Many folks over here in Britain seem to resent corporate success. Case in point Tesco, the giant grocer that has become the latest target of the resented bunch of leftists that populate these shores. Perhaps the case is that every now and then they need new culprits; having been done with BP, Shell and pharmaceutical companies that ‘endanger animal welfare’ la bola de resentidos
has set its sight on Tesco. Nothing wrong with that some will say, the politics of collectively biting the hand that feeds -as a way of escaping individual failure- is something that has characterized the Left, in fact, that’s one of the few things it has proven to be semi efficient at. So Tesco is at the core of this new attack from the forces of ‘progress’ and it got me thinking, how come Tesco has become so successful in a country where competition, almost in any area, is so fierce? Further, how can Tesco’s estelar performance can be compared with Hugo Chavez equally impressive record? And the answer lays with a set of conditions without which none of the two could have achieved anything.
Years ago I noticed in an office in Caracas a small poster that mocked how the perfect European should be. Indeed Britons know very little about good cuisine, which also explains the celebrity status granted to chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver; for it’s not hard to gain recognition in the land of the fish and chips than say in France, Italy or Spain. Additionally this is a country where eating is just a process whereby anything serves the purpose of ridding the body of that most annoying feeling known as hunger. Therefore we have Pret-a-Mangers -with its pretty disgusting sandwiches- and the American haute cuisine powerhouses -Starbucks, McDonald, Kentucky Fried, Pizza Hut et al laughing all the way to the bank. Thus a few clever men, those that grow up eating proper food, realized that the conditions were there; they must have thought “what better than to combine the rather limited variety of crap under one roof and have the mass of sandwich-eaters storm through the doors?” Mind you Tesco would have had an extraordinarily difficult time gaining new business in the Basque country, Tuscany or Bordeaux, however in Britain it was just a walk in the park.
So how does Tesco’s success compare to Hugo Chavez’s? Although in completely different settings, the Venezuelan dictator also found a niche, a country that provided excellent conditions for someone valiant enough to conduct an absolute take over. Chavez, as the few men who noticed that proper food is not a priority for the majority of Britons, launched his political assault and encountered very little resistance. In the days when the opposition -which does not even deserve to be called as such- rule Venezuela he attempted his coup d’etat, only to be turned instantly into an icon by the very same administration he was trying to oust. In fact, had those in charge not been so incredibly clumsy, Chavez would most probably be today paying for his crimes in jail. Instead he rules Venezuela like no other figure had done since the beginning of last century.
His foes are so utterly incompetent that the man will, quite effectively, rule until he wishes. Back in Britain some folks have stated that in a not too distant future we all will have to eat whatever food Tesco wants to source and offer on its shelves. Of course these cry wolf allegations will never come to bear for as long as there is a market for non-Tesco stuff, read people that do enjoy eating and take the process of nourishment very seriously, the grocer will only be able to expand in sandwich-eater territory. Chavez on the other hand will continue gaining ground for there’s no market in Venezuela for an opposition that works Monday to Thursday, 10:30 to 4 and repeatedly fails at addressing the issues that have made Chavez such a formidable institution. One of my partners laid it out very clearly the other day: opposition folks in Venezuela, the whole lot be it in politics, media, industry, etc., are like tigers in a zoo; if some careless visitor fells on its cage it will probably be attacked and devoured, however if that very tiger is released in the jungle, it will most probably perish due to its inability to perform in a survival-of-the-fittest sort of environment.
Ultimately success depends as much in the vision, courage and actions of certain individuals as in a variety of factors outside conscious control.