I am probably not alone in thinking it was somewhat tragic that coverage by some parts of the media of Tesco's sparkling results was masked by its latest imbroglio with the Advertising Standards Authority. The story ­ in case you missed it ­ is that Tesco ran an ad claiming it was 14% cheaper than Safeway. Oh no you're not' said Safeway. And the ASA agreed. Tesco, it said, was only 12.3% cheaper than Safeway and had been very naughty to claim otherwise. Strewth. Isn't it time the supermarket industry grew up? Way back in February 1998, the same advertising watchdog urged the multiples to stop using dishonest and inaccurate price comparisons in their marketing efforts. Did the supermarket marketers pay any attention? Of course not. Since then, the ASA has dealt with no fewer than 101 complaints about price claims and price comparisons made by the supermarket chains. Now, there will be those that argue such guerilla tactics are part of the rough and tumble of modern grocery retailing. Make a claim ­ no matter how dodgy ­ publish the leaflet, and move on. By the time the ASA catches up, you are on to the next tongue-in-cheek ad campaign. The theory is fine. But don't forget that if the ASA has any power, it is in its ability to generate bad publicity for the guilty' ­ as was demonstrated this week. Never mind that Tesco reported record profits. Never mind that it is a massive wealth creator for the nation. Never mind that it is making a real success out of internationalising its business. No, the real story for many this week was that Tesco is not entirely honest in the claims it makes. Such headlines are bad news for the whole sector ­ not just Tesco. A constant barrage of negative stories of the kind seen this week must lead some shoppers to think the big chains cannot be trusted over price. And if supermarkets are losing consumer trust over something as fundamental to their businesses as price, where else is that trust being eroded? Think about it. {{OPINION }}