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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 140, Friday 24th October 1997

Supermarket Seduction

"Of course, no-one thinks, as they climb into the car for the weekly trip to Tesco's, "I'm off to close down a few local shops, increase asthma and make life difficult for poor people." Everyone is thinking, "I must remember to get some herb salad and dolcelatte for tomorrow night." But, as research is increasingly able to demonstrate the links between the growth of car-borne, out-of-town shopping and some of our contemporary ills, it is important to ask whether this new knowledge creates some new responsibility to address the issues it raises."
- Ethical Consumer

All across the country the relentless march of the supermarket continues...

In Brighton, Sainsbury's are trying to get planning permission to build a 61,000 square foot superstore in the centre of town. On Monday 207 broad leaf trees were felled at Naburn Woods on the outskirts of York to make way for an out of town shopping complex. Last year, a direct action campaign and protest camp was organised to try to stop the huge shopping complex trashing an old hospital which had become a wildlife haven and open space for local residents. In Wandsworth the `The Land Is Ours' campaign occupied a site and built an eco-village, on land owned by Guinness. They wanted a supermarket, and were not impressed, eventually sending in the bailiffs. However this spurred locals into forming the Gargoyle Wharf Community Action Group and over a four day period they found out just what people in the area wanted - such as open space, a river walk, affordable housing. They produced a report, while Guinness, unable to get permission for their supermarket, sold the land to a consortium group who want a hotel and luxury housing...

We're sure SchNEWS doesn't need to spell out the bleedin' obvious but out of town supermarkets destroy valuable greenbelt land, generate enormous amounts of traffic, and encourage reliance on the car. In fact their expansion goes hand in hand with the growth of car culture, and SchNEWS doesn't need to tell you either that more roads = more traffic = more pollution. Up and down the country, such developments have ripped the heart out of communities. Where once the walk to the local shops was a social event, now the groceries are piled high into the back of the car after a hypnotic trawl around the bulging shelves of the supermarket, clipping peoples ankles with the trolley and snapping at the badly paid checkout worker."

"From humble beginnings, our high street supermarkets have grown to become some of the UK's largest multinationals. And the financial muscle this growth has given them, has allowed them in barely a decade to tear the hearts out of towns and cities that have taken hundreds of years to evolve."
- Ethical Consumer

The average supermarket stocks a mind-boggling range of up to 30,000 products from all over the world. About 85% of the UK's fresh fruit is now imported and 27% of food and drink imports come from Third World countries according to Christian Aid. In their Global Supermarket book they also claim that families in plantations growing these foodstuffs are often given wages below subsidence levels, with child labour and the suppression of trade unions are commonplace.

But it's not just the poor in other countries. Despite the introduction of `No Frills' ranges and `Saver' lines, for the 33% of households without access to a car, primarily the poor, old and the sick, the closure of local shops actually reduces the choices they have available.
So much for freedom of choice...


Successful store management can make customers purchase on impulse. It's actually quite easy, once you know how...

The first step is mild hypnosis. A well lit and properly laid out store can reduce a customer average blinking time from 32 blinks per minute to just 14, which has the effect of reducing everyone to a state of virtual sleep walking.

Step two - ensure your customers' senses are blunted without being deprived. Provide bright and consistent lighting, simple blocks of primary colours and some sort of gentle background noise, even if it's only the hum of the refrigerators, or even better- those nice, pacifying tones of supermarket muzak. The food should be neat, bright, glossy, unstained, bloodless and packaged to speak the language of cleanliness, availability and convenience.

Once you have seduced your customer into a passive state, they may be open to a little prompting. So go for something that grabs the attention. Seduce your customers into believing that they are exercising their own free will. A strategically placed 'as recommended' sign along the bottles of red wine will ensure sales of a particular brand. Recipe cards are a helpful selling strategy, and so is making sure the product you want to sell inhabits the premium shelf space (51-53 inches up, on the left).
- From 'Psychology of Marketing'


  • The Activists Guide on How to Fight Unwanted Developments, by The Land is Ours (£2). Tel:01865 722016
  • Selling Out - The true Cost of Supermarkets, by Third World First (free).Tel: 01865 245678;
  • How to Stop Supermarket Developments by OTDOGS. Tel: 0181 693 9417;
  • Off Our Trolleys. Institute of Public Policy Record. Tel: 0171 470 6100.


  • Corporate Watch are putting together a list of over 40 active anti superstore groups. Out in November from Box E,111 Magdalene Rd., Oxford, OX4 1RG. Tel: 01865 791391. Web: http://www.corpwatch.org/

  • November 29th is International No Shop Day. SAE to One World Centre, 6 Mount St., Manchester, M2 5NS. Tel: 0161 226 6668 e-mail thicon@mcr1.poptel.org.uk. Web site http://envirolink.org/issues/enough/index.html

  • Ethical Consumer, Unit 21, 41 Old Birley St., Manchester M15 5RF. Tel: 0161 226 2929.

  • Brighton Urban Design and Development are opposing the Sainsbury Development and have put forward plans for self build housing, organic allotments, an urban woodland, environment education centre and workshops. Plus, Stop the Store Alliance Rally on Saturday 1st Nov. Meet at the Level 1pm. Contact BUDD on 01273 622727. Closing day for letters of protest against this development is 31st October, and the decision will be made in a planning meeting on 6th November. Letters to: Maggie Brian, Planning Manager, Environmental Services Dept, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JP

  • Naburn Woods Campaign, c/o York LEAF, Peace Centre, 15a Clifford Street, York. Tel: 01904 647 235 or 0831 586938.

  • Gargoyle Wharf Community Action Group 0181 672 9698


From Our Man in Kent

"Its fucking bedlam, someone will either be killed or sent down."

"The main hunt we have been concentrating on is the Ashford Valley (whose master is Matthew Knight solicitor for the British Fields Sports Society) and the situation is out of control. In the past few weeks the police/thug situation has quickly got worse - last week two sabs were hospitalised one hit by a 4 wheel bike and beaten up, the other who tried to intervene was beaten by 6 men, one of whom finished by hitting him across the head with an iron bar. The police reacted by arresting one sab for assault (later dropped)."

"Anyway this Saturday (18th) with numbers swelled by sabs from further afield we decided not to be put off - and the hunt responded with a huge amount of thugs with sticks etc and the biggest police presence ever seen in Kent at a hunt. Sabs were attacked with extendible batons and CS Spray; people arrested for affray with heavy no hunt bail conditions. The Hunt Sab Associations press officer were present and agreed that Kent has become the flashpoint for police/hunt sab aggression."

More Details

Ashford Saboteur Association: c/o PO Box 33, Ashford, Kent, TN24 3ZZ. Hunt Sab Association PO Box 2786, Brighton, E.Sussex, BN2 2AX. Tel: 01273 622827


The + Files

The National Federation of City Farms is a networking charity publicising the work of City Farms, supporting existing farms and helping establish new ones. City Farms are unique community projects, run by and for local people, transforming areas for the benefit of the community at large, managed organically by trained volunteers and providing space for people to grow veg and flowers. Is there one near you? Contact: The National Federation of City Farms, The Greenhouse, Hereford St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4NA.


Not Famous Enough by Half

Veteran green campaigner and old hippy Sid Rawle has lost his fight to stop the Halifax from using his picture in an advertising campaign without his permission. The Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) ruled that he was not famous enough for the advertisers to be expected to try to contact him to obtain his permission! Sid replied although the ASA said he wasn't famous, he'd got phone calls from all over the country slagging him off for selling out!!!


Crap Arrest of the Week

For impersonating Ronald McDonald. A Newcastle women was nicked while dressed like Ronald and carrying a big picture of what McDonalds do to pigs.


SchNEWS in Brief

  • In 1994 Jacob Haugaard was elected Denmark's first independent MP with 23,211 votes. His election promises included the right of men to be impotent, standard size dust bags in vacuum cleaners, better Christmas presents, shorter queues, better weather and tailwinds for cyclists!

  • The Anarchist Distribution Service is going for a bit of a re-launch and wants your bumpf! If you've got stuff you want distributing - bearing in mind this is a class struggle anarchist outfit - send 150 copies and a minimum of £5 and it will get sent round their mailing list. Alternatively if you wanna get on their mailing list get in touch with a donation if possible to ADS, PO Box 446, Sheffield, S1 1NY. Email: Ruthe@sheffa.demon.co.uk.

  • In 1972 five London dockers were jailed for their part in organising industrial action, but were soon released when hundreds of thousands of workers started solidarity strike action. What are the lessons of the Pentonville victory? How can we assist the Liverpool dockers to victory? Come to the public meeting next Thursday (30th) at Lister Room, East Ham Town Hall, Barking Rd., East Ham E6 2RP 7.30pm and find out

  • There's going to be a Green Student Network gathering on 14-16 November at Reading University. Entitled "Burning the Planet at Both Ends" there will be workshops, speakers, entertainment in the evening and an action on Sunday. Contact Maike Ball (daytime) 0161 2752942 email Marie ldulevet@reading.ac.uk

  • The first issue of `The Pork-Bolter' news-sheet is out now - letting people know what's really going on in Worthing. The name, according to the Penguin Dictionary of Historical Slang explains that Worthing inhabitants were once known for their "superstitious dread of pigs" from which they "bolted"! SAE to PO Box 4144, Worthing, BN14 7N2

  • South Coast Against Road Building (SCAR) have moved! To get updates on anti-roads info contact them on 37 Welland Road Worthing West Sussex BN13 3LN - web site http://www.radicalfluff.demon.co.uk/scar/

  • Meanwhile in Edinburgh around one hundred people went to a meeting to discuss a proposed bypass by the City Council. Costing approx £43 million it will help cater for the 15% of traffic that goes thru' the city. Do they ever listen?

  • In Bingley more activists are needed to oppose another `bypass', and to keep the pressure up on Labour who are going to make a final decision on whether the road is built, around Spring 1998. Contact BARC, Ryeload Camp, Bingley, West Yorks, BD16 2HZ 01274 504626

  • 'Burn the Horricks' demo at the site of a proposed toxic dump expansion in Wakefield (see SchNEWS 130) 01924 893 564

  • A Scottish women who went to bed with a headache and woke up speaking with a South African accent was told by doctors she had had a minor stroke and is now suffering from Foreign Accent Syndrome!

  • An academic from Ghana surprised a world population conference in Beijing by presenting research on family planning based partly on interviews with the dead. Using soothsayers, Philip Adongo asked village ancestors for advice on the ideal size of a family in a tribal area of the West African nation

  • Friends of the Earth are putting on a `Helterbelter Halloween Party' to raise funds for the alliance against Birmingham Northern Relief Road. You can see bands and comedians for £3 at The Bear, Bearwood Road, Bearwood nr. Birmingham 31st October Doors open 8.30 pm

  • The Homeless Information Project (HIP) have a new action pack "Defending Squatter-Homeless Possession Proceedings" and are holding a workshop next Wednesday (22nd) 2.30pm at 612 Old Kent Rd., London SE15 1JB to suss out solutions to the problems facing squatters. Give 'em a bell on 0171 277 7639 if you want to go or want a list of all their publications.


More Nightmare Tales From the Workplace

Critchley Labels are a company described by TUC boss John Monks (Rod Hull and EMU are my friends - geddit?) as "the worse employer in Wales...running their business like Victorian mill owners" . They introduced amongst other things, an `appraisal system' where everyone was assessed by a scoring system - then made people redundant if they didn't come up to scratch. This included a women who thanks to the company lost out on a £20,000 redundancy payment, the union branch secretary, branch chair, 2 young women who had an argument with a team leader, a pregnant women, and a disabled lad. Eventually the workers had enough of the company's bully-boy tactics and took strike action. All 31 were then sacked.
  • There will be a march and rally in support on Saturday 1st November. Assemble 12.30 pm in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Contact Strike Committee, 54 Beech Grove, Oakdale, Blackwood, Gwent, NP2 ONB 01495 220597


and finally

(thank you to Police Review)

1. Police and council officers are getting their knickers in a twist over bizarre road signs appearing in Gloucestershire. The authentic looking red triangular signs have included pictures of a pound sign, shark's fin, sea horse, pair of human lips and a penguin. A local council officer said "There are all kinds of theories flying round. One is that they contain coded directions to an illegal party, while others think they're something to do with a treasure hunt. They're so well made, I wouldn't have thought anyone would go to that trouble for a practical joke."

2. Thieves are on the run after pinching 700 laxative pills. The capsules were taken from a skip in an industrial estate in Deans Livingston in Scotland and SchNEWS warns all readers not to buy funny pills if you live round the West Lothian area.

3. The scene - a UN motor pool in Sarajevo. Continental officer "I have come to report that my car will not start." British Mechanic "Any idea what the problem is?" Officer. "Water in the carburettor" Mechanic "Ah, you know a bit about cars?" Officer "I know nothing." Mechanic "Then what makes you think it's water in the carburettor?" Officer "Because the car's in the river."



SchNEWS warns all readers not to fill their cupboards with endless consumer crap and big fat chocolate gateaux covered in double-whipped cream. Tune in, check out and get a life. Then you might feel content (but envious of the gut-bucket eating the gateaux next door).


STOP PRESS Liverpool dockers reject 'final offer' by Mersey Side Harbour Dock Company 0151 207 3388 ..... (Is she fat? you bet your hat!)

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Last updated 28th October 1997
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)