Monday, 20 July 2009

Tesco the 'choice architect'. Arrrrgghhhhh!

I approached Thaler and Sunstein’s modish book ‘Nudge’ with trepidation. I nearly chose not to continue past the odious epithet ‘choice architect’ which appeared in its opening pages. And it would be misleading to imply that I didn’t almost chew through the insides of my face on a couple of occasions when the co-authors’ references to themselves in the third person became too frequent to bear. Yet, my oceanic reserves of irritability aside, I found the work to be animated by a well argued, worthwhile premise and its central thesis was, I acknowledge, communicated clearly.

The book does impart to its readers a curse which endures months after the volume itself has been consigned to the bookshelf. I’d be surprised if anyone has yet managed to read it without finding themselves impelled to identify and categorise any number of ‘nudges’ which suddenly manifest themselves in various political and commercial situations. My suspicion, in this regard, has been substantiated by Rob Greenland’s post on ‘The Social Business’ blog, which recognises that Tesco has been ‘nudging’ customers towards reusing carrier bags during their weekly shop.

Despite a couple of instances when we’ve spilled fruit and veg over the car-park or street after a particularly tired old bag has objected to being filled yet again with heavy groceries, my girlfriend and I continue to march out of Tesco with M & S, Dunnes and Waterstones bags. It appears that increasingly other shoppers are doing the same. There has been a 48% reduction in the number of new plastic bags used. Apart from asking customers whether they need bags on each occasion they visit the till (which is a ‘nudge’ in itself), the company also awards Clubcard points to those who bring their own.

It’s clear evidence that people’s wasteful behaviour can be altered by relatively simple expedients. It also gives me a pretext to post a Tim Minchin video.

6 comments:

Timothy Belmont said...

They've changed our habits too. I bring my own shopping-bags in to stores; have been doing so for many months. Occasionally I forget to take them out of the boot and I sometimes use their own bags if I've run out at home (because they have a multitude of uses).

Other than that, I've collected many "green" points!

Tim

Big Ben said...

Tesco Unionism

Cheap, politically expedient and happy to damage local identity.

Anonymous said...

"Yet, my oceanic reserves of irritability aside, I found the work to be animated by a well argued, worthwhile premise and its central thesis was, I acknowledge, communicated clearly."

Do you often drink before you write a review?

Sherry?

Cocksure Colin said...

Timothy

The have changed my habits, I don't shop there anymore after seeing their deisgusting effect on our local high street for the price of a few exotic fruits.

All conservatives should be fighting to restrain muti-corps like Tesco from globalising England.

England is alive, but barely.

Stroopy said...

When the night falls down

and all the shops are closed

And theres nothing to eat

And theres a place i know

With the sound of shoppers

In the isle looking for food

When you walk down that aisle

I found the milk and a loaf of bread

And we're spinning with the tollies

And i crash into the frozen goods

Ooh, baby, do you know how much thats worth ?

Ooh Tesco is a place on earth

They say in tesco saving comes first

We'll make tesco a place on earth

Ooh Tesco is a place on earth

When i out of milk

I reach for semi-Skimmed

And i get full fat

When I'm lost in the bakery

I hear the attension notice

And ill collect my trolly

In this tesco we're just beginning

To understand the miracle of saving

Baby I was afraid i spend more

But I'm not afraid i save even more

Ooh, baby, do you know how much that is worth ?

Ooh Tesco is a place on earth

They say in Tesco Saving comes first

We'll make Tesco a place on earth

Ooh Tesco is a place on earth

Uranus 69 said...

I'm new to this site, what's it about, it seems to mix book reviews with Irish politics.... and a bit of eastern European / russian reporting on the side.