"Tesco HQ combines the charisma of Charles Wilson with the modesty of Malcolm Walker: a mournful monument to derelict 1960s car parks amid the dog turds and debris of a condemned industrial estate. And that's just the lobby."
26 May 2007
"Tesco would never dream of doing anything inappropriate on corporation tax. Or stamp duty. Or price fixing. Or anything nasty. Look into the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, the eyes. Tesco is cheap. Tesco pays lots of tax. You want a Tesco Extra close by. Who needs a garden anyway? When I click my fingers, recite the Clubcard Creed. And... relax."
12 April 2008
"The Deathstar is nothing if not consistent. I have a long-held suspicion that any employee aspiring to rise above the rank of Blackhole Stormtrooper is obliged to undergo a total charisma bypass on the remote planet of Wellin, and the new FD does little to challenge this notion. Almost incredibly, the dour Laurie McIlwee makes Tesco logistics director David Potts look positively ebullient."
7 February 2009
"The Uncle Sam Award for Hubris [goes to]: Tesco Tel and the Cheshunt Comintern, for thinking they can set up the trestle table next to a Walmart aircraft hangar in California and, like, they might not notice, man."
18 June 2007
On the OFT and the Competition Commission:
"A loathing of your subject area is not actually an advantage in your professional life, but look at [OFT boss] John Fingleton his job seems to be emptying his in-tray into [former CC boss] Peter Freeman's first thing each morning and running for the hills.
12 May 2007
"Let's have an inquiry into supermarket inquiries, headed by a supermarket inquiry inspector, reporting into a Commission for Supermarket Inquiries led by some senior government official, quite possibly at DRIP."
27 October 2007
On retail experts:
"Small shops selling old food expensively are suffering at the hands of big shops selling new food cheaply. This, apparently, is bad."
5 May 2008
[Pumsey dreams of a new, as-yet unmade Bond film] "The plot, fittingly, was slight. Agent Ginger is shocked to discover he is secretly being controlled by Death, Inc, a vast and evil empire located in a remote desert plain in the dullest part of the US. A man of principle, Ginger vows to destroy this malign outfit and its megalomaniac chief, agent W. But his plan is foiled when Moneypenny (Kerry Katona) turns out to be a double agent working for shadowy east European crime syndicate Toschco."
1 November 2008
"Was not Our Lord Bondandybond, saviour (of pennies for the shell-suited masses) and redeemer (of grubby money-off coupons) heard this week to say: 'Do you consider thrift beneath you? Then let me warn you: you're living in the past and in the future you may not be here.' Asda may not have profits, but it sure has its prophets."
25 May 2009
"For such is our industry, fellow sufferers. We are grubby, lowly and unfashionable. So while there is a limitless supply of public moolah to bail out the pinstripes, HM Govt and the 'liberal' meedja seem to regard those who look after the alimentary needs of the nation as something of a blight."
22 September 2007
"Congratulations, humble peasants and lowly costermongers. You, along with the rest of the gullible Great British Public, are now joint owners of 50 billion quids' worth of cast-iron, triple 'Z' rated, unadulterated shite. Every man, woman, child, dog and symbol group member among you has invested an average of £833 in assets so toxic even Tesco's Richard Brasher couldn't repackage them as a Discounter line."
18 October 2008
On price wars and the Hadron Collider:
"Some experts estimate that should the Tesco Discounter and Sainsbury's Basics beams collide, a black hole could form over Wales, destroying the entire Principality and causing several pounds' worth of damage ... Talking of weightlessness, Asda was also doing its own bit for particle physics, launching 5,000 rollbacks in a bid to prove that if you throw enough substance-free bargains at the void you can create mass (hysteria)."
20 September 2008
"Now, as for King Justin, his bankers
Have pulled up their corporate anchors
So his retail safaris
With dodgy Qataris
Have made the whole lot look like... twits"
8 December 2007
"Talking of losing grip, King Justin was once again at his blinding best on the TV sofas as he puffed up JS's seasonal trading figures. KJ certainly has a lot of bottle by which I am referring to the source of the increasingly absurd tan that is now rivalling that of Tory Boy David, retouched or not. By the way, has anyone ever seen KJ and Cameron in the same room at the same time?"
16 January 2010
"Most punters couldn't give a flying cluck about the fate of your average broiler, and the ignominy of seeing [Jamie] Oliver crowing on telly alongside the featherbrained Huge Furry-Fingerstall will in any case serve as a welcome distraction for the mutinous shareholders ... while the hen-pecked occupants of the Holborn coop run around like free-range, headless chickens."
12 January 2008
On alcohol policy:
"Jusht say to the poor people: "Poor people shtay out of the shopsh!" and then they won't be able to drink drinkies. And the rich people can come in. I'm quite tired. My other lovely besht friend Andy who looks like a Schwan Veshta wantsh the poor people in his shopsh but says he will tell them off and get a policeman if they try to buy drunkies. He thinks Teshco are poo. Ha ha ha. He thinks Teschco are poo. I really love you. Hic."
1 March 2008
"There it was, in cold brown, sickly ink, the news that Kraftwerk Inc had launched an offer for Cadbury so unpalatable it put even its own synthetic product range to shame. The fact that Kraftwerk generates most of its flagging revenue from slack-jawed retards in Oklahoma tells you most of what you need to know. It also doesn't seem to know how to spell Dime/Daim/Dajm bar, which is worrying for a company that's supposed to be offering such big bucks/bux."
12 september 2009
"[At his first agm] Marc Bolan could not be tempted into a rendition of 'Hot Love'. Seems the Flemish CEO is more TREX than T.Rex these days."
2 June 2007
"Sir Ken came to look on me as something of a personal lackey, passing on much of the wisdom of his even then advanced years, such as how (and where) to stuff a Yorkshire pudding, and even some of the basic moves of Ecky Thump. And now I fondly reflect on the final words he spoke to me, his eyes twinkling as he slipped a tanner into my pocket and cuffed me playfully across the bridge of the nose. 'A reet little shit, thou art,' he hissed. 'Now piss off'. A tanner? The miserable sod. It was 1977."
15 March 2007
"Morrisons has employed a gaggle of poets to promote its tawdry wares. You couldn't make it up. Odes to Odour Eaters? Doggerel for boggeroll?"
5 September 2009
"FOR SALE: Downmarket northern pie stall. Complete with irritating dwarf TV presenter and 5,000 imperial gallons of mushy peas. £50 o.n.o or will trade for overpaid sinecure in knicker shop."
13 February 2010
On supermarket AGMs:
"While Wal-Mart rents out some ghastly megadrome and stuffs it with cheerleaders, Morrisons hosts its effort on a whippet track and JS holds a sort of cheap-suited revivalist meeting, Tesco's effort has become a care in the community clinic, crammed with loonies dressed as turtles, crusties cramming their pockets with sandwiches and one willowy shire-dweller threatening to have a public miscarriage..."
7 July 2007
"Do my honourable LibDem friend Jo Swinson and her well-meaning friends think their bloody shopping grows on the shelves? How much 'excess' packaging could you stuff in her cakehole before she got the message?"
3 November 2007
"If there's one thing the private sector can learn from the public sector, it's how to cut waste. From IT systems at the NHS to our peerless rail network, the government and its agencies have shown the way... this morning's radio appearances by the LGA's Margaret Eaton [criticising the supermarkets] only show that the one place where there truly is a surfeit of old bags is in local government."
21 February 2009
On The Co-operative Group:
"What do you get if you combine two useless, medium-sized c-store chains? That's right, one great big useless c-store chain! ... the enlarged chain will have the unique qualities of both parents. Thus it will have the Co-op's flair for fresh produce and retail execution with Somerfield's overall price position and availability. That's right, it will be completely shit."
26 July 2008
"Can it be coincidence that the Co-op Group's new HQ in Manchester given the green light this week by the European Capital of Gratuitous Ugliness looks like a giant glass dog turd? My impression was of a massive canine coiler, as I lightly quipped to St Peter 'Skid' Marks on a fact-finding mission this week. "
19 September 2009
On David Cameron:
"The Boy David reckoned he had hit on a wheeze that would link supermarket directors' bonuses to how much money they raised for charity. It's flashes of genius like this that give rise to hope that Cameron will one day learn to wipe his own bottom."
22 March 2008
[From the desk of Markup de Price]. "Just one of the wonderful things about Waitrose is that we really love quality. And value. Quality and value, that's us. And we love the fact that we can deliver quality without sacrificing value. There's no possible contradiction there. So I'm happy to say that I've agreed to write Donald's column for just 20% more than he would charge. And I swear the quality will be EXACTLY the same."
16 August 2008
"Do all your shopping at Ocado. It claims its branded goods are as cheap as at Tesco. And if you can swallow that, you can swallow anything, so substitute your daily Oat Crunch with Waitrose cat litter."
11 October 2008
"Silent night! Lonely night!
Woolies' aisles, what a sight!
Fittings flogged, from tills to lavs
Shelves stripped bare by flocks of chavs
Sleep in slovenly peace"
"O Tesco town of Inverness
How still we see thee lie!
The bogof booze is off the shelves
The fags well hidden lie
No beer is in the offering
But in this world of sin
Where Tennent's is evicted, still
The Jocks find their way in!"
20 December 2008
"The entirely sober scribes of Wapping have been ranting over the price of beer, which they regard as scandalously low. This must, of course, be an entirely different gaggle of hacks to those whining about higher grocery prices."
24 November 2007
"These are strange times indeed. Even as the piranhas of Wapping descend upon the weary bankers of the City, we learn that an extraordinary 7% of the British public have complete faith in what we read in the papers. Astonishing. How could so many people still be so gullible?"
14 February 2009
"Pulitzer candidate [and] consumer reporter Shorn Poultry, who, one suspects, spent more than his fair share of time being flicked with wet towels in the changing room, [has blown] the lid on the 'scam' of Melton Mowbray pies being called British just because they were made in Melton Mowbray from part-foreign ingredients. Well guess what, Shorn, the pulp used to produce the Daily Mail was not produced in Surrey and yet no-one could ever mistake this cocktail of opinionated bile, prejudice and quarter-truth for anything but wholly British journalism."
27 February 2010
"I've just come back from Aldi, Grocer of the Year. That's not Aldi, Grim Teutonic Pound Shop or Aldi, Chav Magnet, but Aldi, Grocer of the Year. Call me fussy, but I want a one-stop shop not a cross between a Berlin boot sale and a UN aid depot."
27 June 2009
On Strictly Come Dancing:
"Picture, if you will, Markup de Price locked in a sweaty tango with the Rt Hon Anne Widdecombe, whispering news of the pork market into her shell-like. In a blur of ginger, Bondandybond engages in a frantic salsa with the bizarre Clare Short (for the benefit of Asda customers, salsa is Spanish for ketchup). And stage left, who is that but the Cuban-heeled King Justin? The innocent smoothie himself has in his passionate clutches none other than Dawn Primarolo and I bet it's not traffic lights they're discussing as their limbs entwine in a steamy cucumba rumba. And that'll be Tel, dancing on his own."
22 November 2008
"There is a pernicious rumour to the effect that the Scots are a nation of impoverished, pissed-up yobs. At first I thought this was the type of racist slur that only dimwits like the Welsh would be capable of. But then I discovered the source was the SNP itself!"
7 March 2009
Who was Don Pumsey?
The identity of Don Pumsey (his name was an anagram of the word 'pseudonym') remains a closely guarded secret. This much is known.
After a distinguished career in supermarket retailing (at Pumsey's Price Palace), he switched to politics in the brave new era of New Labour. Countless reshuffles later, in 2007 Pumsey landed a ministerial position at the newly created Department of Retail Infastructure and Pricing (DRIP). And though he was long since tainted by an administration now in its third term, it gave our fearless columnist extraordinary access to the world of politics and its regular clashes with grocery retailing.
But Pumsey was much more than a scheming, face-saving rogue. He was also charming and devilish, combining the sexual appetite of the late Alan Clark MP with the vulgarity of Sir Les Patterson. And he used and abused his power with regular conquests and lavish living (both at the taxpayer's expense).
Helping Pumsey was a cast of fictitious characters including DRIP driver Danaher; tea lady Mrs Rolfe; and his wife Lady Veronica Pumsey QC, who may or may not have been having an affair with Sir Stuart Rose.
But the most important dramatis personae were cartoon approximations of industry bigwigs like El Tel, Bondandybond, King Justin, Marc Bolan, Markup da Price, Peter 'Skid' Marks; as well as Fingers Fingleton, Peter Freeman and the Commission for the Long Grass.
With a new government, Don Pumsey has been retired to grass. Will we see his like again?