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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Complaint: Memories & Yoghurts

Dear M&S

I remember when I was a child, hating every single minute of being dragged around Marks & Spencer in Hull.  All I wanted to do was go out and play football, and perhaps set fire to the odd rubbish bin if I could steal some matches.

But no, almost every Saturday, my mother and father decided that they would torture me by spending elongated periods in this infernal hell.  The only positive experience I ever had in there was when I found a penny on the floor.

As soon as I was old enough to buy my own fire-lighting equipment, I resolved that I would never step foot in Marks & Spencer ever again.  Oh how I laughed every time there were reports in the news about low sales.

Roll on 30 years, and I have somehow found that I quite like your food.  Very much like it, in fact.  Sadly, I am on a fairly low wage, so it is a rare treat for me to go into Marks & Spencer.

Recently I went in and purchased a pack of 4 M&S yoghurts, I forget exactly which but they were along the lines of blackcurrant, perhaps rhubarb, and two other flavours.  Around £1.85 maybe.

I went back to work and tried to break one off.  And tried, and tried.  And tried some more.  I simply could not get the separate the individual yoghurt pots.

What did however occur, was that all 4 yoghurt lids came off.  Helpful if you want 4 yoghurts or perhaps have 3 very attractive young ladies that you are going to lay on the floor with and spoon yoghurt into each other's mouths.

Sadly I was at work.  I did not want 4 yoghurts.  And I was going to the pub after, on the tube - open yoghurt pots were not going to be useful travel companions.

I was so disamused that I didn't even bother to eat one yoghurt.


Regards
James 'Yoghurt-less' Winfield

******

Hi James

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about the yoghurts you bought recently.

Like you, I have many memories of being dragged around my local M&S by my mum on a bleak Saturday morning. I can't say I had the same desire to get hold of some matches to set fire to a rubbish bin, but each to their own!

However, again, like you, I too have developed a kind of love affair with M&S food and I love treating myself every now an again. So I can only imagine how gutting it must've been for all the lids to peel off the yoghurts. I also agree, opened yoghurt is not an appropriate pub snack!

The standard of our food and the packaging it comes in means a lot to us, and we put a lot of time and effort into making sure it’s perfect.

The information you’ve given us about what was wrong has been very useful. I’ve reported this to my colleagues who work in our Food team, and they’ll be keeping a close eye on this range to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I'd like to send you a gift card to cover the cost of the yoghurts so you can treat yourself to something else from our store. So I can do this, can you send us your address please?

We look forward to hearing from you soon, James.

Kind regards

Retail Customer Services
Your M&S Customer Service

******

Dear Miss xxxx

I am touched to hear that I am not the only child to have suffered at the hands of weekly parental shopping decisions. Perhaps this could be the start of a beautiful friendship?

My address is below - I look forward to having 4 yoghurts for dinner shortly.

Have a nice day, new friend,
James

******

Dear James,

Thanks for getting back to us with your address, I'm sorry to have come between you and xxxx!

I've popped a £2 gift card in the post for you, to cover the cost of the yoghurts. This will be on your doorstep within 3-5 working days and can be used in any of our UK stores or online at http://www.marksandspencer.com/.

I hope you enjoy your yoghurts, with or without attractive young women present.
Kind regards

Retail Customer Services
Your M&S Customer Service

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Complaint: Tesco Avocados

Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get a refund...or just to find common cause with your refunder:

******

Dear Tesco

I am generally not a fan of your food quality - some will call me a snob, but I am from up north so not entirely sure that is something that can be aimed at me.

Anyway, I actually quite like your avocados, and go through several a week.  Well, I normally like your avocados.

Over the last month, I have had two pretty horrid, soft and close to inedible avocados from your Rayner's Lane store.

I will keep buying them from there, as the good ones far outweigh the bad, however I have not been left amused by the quality - I live in London and need my avocados.  Do you not understand?

Also, your store sometimes smells of poo.  Actual poo.  This has been only on occasion this year, but last year it was fairly consistent.

Any idea why?

Kind regards
James Avocado Winfield

******

Dear Mr Winfield

Thank you for your email.
I am sorry to read of the problems which you have encountered, when purchasing advocados from your local store. I can appreciate how annoying this must have been for you, especially as the some of the advocado's have been of poor quality and the store seems to have an unpleasent odour.

We’re committed to sourcing our products responsibly and take the quality of all of the products we sell very seriously. Any complaint about a product is recorded which allows us to work with our suppliers to ensure that our products are of the highest quality.

In order for me to ensure that this is done, I’d be very grateful if you could reply to me with some details, which I’d like to pass on to our supplier with your permission. Could you tell me:

- Your full postal address - Your telephone number - Product barcode - Cost of the product - Use by/best before date - Supplier code -

Our technical teams work closely with our suppliers to alert them to any product concerns and ensure that the highest standards are being met. Unfortunately, it does appear that something went wrong on this occasion, but we hope you’ll be reassured to know the information you have given us will help us to stop this from happening again.

Upon receipt of these additional details, I would also be happy to send you a Tesco Moneycard to reimburse you for the cost of the product.

Also, please can you advise me which store you purchased the advocados from? As I would like to raise your complaint about the strong odour circulating the store.
Thanks again for taking the time to tell us about this. I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards

Tesco Customer Service
Tesco Customer Engagement Centre

******

Hi

Gosh I don't remember what date I bought them on, let alone what the barcode was!  It's a struggle to remember my name sometimes.

They were in the loosely supplied section, so had no sell-by date.  The store is the one close to Rayner's Lane tube station.  One occasion was a couple of weeks ago (they all felt out of date actually, the one I bought I hoped less so...alas), the other occasion in December.

My address is below and my phone number is xxxxxxxxxxx.  I hope that helps.

Kind regards

James

******

Dear Mr Winfield

Thank you for your reply and please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in my response.

Sadly, I have been unable to reach the store by phone. I have therefore sent your feedback to the store, regarding the smell in store. So, hopefully this can be resolved as soon as posisble.

In addition, I am sorry that the packaging is no longer available for the advocado's. As you can appreciate that we would require the barcode number, in order to feed your comments back to the relevent Supplier and also provide a refund.

Going forward, should you experience any further quality issues with the products which you purchase from us, please return this to store along with your receipt.

Thank you for contacting me and for bringing this to my attention.

Kind regards

Tesco Customer Service
Tesco Customer Engagement Centre

******

Dear xxxx

I am not sure that you have understood my previous e-mail.

The avocados in the store are sold loose.  They have never had any packaging as such.  This is fine.

However what is not acceptable is when they are inedible - ie sold when they are clearly out of date.

This is surely a Tesco store management issue as opposed to a supplier issue?

Regards
James

******

Dear James

Thank you for your email reply.

xxxx is out of the business so please allow me to respond in her absence.

If the avocados are coming into the store in this condition, then xxxx is right in believing it is a supplier issue.  Staff are trained to check stock periodically to ensure anything that is not fit for consumption is removed whenever possible.  Loose fruit and vegetables is certainly something the staff are able to keep an eye on as they don't contain any outer packaging as you've stated.

Usually even loose products will contain an Oval shape type sticker with some supplier details.  This would have been helpful to xxxx, but I realise you've now thrown everything away so this is not possible to take from you.

With that said, I can see that xxxx has made the store fully aware of your concerns and especially in regards to the odour you've experienced whilst shopping there.  This is being investigated behind the scenes to help ensure any future visit is a pleasant one.  If not, please do ask to speak with an in-store Duty Manager.

As we have no supplier details or product to have returned to the store, it is very difficult to refund you for these.  If you had photos of the supplier's sticker, along with any photos showing the poor quality, we would have been able to help.

Please rest assured that it's never our intention to frustrate or disappoint any customer at any time.  However, I do hope the above explains why I'm unable to meet your expectations on this occasion.

If you still feel a refund is in order, I would kindly suggest speaking with the store's Duty Manager on your next usual visit.  Please do take along your till receipt to help them assist you further.

Thank you for your time and if there is anything else we can do to help, please do let us know.

Kind regards

Tesco Customer Service
Tesco Customer Engagement Centre

******

A week or so later...

******

Dear xxxx

I appreciate that you are probably thinking, "thank **** we shut him up", but just like a bad smell, or perhaps Nigel Farage, I am back.

So I've bought another avocado from the local Tesco Express store so that I can send you a photograph of the barcode.  I appreciate that it isn't exactly the same sticker as the two badvocados had, but I expect that it is exactly the same barcode.

I don't really know why I am persisting with this, but I do feel that there is a slight soon-to-be-denied lack of trust towards what I am saying, and that you perhaps feel that as I am a northerner, I cannot possibly be eating something as healthy as an avocado.  Don't worry, I will consume large volumes of bacon, beer and cocaine as soon as possible.

Alas, I am stuck with my morose feelings of incompleteness from two well below standard avocados - and now another one which I haven't opened yet, but should be ok.  But there is that element of trepidation.

I should probably just leave it here and not still be banging on about it, I could just avoid shopping at Tesco for a few weeks to give myself some vague satisfaction that I am sticking it to the multi-national corporation for allowing two bad avocados to be purchased.  I am sure that you will miss my average monthly spend of around £31.54 as much as we missed Nigel Farage not being on the news last week.

Anyway, photograph of barcode pointlessly attached.



I look forward to your corporate platitudes in return.

Kindish regards

James

ps If you get bored on your lunch break, I do a fine collection of roast dinner reviews on my blog - http://rdldn.co.uk/

******

Dear James

Thank you for your further email and my profuse apologies for the week taken to reply.  I was offer for a few days and unfortunately the email wasn't picked up by a colleague.

With that said, I've now arranged for a £10.00 Tesco Moneycard to be sent to you in the post.  This should arrive within the next 5 - 10 working days.  I've also notified the supplier for internal purposes, sp rest assured that they've been informed of your experience behind the scenes.

It's been a pleasure to help and if there is anything else I can do to help James, please do let me know.

Kind regards

Tesco Customer Service
Tesco Customer Engagement Centre

******

Dear xxxx

Thank you for your e-mail and your kind offer of compensation - I only wanted £2.20 but hey, I won't say anything if you don't.

Slightly bad timing though as I was fishing around for things to give up for Lent yesterday.

In previous years I have given up paper clips, zebra crossings and trimming my eyebrows.  It gets more difficult to think of suitable things to give up for Lent - it always kind of slaps me in the face when I'm not expecting it - and you'd have thought that they would have had it on a different week to Valentine's Day, but hey ho.  Hopefully they'll look into the timing issue for next year.

Anyway, so I was waiting quite a long time to use the self-service machines yesterday - not your fault, just some very slow people in front of me, when it dawned on me - I should give up Tesco for Lent.

Oh well, I'm committed to it now.  Though last year I gave up talking about Brexit for Lent, which didn't last very long.

I look forward to having a Tesco avocado feast in early April.

All the best
James

********************

Conclusion - all you need to do is show your contempt for Nigel Farage to get your own way.

Complaint - Brexit Costing Me Another £1 A Month - OFFICIAL!

I received an invoice last month from my hosting company for £5.99 instead of the usual £4.99.  Cue an e-mail:

Hello

I noticed that you are trying to charge me £5.99 for hosting this month, instead of the usual £4.99.

Please can you correct your invoice and ensure the correct amount of £4.99 is charged.

Kind regards
James

******

Hi James,

Thank you for contacting us on the matter and apologies for the delay in my reply.

I'm afraid the price of £5.99 is the correct amount of the hosting package as we have increased our hosting package's prices by 20% and we have notified all of our customers about this change via email.

Since 2003 we have offered the same great service without any price adjustments. Over those 14 years we have absorbed the cost of inflation rather that passing the cost on to our customers.  Due to the effects of inflation and a weaker pound, our hosting is now cheaper in real terms than it ever has been. We need to make a one-off adjustment to address this so that we can keep offering the same excellent standards of service and continue investing in our infrastructure, improving reliability, performance and features.

Please let me know if you require any further assistance as we would be more than happy to help!

Best regards,

Technical Support.

******

Hi

So basically my hosting costs have gone up 20% due to Brexit?

Also I was not advised of the increased cost.

Regards

James

******

Hi James,

I have just double-checked and our system should have sent an email to you entitled 'Important news about your hosting' on the 08/12/2017.

I fully understand how troubling this can be for you, however, we promise to not let you down as your hosting provider!

Best regards,

Technical Support.

******

Hi

I've just done a search of my e-mails and cannot find it.  Anyway, I'm more annoyed that Brexit is yet again costing me money - I dread to think what you think of the UK over there in Hungary...then again your leader is hardly a saint!  I'm guessing Hungary from your name, apologies if I am wrong.

All the best

James

******

Hi James,

My apologies for the email being lost!

I fully understand how troubling this can be and how Brexit has caused you a loss in money. I'm afraid, I am not from Hungary, however, no worries!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend and please drop me a line if you require further assistance!

Best regards,

Technical Support.


*****************************

Proof that Brexit is costing me yet more money.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Complaint: Society Six

Good afternoon

I'm not having much luck with yourselves.

Recently I used my voucher from my previous complaint for the t-shirt that I had ordered that fell apart.

Instead of receiving the expected t-shirt, I received a shiny silver postcard from the Royal Mail, advising that there was a £4.48 customs charge to pay.  Oh and an £8.00 fee for the privilege of handling it.

So a total of £12.48, or roughly $5,000.00 with the post-Brexit vote exchange rate - but that's all good because we've taken back control.  Yeah.

I don't mind paying the customs charge, but surely it should be added at your side?  Surely your customer should not be paying around 100% extra to get the t-shirt from the warehouse - and don't forget the administrative burden of trying to use the damn Royal Mail website - trying to remember which one of my several accounts and passwords that I've had to set up over the years it actually still accepts.

Ballache.

I'm quite happy just to blame Donald Trump and forgo a couple of salt beef bagels, but I just wanted to feed back the ballache and extra charges I have incurred (for my free t-shirt which replaces the broken one).

All the best and good luck with your anti-President.

James

******

Hello James,

I am very sorry that you are being asked to pay a customs charge. It does state on our site and in your order confirmation emails, there is a possibility of a customs fee for all international orders at time of delivery.

Your cart will not reflect these duties as they are applied at the time of arrival by the custom’s office that received them, and are not applied or collected by Society6. Customs fees are separate from shipping fees with Society6.

I do understand that this charge has come as a surprise so as a one-time courtesy I can refund the amount of the customs costs from your total you paid with Society6.

Just attach a photo of the customs receipt to submit for a refund of these charges.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Regards,


******

Hi Julia

I have attached photographs of the customs charge. I hope this is sufficient.

Please can you confirm how the charge will be refunded? I hope not in vouchers, as I am not keen on purchasing again from yourselves - I really like your designs - in product terms I really would like to spend more money with yourselves, but the customs charges and subsequent extra time and effort in retrieving items make it fairly prohibitive.

Are you not able to add the customs charges onto the checkout process?

Or have you considered opening a European distribution centre?

Kind regards

James

******

Hi James,

I apologize for the inconvenience. We are looking at ways to avoid customs charges in the future.

Unfortunately it looks like this order was placed with a $25 off coupon, so there is nothing for us to refund the customs charge to.

All we can do is offer store credit for a future order.

I apologize for the inconvenience here. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
Sincerely,

Friday, February 02, 2018

Detox Update

It is a month into my 3-month detox already.

In terms of alcohol it has been piss-easy.  Rarely have I considered having a drink - I am comfortably managing afternoon visits to pubs with only soft drinks.  Only when something has annoyed me and I've had a mini 5-minute rage-strop have I thought about alcohol.  Though it would be nice to have a glass of red wine to write this with.

Avoiding red meat is another question.  Sausage sandwiches and sausage rolls are out - but I do crave them quite often...very often at first!  I'm not strictly avoiding red meat, I do allow myself it on a roast dinner (I cannot have chicken every week...and me eat a vegetarian roast...yeeeeeeaaaah), but otherwise I have avoided it.

I've just added chocolate and cake to my banned list...might as well for the hell of it.

Alas, my diet is pretty much super-healthy yet I am not losing my belly.  Which is pretty annoying.  Yeah I know what you are saying, "do some exercise you tosser".  Time, ladies and gentlemen.

I am occasionally a bit bored by all of the restrictions.  This time of year is perfect to do a detox, as people are going out less and there are far fewer invites to events.

Unsurprisingly I have no money either.  For January I had to pay for my flights for a holiday which I absolutely cannot afford, plus pay back my overspend in December.  In February I am putting my holiday spending money aside so I'll have a budget of just £300 which needs to pay for food too.  In March I am going to buy a new phone outright, so again I'll have a budget of around £300.

Which I can survive on - I'm not complaining about it - some have far less than I do, but means I have to limit my fun and my expenditure.  So for example, this weekend I am going to treat myself to a piece of fish from the local fishmonger - hardly a peak of excitement.  Dover Sole, perhaps?  Don't think I've ever had it.

I am also trying to work out ways to expand my earning potential.  Clearly web development is the key to that.  I need to upgrade my skills, and learn AngularJS to help with work - I have started and some of it is sinking in, but until I start using it on a day-to-day basis, I won't fully understand it.

But upgrading my skills for work is one thing - whether it will increase my earnings from my actual job this year I cannot answer.

So the other side is to make sure that I have an active website advertising my skills in the hope of picking up the odd client - I have had some small pieces of work over the last year but they only paid enough for a handful of roast dinners.  Then again, I don't have much free time, so there is only so much that I can actually do.

I do already have audiences on, for example, my roast dinners blogs - I even had an enquiry the other day from Roast Dinners Around Reading, in regards to improving a website - though he's disappeared since I mentioned a price.  Maybe it was too high...I'm still struggling with the idea of pricing myself.

Some simple banner ads would surely at least get a few people across - though I need to build the website first for my imaginary web design agency.

Also I could make a website for my weather page - given that I have over 5,000 followers, there should surely be something I could do to monetise it - perhaps an individual paid-for weather forecast.  Or maybe just host advertising for local businesses...I'm only talking small amounts.  Hell, maybe even a donation button - a few people have in the past asked if there was a way to pay for my forecasts.  Or a paid-for app...but that is another mission entirely.

I actually want to start two new blogs.  Yes, I know I don't have time to update most of my current ones.  One is potentially going to be called Love, Life & Loathing of London - again with the aim of trying to have some minor kind of monetisation.

The other might just be an Instagram page, or maybe a small blog, called Moorgate Munching - helping to find good food in the specific area where I work.  Not that I can often afford to eat out at lunch, and I don't have the time to write-up any large reviews anyway.  Maybe it won't happen.

As always, the lack of time in my life matches the lack of money.  I know I'm not unique in either of those senses.

And, of course, this weekend I will end up concentrating on cleaning the house.  Instead of doing any of the web development projects that I have outlined above - as I feel spiritually much more positive in a clean house, and cannot yet afford a cleaner.  If only I had some more time so I could do some web development to help increase my earning potential so I can afford a cleaner to give me more time to help increase my earning potential.

It is very much a heads-down period, trying to concentrate on various areas of self-improvement, so I can enjoy life more in the rest of the year, and future years.  Sacrifices, my friend.

Yet I have also found some time to enjoy London recently.  Last weekend I went to the British Museum...well actually that was really dull but it was just nice to wander around with my favourite.  We had dinner in a really homely place in Soho called Claw - I had some awesome fish fingers with just delectable mayonnaise...I don't actually like mayonnaise so for that to impress me was quite something.

I then had a second trip to Soho last weekend, this time to exchange a trinket for a chocolate bar from a Cadbury's pop-up (sorry mum but I swapped that tacky Hull keyring that you gave me for Christmas that I was going to throw away...I'm sure you would have done the same).  Free chocolate! Yeah I gave up chocolate on Monday.

Roast dinners have, of course, continued - I also went to some fairly random show at the Vault Festival last Sunday...a drag queen doing an hour of cabaret in the world's dampest "theatre" perhaps wasn't the best thing I've seen in my life...or at least the most suitable for my tastes.

I'm also starting to plan other holidays that I probably cannot afford without another month off the booze.  I'm accepting the likelihood that if I am to achieve my goal of going to 4 new countries this year, then I'll likely have to do at least some of it by myself.  It isn't always easy to find people to go on holiday with - especially given the low budget that I have.  Though I haven't really been trying.  And if someone popped up now and said, "I'd love to go on holiday with you", then I wouldn't be able to commit either.

Anyway, I quite fancy a trip to Slovenia, staying around Triglav National Park and getting some mountains, lake and forest stuff in - the scenery just looks gorgeous (yeah I'm nearly 40).  Just going for a walk, enjoying the surroundings, having a few chilled out beers, staying in a B&B or two.  And perhaps a day in Ljubljana too - which I definitely do not pronounce correctly.


I also quite fancy trips to Vienna, Athens, Budapest and Belgrade - if I am being more adventurous then I also fancy Tbilisi and Tirana - capitals of Georgia and Albania, respectively, just in case you didn't know.

Whether I'll be able to afford any of them is, of course, the perennial question, but if I do increase my earnings and am careful with my spending in this country (ie no nightclubs and cut down on random boozy sessions) then I should be able to squeeze one or two in.

So, another two months of this detox to go.

I don't feel inspiringly fantastic and I have barely lost any of the weight I have put on since last April.  I still don't have any money, I haven't ticked much off my to-do list and I have barely touched any non-work coding projects.  And still need to buy some new pants.

Yet I feel that I am going in the right direction.  Broadly speaking, life is imperfectly good.

Roll on April.