Consumer Society and Choice

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A consumer society is a post-industrial term used to describe the fact that society is characterised more by what people consume and less by the jobs they do or goods they produce (Hetherington, 2009). As our relationship with consumerism has changed so too have the choices available of why, when, where and how we consume. The first part of this assignment will look at the characteristics of a consumer society, the choices available and identify the divisions created from unequal choices. The second part will consider the role of the Big four supermarkets (TESCO, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrison’s) in providing choice to people. The term consumer society goes beyond the mere act of shopping and the functional use of goods with contemporary…show more content…
Larger stores also offer people the convenience of additional services along with their shopping, for example post office, pharmacy and opticians. By addressing consumer’s expectations and using their buyer power they can offer a choice of products to reflect consumer’s diverse budgetary, dietary, ethical and environmental requirements. Furthermore their global buyer power enables consumers to benefit from choosing exotic produce all year round. With 30,000,000 customers (Bevan cited in Allen, 2009) choosing to use the big four supermarkets on a weekly basis it would suggest that they provide a format that consumers want. Supermarkets also claim that their economic leverage enables them to benefit local communities by building stores and providing social and economic regeneration packages. One such example is Linwood, on the outskirts of Glasgow (Allen, 2009). The closure of a main employer left the centre of Linwood economically scarred. A proposal to build a new Tesco supermarket in the area and attract other special retailers to the ailing Town Centre was met with enthusiasm by local residents. Supporters of supermarkets advocate that everyone within the supply chain (customers, communities and suppliers) benefit from supermarkets, a concept Dennis Wrong terms the “positive sum game” (Allen, 2009). Anti-supermarket campaigners have a counterclaim that the big four abuse their dominant position in the marketplace and restrict
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