Monday 2nd January 2012
Sainsburys got back to me. No less than Angela Penman the customer manager (that's right look impressed, because it is impressive) felt she had to personally respond to my complaint, showing to any doubters that my Actimel use by date problem IS worth making a fuss about. Here's what she had to say,
"Dear Mr Herring
thank you for your email about your recent order. I'm sorry the two packs of Actimel you received had a short shelf life. I can understand the inconvenience caused by this."
You're right Angela it was inconvenient. I am glad you appreciate that.
"Our fresh produce should be continually rotated and replaced with the latest deliveries to our stores, giving our colleagues access to the freshest items. They're trained to select those products with the longest shelf life."
I am tempted to write back to Angela for more details on what this training involves. Is it "When you get the stuff off the shelves have a look at the sell by date"? Or is there more to it. I am glad I am entrusting my grocery shop to trained professionals and hey, even the most highly trained person is allowed to slip up once in a while. Occasionally that might mean a brain surgeon accidentally kills a patient and sometimes it means that a middle class comedian gets a large quantity of Actimels that he can't feasibly use in time. I think both are equally important AND equally trivial. Forgive and forget.
"I’ve shared your email with the online manager, who'll speak with our colleagues and make sure more care is being taken when selecting your future orders so you receive items with the longest shelf life possible."
I have caused quite a stir in the Sainsburys online grocery store. Two managers have been forced to face up to the failure in their system and I wish I could be a fly on the wall when the online manager calls all of his colleagues into his office to tear a strip off them for this slip in quality control. I imagine there will be some recriminations and some raised voices, but I hope no one gets fired for this. I mean it can't be too hard for them to track down the individual responsible (the TRAINED individual) and give them their marching orders and ensure they never work in the supermarket trade again. But I don't want that and I certainly didn't write back to Anglea and insist upon it. A £7.98 voucher towards my next online shop was more than enough for me. I am not a man to make an unnecessary fuss about yoghurt. I was just relieved that this was all sorted out after a difficult and emotional weekend of wondering what I should do with my 24 Actimels.
You can be sure that once I got the email, with the promise of a refund but no request for a return of the produce I was straight downstairs to enjoy some free Actimel. I gulped one of the 24 bottles down, but was under the misapprehension that today was the 3rd of January. I believed the Actimel was some 10 hours passed its use-by date. It wasn't. There was still a good 14 hours of official life left in the thing, but the psychological trauma of drinking what I thought to be slightly off yoghurt (a contradiction in term - all yoghurt is off anyway isn't it?) made me convinced that I shouldn't take any further chances. I binned 23 Actimels. For all my bravado about drinking them once the sell by date had passed it turned out I had thrown them away before they even expired. Admittedly if I had saved them then tomorrow I would be playing Russian Roulette with a yoghurt drink. But it's disappointing that I was so lily-livered and that only one of the 24 drinks got drunk. It will now go to the dump where perhaps a rat will drink it. I hope it perks him up a bit.
The Actimel nightmare is over. Or is it just beginning? No, it's over.
I had a much more productive day today, getting in a six and three quarter mile run (made more difficult by muddy tracks down by the river and tiny children on new bikes that they hadn't yet properly learned to ride, who veered into my path), writing a treatment for my next possible book, recording another snooker podcast (it should be up soon) which was not all that funny but had the highest quality of snooker yet (I only wish you could see me playing). I also used Twitter to commentate on the QPR vs Norwich football match, based solely on the noises I could hear drifting from the stadium. It was another interesting experiment in tedium. A man who knows little about football trying to interpret the sounds of a big crowd. Yet it was possible to discern a difference between cheers, some whole-hearted, some derisory. But trickier to work out an opposition goal, which would get cheers from a minority but opprobrium from the home side. I think there might be something in it, as my career descends into doing sporting podcasts that rely partially on lack of knowledge and testing the boundaries of tedium. Yet in those boundaries there are some real moments of excitement, as I think you will discover from today's thrilling first frame of 2012.
And it's very hard to believe, but my 2012 tour begins on Friday at Whelans in Dublin - still tickets left I believe. Belfast on Saturday is sold out though. All details of the tour can be found here. Please book ahead. I need to make some money to fund my experimental and pointless unpaid podcasts.
Though I got a cheque through from Amazon the other day for the Kindle version of my blog. I am making almost a pound a day from this thing now. Oh yeah, it's the big time baby. If I could just get 100 times more subscribers then I might never need to leave the house. Subscribe here if you're fed up of getting this stuff for free (just 99p a month). Though it'd be much more cost effective for me to try and sort out some kind of system where most of the money didn't go to Ian Amazon.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
You can subscribe to this blog on Kindle. Now only ï¿½0.99 a month here. Or just carry on reading it on here for free.
Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only ï¿½3.53 each)
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