Financial transactions are as much about building relationships as they are spending money, so I have to admit, I do get a little peeved when I spend money and then feel disrespected by the company I’ve paid.
A few years ago we used to buy our food from the local superstore. We’d spend on average around £4500 a year there.
I’ve shopped with this superstore for my entire adult life and therefore spent in the region of £76500 in their premises.
But then I noticed their quality had dropped. The apples in the store were bruised. The tins were getting more dented. The tortilla wraps had begun sticking together, the pitta bread had holes in them and they had begun to have items they used to have in stock, regularly out of stock.
I wrote to the local branch. Three weeks later, when they hadn’t replied, so I wrote to their Head Office. Funnily enough, they didn’t reply either. So I assumed that perhaps ignoring customer’s complaints was now company policy. I also noticed that nothing had improved in the store.
I suppose my £4500 a year is quite small compared to their annual profit of £2.65 billion. And I suppose losing my custom doesn’t really mean that much to them.
However, this got me thinking…
I’d been wrestling with food miles and the environmental stuff for quite some time. I know that my veg, even if grown locally will probably go to somewhere like Germany to get packaged before it will return to the UK and go on a shelf.
I know all this is not good for the environment. I know how superstores are now able to dictate pricing to suppliers and even influence town planning. I don’t necessarily like the idea of 180 new superstores being opened in the UK in the next 18 months. But I do accept there are some benefits to having these stores as part of the diversity of our culture.
But having said all that, when a company fails to value the relationship with a customer, then the customer is probably right to review the relationship with the company.
So I considered the food miles and the environment and the growth of the superstores and came to the conclusion… It was time to grow my own food, get my own chickens, shop where it is most convienients and buy local.
When we spend money in our my local economy, most of it stays in your local economy, but when you spend it at a superstore, very little of it returns.
Since I live in the countryside and am surrounded by farmers – some of whom I know – I’d prefer to line their pockets than people who do not value my relationship with them.
I’d love to know your take on this.