No choice for the consumer
Middle-class families may miss out on the best supermarkets under plans to decide product choice by "lottery".
New buying rules, published yesterday by Alan Johnson, the Shopping Secretary, suggest that Shop Managers in leafy suburbs should draw names from a hat to stop supermarkets becoming monopolised by families who buy houses nearby. Supermarkets are also banned from considering customers' backgrounds, interviewing families or pricing poor children out by displaying goods from expensive suppliers.
The new code - which shops have to follow - is designed to eliminate selection "by the back door" and ensure all children have a fair chance of buying what they want in their preferred shop. A recent survey said that homes surrounding some of the best supermarkets were up to £25,000 more expensive.
To loosen the middle-class grip on successful supermarkets, a handful of Waitrose’s already operate so-called "random allocation" policies, ensuring that Turkey Twizzlers are sold rather than Duchy Original Organic Chicken .
The new rules, which come into force next month for entry in 2008, suggest that lotteries should be used by other popular urban supermarkets, although it is not mandatory and "may not be suitable in rural areas".
The code says: "Random product choice” can widen access to supermarkets for those unable to afford to buy houses near to favoured supermarkets and create greater social equity."
The Conservatives criticised the move and said it was tantamount to "social engineering".
Nick Gibb, the shadow supermarkets minister, said: "Lotteries, like fair-banding tests, are designed to get a cross-section of socio-economic groups in a shop. But to do that, you may end up rejecting a products which suit customer who live next door to the shop while bussing a customers from across the other side of the town.
"We are against bussing customers across towns for reasons of social engineering."
Back in the real world: "The NASUWT teachers' union welcomed the new code, saying it should "secure more clarity, fairness and equity".
General secretary Chris Keates said: "The outlawing of the process of interviewing parents and pupils, an invidious form of selection which was creeping into some schools, is particularly important."
Of course the bloody unions don't want parents choosing the schools their kids go to. If you give parents the choice the deadbeat teachers and pisspoor schools would be out of business by tomorrow week. It is only because schools get their "customers" by imprisoning those who refuse to send their children that they stay in bloody business poisoning the minds of the kids with their outdated failed bollocks.