Buy 1 Overpackaged Overpriced Tesco Pizza Get Poor Customer Service FREE! ~ Tesco-Complaint

Friday, January 26, 2007

Buy 1 Overpackaged Overpriced Tesco Pizza Get Poor Customer Service FREE!

Guy Adams writing in The Independent takes you through his tale of woeful Tesco excess and poor customer service in "The campaign against waste: Tesco's packaging cover-up." The finest Tesco pizza in question is wrapped in clingfilm, placed on a tray and put in a box. Why?

At Tesco, every little helps. That's why Dwayne, the man stacking shelves on the ready-meal aisle of its Ponders End superstore in north London, wears a red fleece emblazoned with the logo: "Happy to help."

Today, I've decided to take Dwayne at his word. He is, after all, unloading a trolley full of prosciutto crudo and rocket pizza, a product so absurdly over-packaged it might as well be sponsored by the plastics industry. The pizza costs £4.49, and comes from Tesco's allegedly upmarket "Finest" range. It is presented on a polystyrene tray, wrapped in clingfilm, inside a cumbersome cardboard box. If that wasn't enough, the box contains two further plastic bags. One is full of cheap prosciutto ham; the other, a handful of tired leaves. The idea, it seems, is to sprinkle both on top during cooking, like they do in Italy. The combined waste produced by this simple item would fill an average kitchen bin. It's absurd; it's unnecessary; and it provides a neat, 12-inch symbol of a rampaging epidemic.

So I approach Dwayne and make a complaint. Could he, or one of his superiors, kindly explain what exactly, is the point of the packaging surrounding my pizza? Dwayne will certainly have a go. He reckons clingfilm stops toppings falling off the pizza in transit. He can't explain the box and the other stuff but suggests I take the matter up at the checkout.

Here, I meet a kindred spirit. A till worker agrees the packaging "isn't necessary" and points me in the direction of customer services, where I queue to speak to a sweet woman called Chris. She offers to file a complaint to head office, which will investigate and call me. That sounds like progress: I am to speak to someone who may then speak to someone who might be in a position to do something. Every little helps.

Then two bad things happen. Firstly, I am asked to leave the Ponders End store by a security guard who takes exception to The Independent's photographer. Secondly, I am given a copy of the "complaint logging" report that Chris at customer services just filed and it's a masterpiece in pointless corporate-speak which ends: "as Tesco is meant to be a green company, customer is surprised at this situation. He would like a call from head office about this situation."

Predictably, no call arrives. Then I make a discovery: Tesco's head office is in Cheshunt, a mere 20-minute drive from the dreary Enfield car park where we are eating our lunch. And so The Independent turns up on the trading estate that is home to the nerve centre of Britain's biggest retailer. I march into reception (it's decorated like a branch of Tesco) brandishing a pizza box, and clear my throat in a Churchillian manner. "I am one of your 30 million customers, and I have come to Cheshunt in the hope of speaking to somebody about the packaging on your pizza."

The receptionist looks alarmed. She picks up a telephone. In the doorway, another security guard appears. He escorts me to the car, with a piece of paper containing the freephone number of their customer service centre in Dundee. There, a man (who declines to give his name) listens to my complaint. He advises me to speak to the store, which will take up the issue with the supplier. "But," I say, "I've just been there, and filled in a form, and they told me they couldn't do anything, and I should contact you guys. Now you're telling me something different. Am I being lied to?"

The line goes dead.

So, finally, for the nuclear option. Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco's chief executive, lives a short drive from Cheshunt, in a home that might have come from the set of Footballers' Wives. Sir Terry earned £2.9m last year and a glance at his magnificent home suggests he can afford to eat Tesco's "finest" whenever he likes. But his home is empty. All lights are off, and no one answers the intercom when I buzz. After a few minutes shouting, and waving the pizza box in the general direction of the building, five workmen emerge in hi-vis jackets. They are building a large extension to Sir Terry's Hertfordshire pile. The "boss" won't be back until the weekend, they say.

Tesco says it listens to customers, and it's very good at pretending to do just that. But no one was prepared to take responsibility for a simple complaint about its packaging.

17 comments:

TM said...

Another one sided post.

In the same campaign by the Independant they have reported on similar complaints against the packaging of products in Asda.....

tesco-complaint said...

TM (AKA Tesco Manager)

This website is a complaints forum about Tesco. Overpackaging is ruining our environment. Tesco pretend to be green and pretend to provide good customer service. The post herein shows the experience of someone who complained about packaging and got nowhere so much for being green, so much for caring about communities or about customer complaints. Tesco's apologies are cheap and meaningless as is shown in the article above. Do you really think because Asda are doing it as well that it's okay?

We're discussing Tesco's faults on this website not Asda's - the clue is in the title - "Tesco-Complaint".

TM said...

I'm not suggesting that if one company does something that causes complaint that it is okay since all others are doing the same.

What my point is, that the complaints people sometimes have are not really "Tesco" issues. They are industry issues. There is packaging that some people will find excessive on all manner of products.

I have seen the packaging reduced on many products across the range in Tesco. To use one example of one range of pizza is bad reporting.

If you want to know the true picture of what Tesco does for the environment take a look here:

http://www.tescocorporate.com/cr.htm

What about the recent campaign to encourage customers to re-use their carrier bags when shopping? We also use biodegradable bags, where not all retailers do.

Sure this is a website for Tesco complaints, but the way you persist in portraying Tesco like it's some evil corporation above all others is pitiable and narrow minded.

Jim Grogan said...

This article is about Tesco's finest pizza not some other brand. It is also about Tesco's atrocious customer service provided to the author. Both things Tesco is solely responsible for!

We've all seen thanks to this blog what Tesco really does with carrier bags that are meant to be recycled and it wasn't a pretty sight.

Tesco is a fraud, it tries to pretend it is ethical, green and corporately responsible but only does what is best for it's bottom line. This has been shown time and time again on this site, with the nutritional labelling being the most sickening example.

TM said...

Anyone with intelligence would understand that making a complaint about the packaging to a store is pointless. It's not something the individual store can control, and the store is not exactly going have official information about why certain products are packaged in any particular way. All a store could do is pass the information on the Head Office. Tesco can, and does have a lot of influence on how products are packaged from manufacturers, but I'm sure the packaging on certain products is there for good reason.

TM said...

Anyone with intelligence would understand that making a complaint about the packaging to a store is pointless. It's not something the individual store can control, and the store is not exactly going have official information about why certain products are packaged in any particular way. All a store could do is pass the information on the Head Office. Tesco can, and does have a lot of influence on how products are packaged from manufacturers, but I'm sure the packaging on certain products is there for good reason.

Al said...

Wouldn't most of that packaging be recyclable (or however you spell it) anyway?

Surely is someone was that concerned about the environment to go to all this trouble then they would be recycling at home as well.

I'm not going to pre-empt your replies, as predictable as they are (Tesco are wrong so there... etc.) as I don't have the time.

TM said...

If this journalist is so concerned about the environment, I think his actions are totally hypocritical.

In this, I refer to the pointless 20 minute drive he admits in taking to Tesco House, and to Terry Leahy's private residence!

Surely all this wasted driving around has just used far more energy and polluted the environment in excess to what he was complaining about in the first place. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

totally unnessicary, why did you go to all that effort to complain, you do realise that nothing will be done, its not up to the store to inform suppliers, they fill out a form that goes to the csc in dundee but the supplier cant do anything because its how tesco have said they want it packed, your complaint will be logged and nothing will be done, just accept it, stop moaning, and get a life

Anonymous said...

STUPID STUPID STUPID.
JUST CAUSE THE BRAND NAME TESCO ON IT. AMAZING HOW GOODFELLAS PIZZA DO THE SAME AND DID YOU COMPLAIN TO THEM ASWELL. MUPPET.

TM said...

Exactly my point I made earlier!

jerry said...

How can you call it atrocious customer service when the author has come into store with a photographer and an agenda which is clearly not just about pizza packaging. Hardly giving a chance to the poor girl who had to try and answer the question is it? And then it seems you think the girl on reception at head office knows all about pizzas or is in a position to get the buyer at the drop of a hat. Purely a publicity stunt on a topical issue I think

TM said...

Now we're getting sensible posts!

I agree Jerry, directing these types of "complaints" or queries to a store is not the place to get instant answers from. I also agree marching into the reception of Tesco House is not exactly serious behaviour of someone who has actually got a genuine query and is concerned about the environment. Obviously the writer thought it made a good "story"!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a more environmentally friendly way of doing this than driving all over the place!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a more environmentally friendly way of doing this than driving all over the place!

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