The difficult economic climate of the last few years has led to a tendency that makes us, as consumers, groan: businesses demanding to be loved.
‘We need you more in January than any other month,’ say pubs and restaurants. ‘Buy British beer!’ and ‘Don’t buy big brands,’ say breweries. ‘Shop local, boo to supermarkets,’ says nearly everyone. There is even, now, a campaign urging brewers to use more British hops, and consumers to appreciate them. The rallying cry of this kind of campaigning is ‘Use it or lose it!’
We’re broadly sympathetic to all of those causes, but find the constant nagging (yes, that’s how it feels) rather exhausting.
The needs of business people aren’t the only thing we take into account when we’re deciding what to buy or where to shop: sometimes we’re skint; sometimes we, don’t get chance to go shopping until everything but Tesco is shut; sometimes, the small-producer, local version of a particular product simply isn’t good enough. And isn’t going to the pub supposed to be fun? When it becomes a duty, like going to church, then count us out.
Like whining at someone who isn’t responding to your romantic overtures, begging for custom, rather than demonstrating why you deserve it, is actually rather a turn-off.