Tesco are cruising to announcing US$2 Bn. profits for the first 2 Quarters of 2006 and as a very substantial shareholder I was alerted to their latest moneymaker (?) when , in the absence of domestic staff, Lord Patel hefted a 4 litre milk carton out of the refrigerator.
To find the wraparound product label carried a very badly designed advertisement / notice from Inland Revenue / Customs. I rung the number (at my expense) and a sweet young lass from Dundee explained that if I received Tax creditsas a single parent and a partner moved in my "circumstances" might change, ie my household income might increase and any tax credits due require re-calculation - i.e reducing.... as one of the world's best (ex) copywriters (Maurice and Charles' finest) Lord Patel was struck by the unique selling proposition. Respond to this ad, meet the criteria and GIVE EVEN MORE MORE TO THE GUBMENT.
One is left wondering exactly how much money changes hands for this minatory message to be placed so handily for the cereal crunching early morning riser in the household. No doubt the details are "commercially confidential". Judging by the appalling typography, nothing.
Tesco are of course supporters of the New Local Government Network which in the past employed the lissome raven haired beauty, Ruth Turner who has caught the attention of Sir Ian Blair's men in blue.
Tesco opened up a huge new out of town , in town store at Portwood in Central Stockport in 2004 which has 39,000 customers a week and is said to take £1 MN at the till every week. Regrettably when they built the store they found out it was 18,000 sq. feet (20%) bigger than approved. Legal wrangling continues with local businesses and Friends of the Eath up in arms, but don't expect anything to happen.
Tesco are adamantly opposed to a tax on plastic shopping bags - a tax they are used to in their Eire stores, but claim it would be difficult to administer etc.,
Tesco came in at the last minute to help fill the Dome... a decision to be said not to be unrelated to the dropping of a fanciful supermarket parking tax which was quietly dropped in 1998, thanks, it is said, (quite without any foundation) to the activities of lobbying firm Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn, which has close links (very) to Tony Blair.
Of course Tesco's close relationship with the Labour party goes back a long way . It paid Philip Gould, a trusted Blair aide, to help reorganise its publicity, media and lobbying machine. It has hired David North, Blair's former private secretary and a specialist in rural affairs, as its director of government affairs and corporate social responsibility. The firm's company secretary and director of group corporate affairs, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, was a key Cabinet Office mandarin for many years.
Ministers tolerate Tesco for helping to keep inflation down ( A frightening statistic - £1 in evry £7 spent on the high street are spent at Tesco's) and employ tens of thousands of people - many, many of whom work less than 16 hours per week, keeping working numbers up and their costs / pension and holiday pay liabilities down.
Tesco are of course, masters of dealing with local planners and manipulate land banks to promote their interests and hinder their competitors. They sell more overseas than they do in the UK.
Sales of milk have declined as it lasts longer - hence less is thrown away. The principal reason is that the very precisely manufactured blow moulded supermarket container, is cleansed with a detergent and then peroxide bacteriacide which is vacuum dried leaving the container totally bacteria free.
The container is then filled with pastuerised (bacteria free) milk in aseptic conditions, which you would not find in an operating theatre and sealed, so has a useful life either in a fridge or ambient temperature of about 4 weeks.
Decanted into a handy jug as required and swiftly re-capped, the contents should easily last for 2 weeks.
The water based emulsion adhesive degrades in days, the coloured inks, free of organic solvents take weeks, the labels and container have a half life of about 50 years minimum. The alumium/high density polyethylene seal about 100 years.