer ludicrously unjustified salary deficits between the workers and the top brass of the company which has a difference of something like 600:1 in ratio, legal daylight robbery happening right before our eyes. Only slightly more than one hundred years ago was it the norm for the workers to own the factory they worked in and the difference in wages was only around 20:1 in ratio, unfortunately what we have now is a system that caters for an elite few to horde money for their own pockets and families while the rest of us struggle to live day to day.
Having said that, we rely on supermarkets to get by. If they all disappeared overnight then there would be a worldwide famine for the western world. Hopefully with time we will become less and less reliant on the bigger supermarkets meaning we can start to spread the wealth out a bit more evenly, if not then soon we will all become literal slaves to the elite few of the world.