Harris + Hoole. It sounds like an entry in the cockney slang dictionary, but today it represents the latest item on the agendas of the savvy consumers waging war on big money corporations.
But what’s all the fuss about?
A casual stroll into one of Harris + Hoole’s 10 chains will probably leave you with a feeling of déjà vu: quirky, chirpy and I suppose rather ‘indie’, they’re oh so keen to throw their fair trade, free love values right at you. It’s the kind of thing Southern hipsters never fail to buy into (perhaps even I do), heaven forbid a potential Instagram photo opportunity is missed. A visit to their website will leave you hard pushed to resist their over friendly welcome and their “happy people” outlook. It’s, and I quote, “a family affair”.
But wait a minute. Is it really? Or are Harris + Hoole having us over? Could this rad high street chain in fact be a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Surely not…
Think again. Take away the darling pottery, the handwritten chalkboard menu and the super friendly staff and you’ll find a supermarket giant taking note of and cashing in on every sip you take: Tesco.
As consumers, we love to hate them. And it’s fair to say that their sneaky 49% stake in H+H has got previously unassuming yummy mummies all riled up.
The tale of the independent business that succumbs to the temptations of the dark corporate side: we’ve seen it all before. Ben and Jerry’s, Green and Black’s, even Innocent Smoothies. So what’s so unique about Harris + Hoole-gate?
It’s the fact that H+H is not just part owned by Tesco but was in fact created by them. It’s birth represents a systematic attempt at infiltrating the success of the unassuming, small high street coffee shop. Their clever use of language is downright devious and it just isn’t sitting right with angry consumers.
Nor should it. Amen to those who want to know whose pocket their money is going into. Amen to those who dare to object to the undermining of their intelligence and the scheming plots of money thirsty super corporations.
Long live the independent café! Long live tea (and perhaps on this occasion, coffee too)!