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LESLEY KEATING: A white-knuckle pursuit ending with a lesson in trust

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Maybe the actress Jane Horrocks isn’t aware of the saying ‘biting the hand that feeds you’. Her disparaging comments about Tesco being ‘full of chavs’, ‘pensioners holding everyone up’ and ‘screeching kids’ would seem to suggest so.

This is the woman who made enough out of starring in commercials for the supermarket giant to buy a house she has dubbed ‘Tesco Towers’ and have the luxury of turning down acting jobs she didn’t fancy.

We’re all smart enough to realise that celebrities who advertise certain brands don’t actually shop there. They just want us to think they do.

Indeed, some have been caught out by smart snappers as they’ve emerged from a rival store loaded down with their weekly shop.

But did Ms Horrocks really have to be so dismissive of what she perceives to be the type of customer that Tesco attracts these days?

There’s always been a lot of snobbery about which supermarket you shop at. But times are changing. Whereas once upon a time Waitrose and Marks & Spencer customers would rather die than darken the doors of their local Tesco, now all human life is in there.

Customers range from the trackies and tattoo brigade to business people in suits and Yummy Mummies.

The reason is simple – we’re all being squeezed these days and the bottom line is the bill at the checkout.

Then there’s the fact that it’s now seen as perfectly acceptable to the middle classes to hunt out bargains in territory that was once unfamilar.

In these austere times, there’s a badge of honour to be gained if you’re the most frugal among your friends.

Splashing the cash and being ostentatious when you go food shopping is seen as the height of bad taste.

So you can now witness the once-incongruous sight of BMWs, Audis and Range Rovers in the car park at Asda or Lidl, because saving money is what people talk about at dinner parties.

But I wonder how long it is before they break and go on clandestine missions to the retail haven of calm and civility that is Waitrose?