One of the things that distinguishes blogging from most mainstream journalism is the immediacy and the personal nature of posts.
I’m just back from Tesco at Knocknagoney. Second visit of the night.
It all started yesterday when someone kind gave us a Tesco handheld Bubble blower (powered by 2 AA batteries). The perfect gift for a two and a half year daughter. I found two batteries, screwed them in, and hey presto ... no bubbles, no whirring noise. One dead bubble blower.
So tonight after bedtime stories (hers, not mine!) I nipped around to Tesco to swap it for another one. Four miles later, got home, screwed in the batteries. This time it whirred, and pathetically tried to blow bubbles. They half formed, and then burst, long before floating off into the air like the instructions say they will.
Not impressed, got out into the car again to head back to Tesco. Another four miles.
Joined the queue for Customer Services, again. The guy in front had bought some of Tesco Finest fruit, two of which were rotten. He wasn’t impressed. I got a refund for the bubble machine, and got to talk to the duty manager ...
Breathless, he arrived to hear my plea. Having had two dud bubble machines, was it acceptable for customers to have to drive eight miles to return and replace Tesco products?
We had a long, robust conversation that resulted in some excellent lines. Apparently:
“Tesco wouldn’t have much of a business if we refunded the mileage of everyone who brings something back”.
I suggested that the queue for Customer Services wasn’t that long! And wasn’t it in their interests to compensate disappointed customers? Apparently not.
When I explained by travelling eight miles just going back and fro from Tesco to return it, at business mileage rates I’d spent nearly half the value of the faulty product for no benefit.
And when I suggested that other firms compensate customers with loyalty points (Sainsburys give you points if you request a product that they can’t get in stock, bmi give points if they run out of food on a flight, and even Holiday Inn give points when rooms prove less than ideal) ... we don’t do that. The conversation finished with me pointing out the door towards Sainsburys and saying that since it was just as close as Tesco, I’d be taking my trade there. And off we both stomped.
Before you conclude that I’m a complete nit wit (maybe that’s why you read the blog!), I do at this point have to admit that it felt slightly odd, nearly surreal, to be standing in Tesco debating compensation for a £2.97 child’s toy. But if the business that takes £1 out of every £7 spent by consumers in the UK doesn’t respect its customers, then I’m not sure it deserves their trade.
6 August update: Tesco replied ... but not sure I achieved a lot.