Big shops and brands like Walmart or Tesco are taking over the world. It is at this point in time, not easy to be independent and run a little shop. The essay Once Upon a Shop is written by Jeanette Winterson, who is a British writer. The essay was first published the 13. June 2010. The essay is about Jeanette Winterson and her little vegetable shop, which is located in Spitalfields in the east end of London. Jeanette Winterson tells in the essay how she opened a vegetable shop instead of being hired in a cooperative brand. She also tells about her passion for running her own shop, and about the challenges and he possibilities by running her own shop and the fact that we still need to be independent.
The author Jeanette Winterson had been offered to sell her building to a big coffee company, but she rejected the offer because of what she felt was wrong politics. Winterson used to live in London, but moved to Spitalfields to live on the countryside. The whole story is about how the big food chains like Tesco dominates the market and pushes the little shops aside. Winterson point is, that quality should be over quantity; it’s not about making a huge profit but being a human being. The world has changed since the Napoleon wars and the Irish potato crisis, but in a negative direction.
In “Once Upon a shop” we’re seeing two different markets, the old and the new. Jeanette Winterson has experienced both. Spitalfields used to be the fruit and veg market in London since the Middle Ages, but the market has now moved out to Nine Elms. “The pyramids of oranges, gassed lemons, King Kong size bananas, forest of parsley, potato towers and crates of peas, red tomatoes, pink grapefruit, deep-stacked beetroot, all as creatively piled as anything in Tate Modern” Here you see how good old quality pesticide-free food has turned into history and the little corner shops are facing the same problem. The food market is being dominated by food chains such as Tesco, and it makes it hard for little shops to survive. ” I prefer individuality and eccentricity and self-determination all the things the free market is supposed to deliver, and never does because markets soon become homogenous and anti-competitive. ” Winterson is aware of this problem and she puts the blame on capitalism. She thinks everything is the same and that the era of quality food is over, but her shop Verde is something special. It focuses on quality and not making a huge profit and fooling the customers. Quality over money is also one of the big themes in this text.
“I was vegetarian for nine years, not because I object to eating animals, but because I object to factory farming. Long before the organic movement made it possible to easily buy humane meats and veg grown without pesticides.” That’s one of the other points in this text. We need to look at to the old days, when things were special and made by the lovely touch of a human hand, instead of a food chains factory machine. It was never her intension to open up a food shop, but the money offer from the coffee chain made her open up for new different things, and she needed to be different. And today people are afraid to stand out of the crowd; we all want to be accepted and to be the same to the guy next to us. And when you manage to stand out of the crowd, you see a different world just like Jeanette Winterson. She sees the problem with small shops fading into the history books and she wants to change that. It also leads to the title “Once Upon a shop”, maybe one day you will open up a history book and think: “Oh, I didn’t even knew such a thing even existed?”
When she opened up Verde with the American Harvey Cabaniss they changed the restored shop front back to the original. “Harvey set about installing a grand espresso machine so that you can have some coffee while your peas are being weighed. As we do the best coffee in London” There is the example on how little shops still can make quality, even though they’re not a super big coffee chain. “We got a lot of Italians coming by, so much that Harvey has now hired his own Flamboyant Italian baristas. Go into Verde any morning and it sounds like, and tastes like, Naples” Here we see a little nationality clash between English, American and Italian. Even though we’re in Great Britain, you still have an American and Italian Chef. ” If we want the delightful sustainable small shops we all adore in France or Italy” Winterson point here is to look outside the world and not live isolated in our little dome, and that’s the key to a successful small shop and that’s how you make quality food. She thinks there is no such thing as cheap food. The price of the food needs to be balanced so, the workers still can get rightfully paid, the animals rightfully treated. “Verde makes you feel better. There isn’t a way of pricing that” Winterston point here is that you can’t buy happiness.