Independent Street

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The Boycott Challenge


The fact that Tesco claim £1 in every £8 spent in the UK is startling in its own right. But set in the context of a recession, it is appalling. Not only in Cardiff but across the country, battles are raging as small businesses, markets and pubs struggle to keep trading, while retail behemoth Tesco posts profits of £2.48 billion. Whether pubs, markets or community centres, these places are essential hubs of the community – keeping money flowing freely and productively. Unfortunately, they are under pressure from rising rent costs, overheads and, most importantly, a drop in footfall.

The by now tired cliche is that we are all feeling the pinch, and too many people wail and rail against governments, banks and corporations as the harbingers of their economic woes, and to a great extent, they are right. But that is no excuse for not being pro-active about the situation.

I have often felt a pang of guilt in recent times when I took the easy option and made the swift dash around the nearest supermarket to collect everything I need – in the process walking past open fruit and veg stalls, a butcher, a grocer, and countless charity shops or bit-ware stores.

If we were all to take some extra time, and a little organisation, we could help revitalise our local economy and relieve some of the stresses of our neighbours. A criticism will inevitably be that there is simply not enough time to go to three or four different places for a weekly shop, or that it is completely impractical. But I defy anyone to claim that the closest place to them is a Tesco, or Sainsburys. When something is needed as a one off there is no excuse for shopping around.

With this in mind, I have challenged myself to spend an entire year boycotting supermarkets in favour of exploring the character and personality of the huge range of outlets right under our noses, from the arcades to the markets, from the butchers to the grocers. Avoiding Wetherspoons and Harvesters at all costs and finding the best places to replace the cheap, clinical service of a supermarket.

I will regularly post updates in my search and invite you all to do the same, whether it be a full-blown boycott or just a conscious decision every once in a while.

After all, every little helps!

Sign up to join the Boycott below


3 comments on “The Boycott Challenge

  1. Sam Mallett
    November 15, 2012

    Very inspiring post, Dom!

    I’m doing my best to avoid the supermarkets, but I’d like to try harder. I get my fruit and veg from the Butetown food co-op (very good value!), meat from my mum’s butchers (not in Cardiff, unfortunately), and beer from The Artisan Brewery. Last week I got some fish from Cardiff Market, but it was really expensive, although the service was good.

    Would you consider keeping a list of alternative shops, for getting items such as milk, cereal, oil, and other ‘normal’ things like that? I’m going to start getting my eggs and cheese from the butcher you mentioned in your carbonara post. Perhaps they sell milk too. I know Spice of Life in Roath is good for cereal, seeds, spices etc. is there anywhere like that in Canton? Oh, there’s the Fairtrade shop near Chapter, and Chapter’s Pop-Up produce market on Wednesdays. The Chinese supermarkets on Tudor Street are great for some bits too.

    I look forward to hearing more about how you’re getting on.

    Good luck!

  2. Dom Gilbert
    November 15, 2012

    Thanks Sam!

    You get your personal beer from the Artisan!? A man of quality taste 🙂 I am looking into compiling lists of indy shops which can provide a similar if not better weekly shop than the supermarkets in each area of Cardiff. Will take some time though, feel free to contribute, but you clearly know the best spots around Canton already 🙂 Thanks for your support

  3. Pingback: Shopping without supermarkets | find me at the market

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Caroline Mortimer

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