A new unit of measurement- The Tesco

28 04 2010

It’s difficult to imagine what £1.4 trillion actually looks like. That’s approximately the value of everything produced in the UK in one year (the GDP). I find it very hard to imagine how big sums of money are once they get above a few thousand pounds and I don’t think I’m alone. There is an excellent solution to this problem published this week on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8638714.stm

Rather than thinking about large sums of money in pounds, we need to think of it in terms of Tescos. The Tesco is a great new unit of measurement!Tesco’s yearly sales in the UK are approximately £40 billion. If we take 1 Tesco = £40 billion pounds then you can get a feel for the really big budgets in our country:

New unit of measurement: The Tesco. Their sales are approximately £40 billion in a year

UK economy, government spending and government debt in Tescos

Defence and NHS budgets and the bank bailout in Tescos

UK private sector in Tescos

I was amazed by how well Tesco have done. I knew they were big, but not that big! If you think about how much you spend in Tesco each year, the government spends about the same amount of money on your behalf on defence and gave about the same amount of money on your behalf to the banks last year! When you realise that one in every £28 in the UK’s private sector passes through Tesco I think it’s really clear how big the retail industry as a whole must be as a proportion of our economy!

If you have any other thoughts that I haven’t raised above then share them in the comments section below. Also let us know if you have any ideas of other new units of measurement we can use to get our heads around either very big or very small numbers!

Well done to the BBC for inventing The Tesco! It’s at times like this that I feel I get good value from paying my license fee!

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