The story I am about to tell happened to this old man, but it could have happened to anyone. It is about something very small - a box of Felix cat food sachets, costing £3.75 ,which tells us a lot about something very big - the Tescos Supermarket chain which made a profit of £3.13bn or £3,130,000,000 last year.
The tale began with an awful stench in our larder, where our noses led us to a punctured sachet of cat food, which was oozing a decomposed sludge of fish. Things were cleaned up, but the smell lingered and made a comeback a few days later when a second punctured sachet was also found to be leaking and stinking. This time an examination of the other sachets revealed a bloated 'salmon sachet' and the realisation that the sachets had not leaked, but had 'blown' with the pressure of the gases coming from the bacteria in the unsterilised food.
Ever the good citizen, I dutifully made a note of the batch number on the sachet, thinking it might be of some use to Tescos and the food manufacturer. I need not have bothered.
I phoned the Tesco number for 'Complaints Process' flagged up on their website. The first advisor said that he didn't deal with complaints and put me through to the second advisor who also didn't deal with complaints who put me through to a young woman who said she did deal with complaints.
I began by pointing out that the phone number on their website was wrong and then related the complaint. She was silent. She didn't put the phone down on me, but I knew she was still there. I could hear her breathing and sighing at the other end. I waited and she waited for me to put the phone down, which I eventually did because the call was costing me money.
I next sent a e-mail with the details above to the address on the website. I need not have bothered. I've received no reply.
Yesterday, I took the bloated sachet to the Tesco store where I bought it. I need not have bothered. The customer service advisor took the sachet and asked me to get a new box. I returned with the box. She then told me that there was a problem because I had returned one sachet but the box contained a number. She suggested I paid half price for the new box. I refused saying that we spent thousands of pounds a year in the store and suggested as a mark of goodwill, I should be given the box.
She phoned her manager . She should not have bothered. The manager confirmed that I should not get the box. I took the bloated sachet and said : " A multi-million pound company can't give me a box of cat food as a mark of goodwill after all the inconvenience." I was laughing as I said this and made it my 'laughter tonic' for the day.
....but, what a sad country Britain has become.