Tesco, youthful automotive pursuers and vandalism

Shopping has always been one of my least preferred pursuits (due evolutionary reasons. I read in a journal that entering a shop triggers the male self preservatory ‘fight or flight’ response) and I didn’t pay much heed to recent discussions on the Shetlink forum on the subject of the ever proliferate Tesco’s move, or perhaps incursion, to Lerwick.

But I’ve been intrigued, and slightly concerned, by the level of delight and sometimes ire that the subject has triggered amongst forum contributors. A poll on Shetlink shows that 60% of Shetlinkers are in favour of Tesco’s, mainly due to the promise of reduced prices and an apparent increase in choice, but those who decry the retail behemoth point to Tesco’s track record of fowl foul play and substandard reimbursement of suppliers.

Reports of people queuing outside and six figure takings on opening day invoke images of mania in the isles with patrons anxiously bagging bargains. But I suppose as a working single man with a lone pie hole to satiate, the consequence of a couple of pence difference on a tin of beans eludes me and fails to excite. Perhaps if the Lounge or Thule were to follow Tesco’s suit by instigating a loyalty card scheme and providing a £10 token I’d be as enthusiastic as the Tesco aficionados.

And whilst local shops are set to suffer there seems to be little in the way of sympathy for them due to the perception of years of inflated prices and poor service. I for one try to use local shops whenever possible as I’d rather my shiny sixpence stayed in the Shetland economy than lined the pockets of far-flung supermarket shareholders. A crude economic assessment perhaps, but it’s a concession to my jingoistic facet.

Whilst I’m not particularly partisan, I must admit that I felt a peculiar creeping pride when I read that Shetland ‘beat’ Orkney in the trading tumult with £12,000 more being spent here than on Tesco’s opening day in Kirkwall last week. Supermarket Sweeping could be an Inter County event.

One Shetlink user recently tabled the idea that the age limit for obtaining a driving license should be raised or engine sizes limited for less experienced drivers due to the unanodyne antics of boy/girl racers (“youthful automotive pursuers” in P.C. terminology). As another user helpfully suggested, perhaps a large steel spike in the centre of the steering wheel might be a supplementary safe driving incentive.

Shetlink patrons are considering councillor’s proposals that the Clickimin Broch should have 24hr CCTV coverage (in a kind of Pictish Big Brother style) due to disaffected youths damaging the ancient edifice. One forum user noted analogous examples from England where adolescent sabotage has been averted by playing Classical music over loudspeakers in the affected areas.

Apparently the strains of Vivaldi is unhip enough to drive away the teenage wrongdoers. I think it would be a splendid idea; Antonio’s quixotic tones would have added a certain romantic ambience to the games of ‘kiss, cuddle or torture’ of which I partook at the Picts Castle as a lad. ‘Bacio, abbraccio o la tortura’ anyone?

Come sempre, si può discutere qualsiasi degli articoli di questo mese a www.shetlink.com

Article for Shetland Life magazine – August 2008