A couple of summers ago I got chatting to a guy in the queue to pick up a hire car at Palma airport.
Turned out he was an independent cheesemaker from Devon. We nattered for a while in the air-conditioned office whilst our respective families melted in the Majorcan heat outside.
Then I watched, aghast, as his hard-earned holiday imploded.
His phone rang.
He stood to one side to take the call.
He was clearly agitated.
It turns out that he had just effectively been summoned back to the UK for a make or break meeting with Tesco. Fly back or lose your listing was the gist of the call. And, no, it can’t wait until after your holiday.
Every Little Helps and all that but I find Tesco increasingly hard to like.
Then you see a tweet like this.
On the one hand there’s nothing wrong with playing commercial hardball.
Tesco would probably argue that this wouldn’t be happening if the Premier Foods brands in question were strong enough to command a higher price.
But I’m at the point with Tesco where I question their motives. I don’t think they care about the right things. Or they don’t care enough.
I get the impression that Morrisons is doing rather well just now. We don’t have one near us. But I’d flock to it if we did. My anyone but Man Utd attitude to football has now transferred to Tesco.
And I’m heading that way with Facebook.
I question its motives in the same way that I do with Tesco.
It is very good at what it does and it is immensely powerful. So maybe it doesn’t have to worry about people questioning its motives.
At least not until a viable alternative comes along. Will people then flock to that?
Google+ is trying to find out right now.
I haven’t had a play yet. But I have read a mixed bag of tweeted remarks and blogged punditry. Most recently this thoughtful piece on, of all places, the All Facebook blog.
Some of the Google+ tweets have been very funny in a snarky way. But I’ve resisted the temptation to retweet any of them for cheap laughs. Partly because, until I get an invite, I don’t know what I’m talking about. But mostly because I really want Google+ to be a viable alternative to Facebook and I don’t want to contribute in even the tiniest way to strangling it at birth.
Tesco and Facebook are both very big and very useful.
But they’re both increasingly hard to like.
Is it inevitable that brands of this scale have their motives questioned?
Is it inevitable that brands of this scale create vacuums for viable alternatives?