Photographed by: Mark Doyle
I have a bizarre gut reaction every time I step into my local Tesco express store. For some reason every time I shop there I feel bad; bad about myself and bad about our society. It affects me in a personal and negative way that no other retail store does.
So, why does a local convenience store affect me in such a bizarre and personal way? Well I have been thinking about this for a while:
1.They are soulless: This is the crux of the issue, it relates to the whole set up and feel of my local store. Efficient yet impersonal, characterless, no ambience. Not in any way part of the community. Alien. I only shop there when all other shops are closed, and I immediately regret it.
2. Zero customer service: It is clear when you walk into the store that customer service is not a priority, it seems designed to minimise customer interaction at all costs.
3. Staffing: Any time I have shopped there, I have only seen 2 staff – they are expected to manage 2 self-service tills and 2 normal tills, plus somehow keep stock replenished and manage customer queries. I always leave feeling sorry for the staff. They try their best but have an impossible job, they often seem stressed.
4. Pricing: I know every time that I shop there that I am paying more than I would be paying if I was just a bit more organised. I leave the store wondering why I didn’t plan my week better.
5. Really bad design: Maybe it’s just my local store, but the store design is appalling. Cold, characterless, impersonal, cramped.
6. It reflects changes in our society: As much as I hate to admit it, many aspects of this store reflects changes in our society. In our current busy lives we need convenience stores and Tesco rightly recognise that they need to compete in this market. The store is open convenient times, and it has a wide range of products in a small space. But somehow it feels all wrong, Tesco haven’t figured out how convenience shopping should feel.
Tesco has been a retail phenomenon over recent years and remain the market leader in Ireland (just about). They are world leaders in supermarket retail. The Tesco brand is being damaged by the Tesco express model, which either needs to be disbanded or totally redesigned, because right now they are getting it wrong, badly wrong.