What, no Welsh stout? (Mike Bennett)

A recent visit to Tesco made me wonder if Stuart Hill is making more inroads in his campaign for independence than most realise.

A simple request for a bottle of Welsh stout advertised as “now available in all Tesco stores nationwide” brought the reply that nationwide does not apply to Shetland.

Sadly, my amusement quickly turned to frustration and irritation when, after being referred to a senior employee, I was told that Shetland is in fact Scottish and therefore he orders Scottish not Welsh beers.

The fact that the shelves contain beers from England, Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, in fact beers from all over the world – apart from Wales – led me to wonder what the Welsh have done to warrant such discrimination. Maybe a little jealousy as a result of recent results in the Rugby World Cup!

The idea of discrimination did not sit comfortably with our Tesco representative who then informed me that he orders beers that sell well in store – I guess my tipple is unlikely to sell well if it isn’t stocked.

A further change of tack led to the suggestion that beers are ordered according to the number of customers who request them. Again, I find that this somewhat airy fairy reason does not look convincing – I just wonder how many customers have queued up to ask for Giraffe Ale or similar.

Finally, with an air of desperation, our fraught employee played his trump card – we simply do not have room for everything, he said. Well perhaps not, but he seems to have found room for clothes, CDs/DVDs, electrics etc since opening and extending the store. All commodities which were already catered for in town.

Perhaps the truth of the matter is that the all-powerful Tesco does not care about, or cater for, what we want, preferring to tell us what we must buy. The much-lamented Clive’s Record Shop didn’t offer us two for the price of one on goods we didn’t really want or need, but if we requested something he would do his best to get it.

The power of Tesco results in an arrogance and smugness illustrated when I pointed out (perhaps somewhat knavishly) that the Co-op has successfully sold Welsh beers in the past, only to be told in no uncertain manner to go and shop in the Co-op.

I suppose the answer is for a substantial number of us to take this advice, or indeed to make more use of all of our local shops.

There again, maybe if Wales make further progress in the Rugby World Cup, enthusiasts, supporters and those who just like a good bottle of beer might inundate Tesco with requests for the beer brewed in the capital of the principality and in doing so, persuade Tesco that they might just have missed a trick by not being fair minded.

Perhaps I can finish on a positive note. On a previous visit to Tesco I presented a till-generated money-off voucher, only to be told for the umpteenth time that it was useless as the small print indicated that I had not bought the correct items, or the voucher had expired yesterday or did not commence until tomorrow – we’ve all been there.

Early onset of “Meldrew syndrome” was brought a step nearer when the till offered me another identical and equally useless voucher. To the eternal credit of the young Shetland girl on the till, she pacified me with patience and a courteous good humour, showing all the generosity of spirit inherent in Shetland folk. She saved my day, what a shame her senior did not appear to have the same local charm – every little helps!

Incidentally, it will not take too many brains to work out which brewery produces the new “Original Stout”.

Mike Bennett


Add Your Comment
  • Ron Stronach

    • October 16th, 2011 20:47

    Welsh Stout?
    I can understand the reasons why Tesco (Lerwick) dont stock the above, extremely low demand, cant be many Welsh in Shetland, they normally stay close to home!
    As for the French and Belgium stuff, yuck (IMHO).
    As long as the have a bottle or two of Morgan’s Spiced Rum the next time I’m in then great.

    I do understand the “Nationwide” comment however, it gets me going when they show maps of “The Nation” and the most important Island is missing from the map.


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