Saturday, January 3, 2009

Britain's Tesco makes inroads in US

I worked at a Tesco grocery store as a teenager in London - it was my first real job and I loved having my own money and autonomy. My own children have done everything from fast food to camp counselors to farm workers and much inbetween.

According to a recent AOL news article, my favorite British store is making a splash across the pond. It is causing a stir at Wal-Mart - and well they should!

I have a love-hate relationship with Wal-Mart. I stopped patronizing the store some 20+ years ago after seeing a report of an interracial couple being fired for getting married (they later sued for back pay and pain and suffering, but the point is the same......).

Later in life, I began to realize the working conditions of Wal-Mart's worker as less than ideal. Indeed, some dear friends of mine have 2 of their children employed at the megamart. One is a single mother who is proud of the fact that she owns a home, and yet she relies on Medicaid and food stamps to help provide for her family - talk about dichotomy and hypocrisy.

My love-hate relationship started when I lost my income and needed to shop cheap to eat, so to speak. My children had known for years that we were not patrons of the store and had a hard time understanding how I could possibly go against what I had preached for years. Thankfully, I have other options again and can choose to shop elsewhere.

I hope that Tesco gives Wal-Mart a big run for their money and that they come out on top.

In the meantime, I suspect things will change at Wal-Mart vis-a-vis labor unions and organizing under the new pro-union administration.

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