Friday, 26 September 2008

Supermarkets, Pubs and Adolf Hitler

It was supermarkets and chain stores, with the power of bulk buying, which put our corner shops out of business, and now it appears that the same thing is happening to our pubs.

The smoking ban is not the only factor which is driving many of our "locals" to the wall. Many of them, such as the one pictured here, The Brigantine, just off South Shields Market Place, just cannot compete with pub chains, who are able to keep their prices at rock-bottom by bulk buying.

So, while we all like to pay less for our pint, do we really want to see our choice of watering-holes so drastically reduced? It's a conundrum.

Incidentally, in addition to Jews (am I allowed to use that expression nowadays? Is it "politically correct"?) supermarkets were one of Adolf Hitler's pet hates and he severely restricted them when he came to power. This is further proof that he was a bit of a "mixed-up kid", since many of the small shops were actually owned by the Jews!

I wonder what he would have done about chain pubs?


Scoats said...

Here in the US chain places destroy mom & pop businesses because people have been conditioned that big and chain is better.

I don't think the bulk purchasing argument, at least here in the USA, holds water. While bigger places do get breaks, they aren't getting it free. They pay less but not loads less. Countering their lower cost of goods is the higher overhead of being large.

I suspect small independent pubs are dying out in the UK and Ireland for the same reason they are dying out here. There are so many more options these days. Pubs used to have things most folks couldn't get at home. With Wii and DVDs that's not fully true anymore.

It's not all bad news for small pubs, many find ways to thrive in today's world, but that takes a lot of dedication and cleverness.

papastonch said...

Thanks for your comments, you make some very fair points. I hope you are right that dedicated and clever publicans can survive, especially as my son has just bought a pub!
Drinking your beer at home is pretty sad. There's nothing to beat the atmosphere of a good pub.

Beer Blokes said...

G'Day again Papastonch,
I have just posted a piece on this very same topic as in Australia the big supermarkets have a massive duopoly but the 'pub' scene seems to have largely survived. What we don't have here is a 'real pub' culture - too many brightly lit barns with poker machines, cheesy overpriced bistros and very little soul. I have been a bit cynical of the 'Plastic Mc Paddy's Pretend Irish pub' concept that seems all the rage over here but it appears that they are the only ones who come close to a real pub feel!

And you are spot on - I can't see the value in sitting at home if you have the option of having a beer poured and served to you, cleaned up afterwards and a bit of banter in between!

Prof. Pilsner

papastonch said...

Yes, we have the cheesy "Irish" bar syndrome here too. I have just come back from Italy and the "virus" of Irish bars seems to have spread there also!
Still, as you say, they do have at least SOME atmosphere, even if it's phony.
I like getting into conversations (or just listening in) in bars with locals, you learn a lot that way.