Last month the Wanstead Guardian reported that the anti-Tesco campaigner Ashley Gunstock had been spotted shopping in the Tesco at Green Man. It was a bit of a political jibe, really, coming from a political opponent, and there can be very few people who never ever go into a Tesco. But Wansteadium did take some amusement from Mr Gunstock’s remark that if he did go to Tesco, he tried “to get there by bicycle”.
Now he’s hit back, in a way, on his blog, where he says that he is declining Tesco’s “kind offer” to shop in its new store (when it eventually gets round to opening), that his campaign will continue, and adds this interesting observation:
I have always made it absolutely clear that I believe that the supermarket and, incidentally, the car (that I also make use of) which have been in existence since the 19th century are part of the fabric of (and have a place in) our society.
It’s interesting both because one doesn’t hear this point of view very often – that driving to the supermarket is something we’ve done for generations – and also because it can’t strictly be true. The first motor cars were sold in the 1880s, but weren’t anywhere near mass produced or affordable until the 1920s. And if by supermarkets one means large self-service shops which sell a range of groceries, you almost certainly had to wait again until the 1920s.
But nitpicking aside, his main point is that “there is no need for yet another supermarket in a thriving high street, such as the one that we are fortunate to have in Wanstead”. That might be true – but as has been observed here before, wouldn’t it be worse if Tesco was closing a shop on Wanstead High Street?