Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

Collection time for Tesco? Ron won't be out on Lanark High Street with his cap anytime soon to help boost the supermarket giant's profits
Collection time for Tesco? Ron won't be out on Lanark High Street with his cap anytime soon to help boost the supermarket giant's profits
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Find out what’s getting up Ron’s nose this week!

AH’VE finally completed a fu’ circle which started way, way back when Bruce Forsyth was still in his early seventies and you could still get jaiked in a pub for less than thirty quid.

It all began in a Hamilton supermarket oan a busy Friday afternoon aboot five years efter the first Papal Visit tae Scotia.

The shop was fair hoachin’ wae customers, amidst whom wis a big wumman, grumpily getting the weekly rations in for the family, followed reluctantly aboot twenty yards behind by her wee toddler.

Noticing her wean loitering hopefully at the sweetie aisle far a’hint her, the maw turned aroond and blasted, at fu’ volume in front o’ hunners o’ fellow consumers: “JOHN-PAUL! COME OAN TAE (CENSORED)!!”

Ach weel, at least His Holiness was spared this, safely away back in the Vatican and weel oot o’ earshot...

Onyway, let’s fast-forward mony, mony years tae a few months ago when mah endless trekking through oor land brought me tae a posh supermarket in a swanky pairt o’ Embra.

Here ah espied a slim, tanned and very weel turned-oot ‘yummy mummy’ who had a lagging wean aboot the same age as the Hamilton yin. And here the similarities ended.

Or so ah thoucht.

As obviously stressed oot as yon ither maw far across the decades, class divide and Central Belt o’ Scotland back in Hamilton, this superbly groomed, monied dame lets fly at her bairn wae the cry: “TORQUIL! STOP PLAYING WITH THE ASPARAGUS AND COME HERE!”

Noo, ah dinnae recount yon tales just tae illustrate the common traits amang Scots wummen o’ a’ means but also tae share wae you a thought that entered mah heid at hearing an important news item last week, perhaps even far mair important than we’d first think.

Now, see how when you see somewan you ken weel but oot o’ their ususal setting, it kinda throws you for a meenute?

Weel, this brief confusion happened tae me twice in Lanark supermarkets recently.

Now, dinnae grass me up tae mah buddies in the Lanark Business Group’s Totally Locally campaign but circumstances found me shopping in baith Tesco’s and Morrisons oan the same Saturday.

In Tesco’s ah espied a pretty young lassie daein’ her shopping and paused for a minute, unaccountably baffled at her appearance. Something was wrang wae her - but whit?

She waved a friendly greetin’ at me as she moved aff tae another aisle so that confirmed ah DID know her. But from where?

Suddenly it struck me; she was wan o’ mah regular checkoot girls frae the toon’s branch o’ Morrisons, oot shopping in enemy territory.

Noo, aboot hauf an hour later, ah was traipsing through the aforementioned Morrisons wae mah shopping basket – a wumman’s work is never done in the Harris hoosehold – and, stone me, there was wan o’ mah wee pals frae the TESCO tills oot getting her messages in its main toon rival’s store tae!

Is this whit the British economy amounts tae noo; millions o’ folk getting pairt-time wages frae wan supermarket chain just tae spend it in anither wan?

Yon piece o’ news ah mentioned earlier was that the mighty Tesco had posted a quarter drap in its profits tae a measly wan and a bit billon or so.

Does this mean that the supermarket money-go-round is finally running dry and folk just dinnae have the cash tae gie the economy the kick up the bahookie it so sorely needs?

Ah suspect so but, having said that, a dinnae think it’s quite time for me tae go onto Lanark High Street and haud a silver collection for poor auld Tesco. No’ yet.