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Tesco's Take Over

Tesco has a plan for Americans, happily for all, J. Charreaux is more than keen to go along with it

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by J. Charreaux, for outsideleft.com
originally published: November, 2007
Hopes were it would be a high-end and / or semi-organic place like Ralphs' Fresh Faire or Whole Foods.

When the last grocery strike at Ralphs failed to crush their union, it seems that Alberson's has been shutting down and converting to more down-market grocery stores in a show of solidarity. My partner's been waiting with baited breath for our decimated Albertson's to reopen as a Fresh and Easy for more than a year. Hopes were it would be a high-end and/or semi-organic place like Ralphs' Fresh Faire or Whole Foods.

Mais alas, it is UK parent company Tesco's foray into the American marketplace. I had heard half of a public radio story about how British expats really love Tesco's house brand items. (I'm not sure if this will bring them out of the Eagle Rock Craftsman woodwork in sufficient numbers to make a difference.) At the dentist, I skimmed a boring Economist magazine article on Tesco's American Strategy, but I think the Big Idea is to have meals ready to eat so that the busy shopper can also grab a decent lunch without having to make an extra trip to El Pollo Loco. Or something. (Apparently, that's the kind of business planning you get in the UK when every third person with a bachelor's degree doesn't have to go back to California State University to get an MBA .)

A lot of the refrigerated shelves were 90 percent sold-out bare when we went in on Friday evening of their opening week. It was sort of like being in an AFI student film set in Poland in the '80s. Then I remember being in a Tesco in Sheffield and being fascinated by the foam-fighting diaphragm in a can of Guinness. That was in the '80s too.

We'll be back because it's close to home. The nuts and yogurt are good and they have a cheap house brand wine that is better than Trader Joe's. What's it called, Charles Schwab? And they have giant boxes of wine too, in case you have the same parent as Kathy Griffith.

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