Wednesday, 20 February 2013

This isn't just Valentine's Day - this is an M&S Valentine's Day

The "dine in for" offers that supermarkets do can be amazing - and a decent way to cook up a quick meal if you're in a rush. So after seeing the adverts (a lot of chocolate pudding), I headed to Marks and Spencer's to sort out some dinner for Valentine's Day. What an error. So I thought I'd better drop them a line...

Dear M&S,

On Valentine's Day (and being a bit disorganised) I decided to go for your £20 meal deal. Looked like good value for money to me. The wine was lovely, but the main meal and side dish were an appalling let down.

I bought the herb-crusted rack of lamb. It wasn't so much herb-crusted, but with a layer of green sludge over it. And no, it wasn't my cooking (although sometimes I admit I have my moments). I followed the instructions on the "fresh chips" to the letter too - I mean how hard can it be to shove something in the oven? Within 10 minutes they were burnt - I think you have way over-estimated the temperature the oven needs to be at. If I had actually let them cook for the specified time, we would have been eating black twigs.

Very disappointing M&S. If it wasn't for the wine, Valentine's Day would have been a complete flop. Next time could you just do 4 bottles for £20 instead?

Sally Smith

A day later I received a very formal response involving food technologists and the offer of a refund. Who are these food technologists? I wonder if they tried the chips. It would have been quite a simple scientific test. Try the chips. It's not really a hardship. Who wouldn't want a job that involves trying chips? 

Dear Ms Smith

Thanks for your email about the Valentine's Dine In meal you bought from us recently. I’m sorry you were disappointed with the quality of the main meal and side dish you bought. 

We appreciate any customer feedback which will help us identify where we can still improve a product. It seems that, despite our rigorous quality controls with our supplier, we’ve not met expectations on this occasion.

I’d like to inform our Food technologists so they can investigate and take steps to make sure the highest standards are being met. Please take any available packaging and your receipt to the Food Information Desk in your local store. My colleagues there will be able to capture all the information from it so we can pass it on. They will, of course, also offer you a full refund. 

If you have any further queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us again. 

Please be aware this email is from a ‘no reply’ email address. If you would like to respond, please contact us via our website and we will be happy to assist you further. 

We’re keen to know what you thought of our reply. If you’d like to share any feedback, please let us know by clicking on the following link:

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch.

Kind Regards

Heather Cameron
Marks & Spencer Customer Services
Registered office: Waterside House, 35 North Wharf Road, London, W2 1 NW.
Registered Number: 214436 (England and Wales) 

VERDICT: I may get a refund. But I'm more intrigued about these food technologists. I wonder if you can hire them for parties. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Love it or hate it!

In another story of 'You don't ask you don't get', I am on the blag. The email says it all. Just watch this space!

Dear Unilever,

On the 12th of July something spectacular is happening. What is that I hear you ask? Myself and my partner of 6 years, Bruce are getting married. About time too I hear you say! You should have got round to it before the twins came along.

So here's the dilemma. We're having a little do afterwards at our local village pub. You know, beers, chicken wings, a blues band, that kind of thing. In an attempt to funk the place up a bit we decided to make a few table decorations to reflect our loves. And Marmite is one of them.

So for the past few months, we've been eating lots and lots of Marmite, and saving the empty jars. In fact everyone has been eating lots and lots of Marmite. Our parents, our grandparents. Even the twins seem to have permanent sticky Marmite faces. But you know how long it takes to get through a single jar.

Anyway, I was wondering, (after my lifetime of loyal Marmite consumption), if you might have a few spare empty jars knocking about the place you could part with? Maybe then the twins could go back to honey on toast for a change!

Kind regards,


And this is the Marmite epic fail email I got back. I'm going to write directly to the factory next. 

Hello from Marmite

Dear Sally,

Thank you for your recent email.

We only manufacture trial size samples of products for specific marketing activity, and unfortunately we don't currently have any available for this product.

I'm sorry that I am unable to help you, but thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Kind regards,

Emanuela Ferrandes
Careline Advisor