I’ve just read a post and subsequent comments on the fabulous www.beaut.ie about Tesco in-store beauty salons. Until I read this, I really didn’t think I had much to say on the subject, but the Beauties know how to get people talking and thinking so now I do have something to say about it.
Tesco basically dominates virtually every single town in the UK – it has shredded traditional high streets all over the land with price wars that independent retailers just can’t match. I have a Tesco just round the corner from me and it is where I shop the most, but do I like shopping there? No, not really. It’s just convenient and that is all. But would I want my lower legs waxed for a tenner after I’ve picked up the fruit and veg? No, thank you. Not because I don’t want a wax for a tenner, but because I really just cannot stand the way that Tesco is determined to single-handedly turn the UK into United Tesco. Whether salons are over-priced or not, what else are they going to incoroporate into the mega-stores? They already sell books, stamps, clothes, electricals and the obvious food, meat, fish and whatever else you could possibly need. But a haircut in Tesco? I don’t think it would be worse than anywhere else – why should it be? But if we want our high streets turned into derelict shadows then obviously heading along to Tesco is the thing to do. Personally, I don’t want that. And it isn’t some middleclass value that wants artisan shops and carbon neutral cheese; it’s more that not having individual high street shops impacts more than you can imagine. When I was little, going to the sweetshop involved a whole lot of learning processes; making decisions on what I wanted, how many I wanted, how much I could actually afford with my pocket money and understanding weights was all seamlessly integrated into something I didn’t even think twice about. Going to the grocer or the butcher was exactly the same and buying ingredients raw to actually cook something was a start to finish process that instilled a whole pile of skills that one just incorporated into daily life. If what Tesco are doing is trying to create a mind-numbing one stop shop for all areas of life, where thought isn’t necessary, in a sterile, pleasureless environment, yay! They win that badge, in my opinion.
The other thing is that beauty treatments come in all shapes and sizes, but even 15 minutes at the beautician can give you a me-time break that is far removed from a tag-it-on-to-the-other-chores experience Tesco is offering. It’s only a hair cut or a leg-wax but to shrink wrap that too is crazy – let’s leave beauty treatments as a salon experience, support our local businesses and not disintigrate our beauty time into a supermarket trolley dash. If it means salons have to be more competitive, then that is great for the end user, but if it means salons have to shut down, then it’s shocking.