Voting with your purse


In the village not far from us, there’s a choice of two shops. The Co-op and not the Co-op. I’m not going to give the latter some free advertising and this post is about that.

I don’t usually buy from the other shop, but the Co-Op didn’t have what I needed. As I stood in the socially distanced queue, I noticed some rainbow flags draped around the tills. Proudly supporting LGBTQ+ they proclaimed. Ah, how awesome.

Funny. They seemed also to be stocking three red top ‘newspapers’ who have a very poor track record on LGBTQ+ matters. Hmm. That took the shine off a bit.

When I got to the singular cashier, we did the usual How Are Yous, and I asked how the company was supporting LGBTQ+. The answer: oh, they don’t tell us that type of thing. Hmm. I guess that staff training and awareness may need a bit of work.

N=1 doesn’t make a research study, but that and the presence of the three rags – sorry, newspapers – well, it made me think the gesture was somewhat hollow. Merely a nod to draw in the pennies. Indeed a quick look on the organisation’s website didn’t bring anything up.

Perhaps, said company need to be a bit more like this:

Yes, it’s an advert and yes it’s designed to make us part with our money. However, I think there are those that show folk – and the organisation – in a good light.

No punching down, no lazy tropes, and maybe, just maybe, someone will see that person and think there’s someone like me. Isn’t that a good thing?

L x


  1. Well said. That’s the co-op for you – in the end it’s about community. I have heard of green washing, is pink washing also a thing?

  2. Yes, it’s a good thing. This ad certainly gives encouragement and support, which is much needed. Pride Month is definitely focusing positive attention on us and I hope we can continue to benefit for the other months of the year too.

    I feel a bit mean about mentioning this but, as with the shop that displays its support but then sells abusive tabloids too, this ad’s message is not unequivocal: “Our strawberries are 100% British”. Well, I hope those strawberries are proud of their heritage! Or is it that they are pure-bred? No miscegenation with – ugh! – French strawberries. Or German, perish the thought! You see, that nationalist message suggests less of a satisfaction with reducing environmental damage by using only local produce (“Kilometre Zero” as the concept is called in Italy) as suggesting that national strawberries are somehow more desirable by the fact of their nationality alone. Many of our LGBT problems stem from non-acceptance by the nationalist red-top reading bullies who insist on British being best, the one and only, and that gay and trans rights reduce the moral fibre of the nation. So, much as I like the gentle advert and its pro-LGBT stance in many ways, I do find the mixed message almost as troubling as that in the Not the Co-op shop. It’s advertising that tries to grab very different customers at the same time. It’s what advertising’s about, of course, but it caused me to pause and wonder. Sorry.

    Sue x

    1. Locally grown food is an interesting system. In previous years it was said that the energy required to heat greenhouses in the UK, meant importing strawberries had less of a carbon footprint. Where this stands following green energy or vertical farms, I don’t know.

      Plus the Co-Op also stock those same papers 🙁 There was a concerted effort to campaign against this and the retailer did respond. Sadly, they did not withdraw the sales. I think Virgin Trains got into a PR issue when they withdrew then temporarily.

      Still, delight can be had in coffee shops and suchlike, by putting any of those papers in the recycling. 😉

  3. despite the LGBTQ rainbow, do not forget that the kiddies have been encouraged to draw rainbows as a ‘defence’ against Covid19, and the shop is probably reflecting these current sentiments.

  4. I think the Co-Op should be congratulated, yes they do use their support of local causes and of course LGBTQ+ as a marketing aid, they are running a business after all, but it is clear the support is positive, not just lip service. This advert is very good and shows our community in a positive light, which has to be a good thing. I do feel, however, the real point of the advert will be lost on a lot of people as all they will see is a woman rambling on about strawberry’s! But for those that do get the connection it would hopefully show a positive light on us. I do appreciate the Co-Op resisted the temptation to use someone outrageous in order to get the message across…………

    1. Advertising… Yeah, it’s a trade off with marketing, realism, and money. Probably more, but I don’t work in the sector.

      I think the Co-op do give back to the local community and we’ve seen various causes covered in our area. Okay, it’s not a mint, but they do put money in.

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