Can you measure love with Tesco’s mistletoe sales?

A headline in the Southern Reporter (a regional newspaper in Southern Scotland) announcing that Mistletoe sales slip in Galashielscaught my eye yesterday.

The story is based on statistics from Tesco, who have apparently released information on mistletoe sales from their stores across the country.

Mistletoe on display in Tesco
Mistletoe on display in Tesco

Their Galashiels store apparently had the third worst mistletoe sales in the whole UK, and the worst in Scotland, making it “Scotland’s leading loveless location”. Only Tamworth and Birmingham were worse.

No data were actually quoted, so it’s impossible to tell whether Galashiels’ ‘lovelessness’ is significant or just slightly below the norm. And the media section of Tesco’s website says nothing on this, so I can’t even verify the story.

Tesco mistletoe - looking rather tired already...
Tesco mistletoe – looking rather tired already…

But, whatever the statistics might say can you really measure mistletoe use by sales in Tesco? And does that reflect local lurve??

No, of course it doesn’t  Sales of mistletoe at Tesco are NOT going to reflect mistletoe usage for a start. Their mistletoe is (sorry Tesco) rather unappealing by the time it gets to their displays, half-dead, often rather manky and about as romantic as a stale Tesco Finest mince pie. They simply don’t know how to look after it.

And would sales reflect local love? Well, no, obviously. As the Southern Reporter article points out, sales in Tesco Lerwick were the second highest in the UK – and that makes no sense compared to Galashiels and Perth (also in the bottom ten).

And they also say, without apparently realising the inherent contradiction, that Hereford is another town in the bottom ten for mistletoe sales. Hereford is, of course, in the centre of the main mistletoe growing areas of the UK, and mistletoe is Herefordshire’s County Flower. I really don’t think you can measure Hereford’s love of the plant, or love in general, by measuring how much mistletoe was sold by Tesco there! It grows all round there on trees – who (and why?) in Hereford would buy it in Tesco??

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