The hardship of spending money that is not yours

Q. How much does it cost to buy office equipment? A. It depends on who’s paying.

In 2010 Helston town was awarded more than £825,000 from Tesco and Sainsbury’s as a planning condition to building new supermarkets. The idea was for the money to offset the potential loss of trade in the town centre.

Curiously, Tesco has now added a mobile phone retail outlet within their store, which is in direct competition with two shops in the town centre, but I digress, as I’m keen to get into where most of this money has gone.

The Packet newspaper recently reported how a huge proportion of the cash has been spent so far, such as the employment of a town manager and £7,527 spent on carpets, furniture, computers and phone lines. A further £6,488 was spent when he was replaced – a grand total of £14,015.

Fourteen grand on carpets, desks, computers, printers, phones and faxes? Really? I’ve been in business for 16 years and deal with many other small companies, yet am not aware of one that would find this kind of expenditure reasonable for a two-person office.

Other payments include £1300 for stickers, £10,000 on marketing,  £14,892 on a website, £20,431 for a series of markets and £57,093 on wages in one year alone.

It’s easy to spend money when it is not your own and I don’t believe the impact of the new supermarkets has been offset at all. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have not have done anything wrong, yet I can’t help but feel that the people supposed to be working for our interests have failed us – and been well paid for doing so.

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