Evidence that the recession is biting into Glasgow's squeezed middle classes emerged today after it was revealed that well-heeled shoppers in some of Glasgow's most affluent areas have been helping themselves to low-price items at city Tesco stores.
Tesco branches in affluent areas of the city, including Merchant City and Byres Road, have had to resort to putting electronic security tags on items such as bacon (£2) and mince (£2.50) after thefts of some meat products reached epidemic proportions. Such tagging measures have previously been reserved for higher-value and luxury items such as DVDs and televisions.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Hillhead, Ken Elder, whose party is part of the UK coalition government imposing deep cuts, said:
"I am surprised and disappointed ... having to remove the security tag from your pork chop seems a bit excessive."
A Tesco spokesman said:
"It is not a universal rule to tag raw meat products, and the decision would have been taken by managers at local level. For years certain products have always been tagged, [and] if any store has an issue with meat theft, action will be taken."
One local customer responded with dismay, saying:
"Perhaps, due to the recession, those who can't afford to feed themselves are resorting to theft. Some people just can't afford to pay for things and these measures are a result of for that."
Meanwhile, just a few miles away in the Tesco store in the poorest constituency in the UK, Glasgow North East, the bacon remains tag-free ... for the time being!