Today me and my husband made the concious decision to stop using supermarkets to do our weekly shop
We were using waitrose and sainsburys in combination with our use of our local butcher and green grocer. After all its cheap and convenient.
Waitrose even offer locally sourced meat and its all so alluring.
Yes the prices are high on fresh food and the experience is stressful. But you can buy tined goods cheap and its so convenient. So you suck it up and become a trolley drone.
But something happened recently which has made us say goodbye to the giants of retail.
Its not the fruit that's turned to quick, or the John Lewis pushchair that fell apart after a few weeks.
The reason we are not shopping at the big supermarkets any more is because we discovered this week just how little they care about the customer.
On the way home from an exhausting day out with a small baby we decided to use the Wimborne branch of Waitrose. We were tired and in a hurry (my husband works nights) the car park was fairly busy. Our son was screaming (he hates car journeys) . We spotted a parking space marked customer with child parking. We parked and went up in the lift.
It looked like any other waitrose car park. We went in we got our shopping. It was hell. It was a Friday the staff were busy restocking and kept asking us to move out of their way.
We overspent (doesnt everyone at waitrose). We got to the till and the cashier offered to validate our parking. My husband looked shocked.
"We didn't realise it was pay and display"
We hadn't. It was a genuine mistake on the way back down I looked for a pay machine or a sign. We didn't see one single notice or machine between the exit and the spot we parked our car. The only sign we could see was the customer with children sign that seemed so friendly, and underneath it our car with a £70 fine taped to it.
We were in a hurry to get home. The baby was still cranky.
We phoned the council to make an appeal. They did their bit. They also told us that it was waitrose who owned the car park.
Great I thought. Waitrose will be sympathetic and help the appeal. My husband called Wimborne store, he suggested it wasn't obvious that it was pay and display. That we'd not noticed them. Perhaps they could help. After all the car park belongs to Waitrose.
To which he was curtly told "well we can't pay your fine for you". Perhaps to local residents who know the stores once free car park is now pay and display, we must look silly. But it's pretty shit customer service to not even apologise when a customer has a negative experience at one of your stores its even worse when you patronise them and refuse to look into the matter further.
A few tweets and emails later Waitrose have point blank refused to offer any help, an apology or even flatter us by saying they may look into that's stores specific signing policy.
And that's how much Waitrose care.
So screw them and their free coffee. I don't spend much but I'd have thought £2000 a year would be enough to see a sniff of remorse . I'm sending back my Waitrose and nectar card and supporting my lovely local independents.
I will be sharing my survival tips for a supermarket free life in an upcoming post. Why not follow my blog or twitter to see more.