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. 

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