Is it a coincidence that Lidl, the source of all Tesco's misery, chose the very moment its chief executive started to be grilled by shareholders to announce, with a certain measure of glee, that it's about to invest £220m into 20 new stores in the UK, which between them will create 2,500 jobs? We think not.
Share price sank by 0.75% as Clarke grimly listed the supermarket's many threats: recession, the internet, those pesky discounters... Aldi and Lidl are a 'resurgent force', he said. Clearly Tesco is a long way from having the same bright idea as Sainsbury's, which last week signed up to a deal with Danish discounter Netto.
Then it was shareholders' turn: one was upset about the lack of soap in the gents' toilets at Brent Cross; another was unhappy about the refrigeration systems at Potters Bar; someone wanted to know about the South African fruit. A lot of concerns about plastic bags were expressed.
Not exactly hard-hitting stuff - particularly considering the fact that an investigation by The Guardian found that Tesco is sitting on 4.6 million sq ft of land - 'an area big enough to build 15,000 homes'. Although one shareholder came up with the rather natty line that Clarke was 'paid millions to lose billions'.
Finally, an 11 year-old boy got the big question in: 'will you pay the living wage before I start work?' Er, stuttered chairman Sir Richard Broadbent - Tesco already pays 'more than other supermarkets', and it provides a 10% discount to workers.
Conspicuous by his absence was UK boss Chris Bush. When Clarke was asked where he was, he didn't have an answer. Given that Tesco is currently experiencing a senior management exodus, that's hardly confidence-inspiring.