“About” Chris Dawson

There was a remarkable moment during Channel 4 News’ coverage of George Osborne’s pre-election budget this week. The format for Channel 4’s budget coverage never changes; the formula is: hire a pub to broadcast live from, bring together one or two posh types with a few regular folk on middle or low incomes, and then start stirring up some discussion. Usually the result is little more than a predictable run-through of the announced measures, with expressions of dismay or delight, depending upon the participants’ political leanings and economic status.

chrisdawsonEnter Chris Dawson, owner of the Range superstore. You can find out all about the Range by visiting their website. They are a sort of poor man’s Next, I suppose, if you like that sort of thing. The sort of place where you can pick up a small electrical white good (like a freezer) at the back of the store and buy a box of candy whilst going through the checkout. Their homepage also links to another page where you can find out all about Chris Dawson. You will perhaps get a sense of the character of this self-confessed “Del Boy” (see picture) if I quote from his “About” page:

Chris featured in the Sunday Times rich List and continues to climb places each year. His ethos in business is to make as much profit as possible; whilst to some this may be seen as greed, in his eyes it is merely the measure of how successful he is in his chosen field.

This clear-cut philosophy is obviously what prompted him, as a participant in Channel 4’s budget coverage, to reply to an NHS worker who dared to complain that her pay has been frozen for several years: “Ah, well, the NHS… Maybe you love the job, I don’t know. But have you considered doing a course related to something else and entering a different line of work?”

Perhaps Mr Dawson, who started his working life as an open air market trader, thinks that NHS work is so fully-marketised that, instead of a standard pay scale, NHS workers literally compete with each other for work, so that by the end of the working day, the better ones will have earned more money and will therefore have a proper measure of how successful they have been in their chosen career. Perhaps that is the basis on which people working at the Range are paid; I’m not sure, but I’ll be certain to ask one of them next time I’m in there.

An associate of David Cameron (Mr Dawson’s “About” page features the obligatory photographs of him standing next to the Prime Minister, no doubt another “measure” of success in his chosen field), he spent much of his five minutes on national television justifying his positive economic assessments by alluding to very important business deals he “obviously couldn’t talk about” on air (we viewers were left with no doubt that we were being graced with the precious time of a well-connected and powerful man).

I wonder however, if, in the ruling class circles through which Mr Dawson cuts such a dashing figure, the people in power are really listening to him and his philosophy. After all, the government are paying out huge sums in terms of in-work benefits to working people through tax credits and the like, effectively subsidising the low wages of Mr Dawson’s competitors with whom he has to compete for workers. Surely – I mean, SURELY – if the people in power were listening to him, they would understand that if the government refused to subsidise low wages in this way, Mr Dawson could temporarily divert his profits towards paying higher wages to his employees in the medium term, thereby eventually putting his competitors out of business, in order to reap greater longer-term profits. (“It’s called playing the long-game, innit, Rodney? Cushtie!”)

But then I suppose the reason that nobody hears Mr Dawson say this is because Mr Dawson knows not to say this sort of thing when he turns up to functions at which the Prime Minister, or other powerful people, are in attendance. For he knows that his competitors are in the building at the same time as him and the idea would not go down very well. Oh well, then, perhaps he knows that there is a limit to the profits he can expect to accumulate, for so long as he is reliant on the surrounding power network, the group, the social class, of which he is a part. The measure of success in his chosen field is not absolute – it is compromised by social and political relations. So, despite the fact that individually they may all have to bury their desire to extinguish each other in the name of profit and power, the capitalist class joke with each other about how “we’re all in this together”. The collective enterprise, the class project of accumulation through dispossession, continues.

And what, finally, of Mr Dawson’s employees working in the Range? They turn up to work every day, after a night out clubbing or working in a bar or even studying hard to find a better job; they certainly joke with each other too, albeit about less-political stuff like Gogglebox and Grumpy Cat, but do they ever talk about the possibility of what they might achieve together if they were to ask each other: “whilst we’re all hard at work slogging our guts out here, what does that bloke Chris Dawson actually do?”

I’m not sure if the employees at the Range do ever ask each other this question. But I’ll be certain to ask one of them next time I’m in there.

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  1. /I Mr Chris Dawson bought some furniture online from the Range on 21/08/2015 today is the 19/09/2015 and the items have still not been delivered. I have rang your 0345 number on 6 occasions and have to wait anywhere between 20-60 minutes each time before 1 of your employees answered! I have also sent e-mails my last 1 over 10 days ago and I am still waiting for a reply. Each phone call I have made has promised me a call back to let me know the whereabouts of my items but guess what they never call me back on 2 occasions these were supposed to supervisors. Your website states delivery in 7-14 days, I beg to differ try at least a month. I shall be going to the right person to make an official complaint and I shall contact the ombudsman, I will be asking for a refund for all my telephone calls and I shall never buy from your company again and shall do my damnedest to make sure other people do not too. Mr Chris Dawson please get in contact with me and try to give me faith back into your company by sorting this for me as all your staff are incompetent because they have not been able too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  2. Chris Dawson pays minimum wages to all his staff, they get no sick pay, and they are treated like dirt, that’s how Chris Dawson is making his money. Yes he may have worked hard in the past, he does nothing now! except to tell everyone what he owns and how he made his fortune, you only have to look at him to see what he is!

    A majority of the staff working at there head office in Plymouth would leave tomorrow if they could, as no doubt would most of the people working in his stores, I would not purchase a light bulb off him.

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