If you’ve never been to the People’s Supermarket, I think you’d be surprised at how normal all the stuff is. There are sections of top-end delicatessen-ery, the rococo biscuits for the same price as a pair of trousers in Primark; there’s Haribo bears, for the universal price of not very much. There is no manic “buy this, get that free” promotional activity – they use the food that won’t last much longer in their own kitchen, which is, as the head cook, Paul Batho, soberly puts it, “a real profit centre in the business”.
It’s just one large-ish shop on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury,London: there are no economies of scale, and no classic supermarket deal slicing, where you bargain with suppliers until you see the bones under their flesh, and the upshot is that you get a load of satsumas for free that nobody wants. The shopfront is quite idiosyncratic, the people working there are very open, and it smells as if there is a working kitchen producing food on the premises, rather than a packet of simulated baking-bread-smell granules, going round and round the simulated baking bread granule machine. You’d like it, in other words, but you wouldn’t think this was the start of a consumer revolution.