Monday 17 December 2012

Cameron Off With The Fairies Again

I want to tell you a story.

I once knew a guy who was a very well-paid buyer for a major supermarket. He wasn't around much, mostly taking flights to places like Brazil and the Philippines, and occasionally very hard-to-reach places like Senegal. Hard-to-reach because he was entitled to fly business class and some of the backwaters he went to involved tortuous journeys in economy. Oh, the inhumanity!

He would tell me about his trips when he was in the pub back in blighty, along with the luxuries he was treated to by those who were begging for an order.

He has played golf at Pebble Beach, for free; sampled 150 year old Armagnac at three Michelin star restaurants, for free; and been wined, dined and generally made to feel like a God the world over ... for free. I don't see him much these days since he moved to North Africa to oversee the company's acquisition of a major indigenous supermarket chain.

However, wherever he is, if he was reading the Telegraph online on Friday, I'm sure he would have had a right chuckle over David Cameron's stunning lack of understanding of the retail market.
Families like mine pay more for food to subsidise binge drinking, says David Cameron 
Middle class families are being charged more for every day food in supermarkets to subsidise cheap alcohol deals for binge drinkers, David Cameron has said.
Timmy has already described why his credulous opinions are desperately flawed, while Leg Iron and Mudgie have had some fun with the article too, but why not just add this little nugget, eh?

You see, what do you reckon my pal was buying? Meat, perhaps? Vegetables? Was he overseeing the frozen food buying policy?

No, he bought tuna. Not fresh tuna, either, that was someone else's job. Tinned tuna. Crab was the task of someone else too, as was salmon and pilchards. He only bought tinned tuna for just one supermarket. But when he finally put in an order, it was in the tens of millions of pounds ... per couple of months.

He did this because he knew the price of a tin of tuna, and what would be the price most favourable for buying the tuna. He didn't ever ring up a guy who buys alcohol and ask how much leeway he had to buy the tuna. He. Just. Bought. Tinned. Tuna.

I really believe Cameron is struggling to understand the vastness of supermarket budgets and how they don't pre-dispose themselves towards puerile, simplistic theories such as the one he has allowed himself to be quoted on in public. Giving away big bucks in selling alcohol compromises each and every one of the many supermarket buyers of every chain. No matter the economies of scale, supermarkets would find it mind-fuckingly complicated to attempt playing around with margins on every food item they sell just to give chavs a cheap ride on alcohol.

What's more, he bases his entire opinion on the 'evidence' provided by that renowned global economist Dr Chris Record, a liver specialist from Newcastle University. Someone who isn't even aware of his own area of expertise, let alone that of others.
“Alcohol consumption in the UK has been rising dramatically. You can get your recommended daily allowance of alcohol for the same price of a bag of crisps. It’s ridiculous."
Not quite as ridiculous as an alcohol expert who is obviously mathematically illiterate, according to the BBC and the ONS.
Britons have been drinking less and less every year since 2002. 
Men and women of all ages are slowly curbing their excesses and drinking in moderation, according to the annual survey from the Office for National Statistics, which covers England, Scotland and Wales.
Or, indeed, as ridiculous as a Prime Minister who ignores all proper economic and retail experts, instead preferring to base his policies on the raving opinions of a Walter Mitty fantasist.

Remember, people, that this Cameron guy is in charge of the economy too! Scary, huh?


moonrakin said...

Hmmm... I do take the point about buying...

What I also know is that some supermarkets flog (no pun) the elasticity of price and geographical position mercilessly.

If you travel around the UK and visit Tesco stores for instance - you will notice some variation in the stock and if you are geographically bipolar (?) - you will notice some variation in price. Most people spot the difference between let's say an Extra and an Express or a Metro - what they generally don't spot is the difference between Extras related to the income group of their catchment area.

You say mind-fuckingly complicated....

Some years ago I was admiring the new Porsche 911 belonging to an IT acquaintance (categorically not a salesman) and asked what exactly it was he did.... The explanation I received was an eye opener. He designed and coded data warehousing applications. Take the electoral roll, credit info, property prices, rateable value, census info, credit data, transaction data - anything you can get and plug it in and you can map the disposable income and social status of an area - in near real time... I suspect you can also plug in your competitors... Couple this to a blizzard of choice, BOGOF and all the other malarkey which is driven by this absolutely colossal database engined marketing machine and perhaps you can see the reason for the expansion into Metro, Sainsbury Local and all the other convenience shopping outlets.

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate the chain convenience locally for some things but they have suffocated the independent family stores to the point where the balance is skewed in my view and I believe they should have been made to share more of their profit with locals via franchising perhaps.

This doesn't change the simple fact that Cameron is a twat and he's scampering around yapping at the bases of a forest of very obviously wrong trees.

Surely he isn't that mindcrushingly stupid - so one has to suspect a hidden agenda and WMDs belching a fog of misdirection. We are in for a rough ride over the next year or two - and the sort of behaviour the Camoron is indulging in isn't inspiring - no siree....

Check out:
We're domed.

Ben said...

"this Cameron guy is in charge of the economy too!" Politicians don't have to submit any credentials in order to get elected, they are elected on good faith.

Cameron really doesn't have a clue.

And families like mine pay for his cost of living and benefits. We also pay for all the costly mistakes of his government.