A couple of days ago I received an incandescent-with-fury email berating Sainsbury’s and Waitrose for stocking Belvedere Broccoli, a conventionally bred, non-GMO broccoli devloped by the Great Evil One, Monsanto.
Now I hold absolutely no brief for Monsanto – I think they demonstrate some of the absolutely worst features of modern, multinational capitalism – so I have no particular desire to buy any product in which they have had a hand and am very happy to lobby Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to think twice about stocking their products.
However, what actually got up my nose was the response the supermarkets gave to Ciaran who is running this particular lobbying campaign:
Waitrose and Sainsbury’s say they haven’t had complaints from customers about the product and have no plans to stop selling the trademarked broccoli, but they will continue to monitor customer feedback…
Don’t they have minds of their own? Can they not take a position and, if they really mean all that chat about ‘ethical sourcing’ etc, choose not to buy from Monsanto? Or, if they decide that they do want to buy Monsanto products, can they not make that decision on thier own? Why does it always have to be thrown back to us, the customer?
Yes, I know they need us to buy their products otherwise they will go out of business, and yes, of course they should listen to customer feedback – but that does not mean that they should buck pass all decisions back to us customers? If they want to sell Monsanto broccoli they should do so – it is up to us whether we chose to buy it. If Monsanto offends against their principles of trading, then they should not sell the products.
What they should not do is to sell, or not to sell them, only on the basis of complaints from their customers!