Nuke TescoThe Devil’s Knife/Kitchen has an excellent write up on why the “coalition government” is just more lies and bullshit.

It also highlighted a quote from Tesco regarding the minimum pricing regulation that I hadn’t seen before:

Supermarket chain Tesco says it wants to see curbs on the sale of cheap alcohol during this Parliament.

Tesco has welcomed a promise by the coalition government to ban below-cost sales of alcohol in England and Wales.

The UK’s biggest retailer goes further, saying it would back the more radical step of introducing a minimum price.

I wrote about this before here, but I made the mistake of not including politically connected superstores. The point is rather easy to copy  & paste over to any business or industry though. So I will do that now:

If Tesco are in favour of X regulation, it will always be because it is IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS. Why would alcohol minimum pricing be in Tesco’s best interests you might ask? Well there are several reasons but here’s my best guess:

Because Tesco are already one of the largest sellers of booze in Europe they already gain massive advantages from economies of scale. They can buy in huge quantities and therefore compete well with competitors. They’d like to sell at a higher price, of course, but due to the magic of competition they find themselves forced to keep prices low, or risk losing business to the ASDA’s the LiDLs or the thousands of smaller businesses that try to compete on lower markups.

But because Tesco have already positioned themselves into thousands of prime locations nationwide (often due to being able to secure planning permission that other’s can’t from councils they can easily buy off) a minimum price on alochol would help them more than it would smaller more competitive businesses. Whilst they already have mass distribution and convenience in their favour it would be hard for them to lose business to anybody if this regulation came into effect.

Imagine a working class family that makes their weekly shop at their local Tesco superstore. What possible reason could that family have to shop around for their alochol purchases if they know for a fact that the alcohol products that compete on price (the unique selling property they most look for, as a low income household) now cost the same everywhere? As companies like Bargain Booze (recommended) immediately find themselves going out of business, much of those lost pounds will inevitably find themselves instead going to the established convenience stores. Tesco is making a hefty bet that enough of it will come their way to make the regulation profitable.

When a business is in favour of regulation of this sort never fool yourself into thinking they care about whatever issue the politicians are grandstanding on (the politicians don’t care either by the way). Tesco are not interested in cutting down on binge drinking, they are only interested in their bottom line. There is nothing wrong with caring about your bottom line, of course, when it leads you to compete on price and quality in the free marketplace. However, when you openly advocate the iron fist of the state to regulate in your favour to improve your margins, then we are talking about something quite different… something quite nasty and violent.

As a libertarian I am going to, whenever possible, stop shopping at Tesco when there is a nearby alternative. I don’t know what Asda’s official position is on the minimum pricing bollocks, if anybody knows please post in the comments. Until I hear that they are saying the same things Tesco are saying I will be going there for my weekly shop instead. I urge anybody else who cares about this to do the same.

Fuck you Tesco.