On Day 8 I blogged about my trip to a Boots store a ten minute drive away from home to buy disposable nappies. Although this didn’t break my experiment’s only rule of not using supermarkets for 28 days, I did feel a bit sheepish that:
a) I’d used a large national chain; and
b) I’d taken the car
I’d hoped when I started this venture that I’d be using more local businesses and that I’d have an increased number of outdoor shopping experiences so in my blog, to compensate, I pledged that I’d phone five local chemists to find out if they stocked the brand and size of nappies I bought.
I ‘googled’ chemists for my area and immediately disregarded a branch of Boots, one associated with a supermarket and two more that I knew to be part of national chains – all were within walking distance. I made my list of five, three of which were walkable.
Two of the five local chemists didn’t stock my brand/size; one gave me a different number to use but on trying it the number didn’t connect; one (Moss Pharmacy) answered the phone as Boots, enlightening me to the fact that they are part of the same chain and finally, one stocked what I was looking for! However on running a price comparison, I would have paid £1.22 more at that chemist than at Boots and £1.21 more than at Tesco. Further, on researching the local chemist, it also appears to be part of a chain, albeit considerably smaller than Boots.
Considering the time taken for this exercise (compile list, phone chemists, research supplier online), the fact that the nappies were cheaper at Boots and that the only supplier was part of a chain, I would have chosen to shop at Boots anyway, whose ethics and origins, it should be noted, I know very little about!
Does this suggest that supermarkets are challenging business on the local high street to the point that only chain stores can compete in terms of supplying products such as nappies? Why wouldn’t you buy such a bulky product as part of your supermarket run, especially if you were using the car? Are there other products similarly affected? If, after my experiment ends, I decide to reduce my use of supermarkets or boycott them altogether, I will need to start researching some of my favourite large chain stores such as Boots to find out if I’m comfortable using them as they may be my only affordable realistic option for buying certain items.
As I’ve posted earlier, it was suggested to me in a tweet, that I look into internet co-operatives as an option in my quest for nappies. I am intrigued but after a few minutes of using an internet search engine, I am not finding anything that would meet my needs. If anyone can shed any light on this, please get in touch!