Saturday, December 19, 2009

The twelve days of Tesco (are not happy)

This blog has been swamped with complaints from many disgruntled customers over the 2009 festive period. While Tesco boast of increased profits through internet sales of toys, one family has been left waiting in twelve hours per day for twelve days and still hasn’t received Christmas presents for their cute little toddler, Andrew, aged 3, and his older brother Peter aged 8. The “12 days of Christmas” are famous as a time for receiving gifts. The “12 days of Tesco” is a sorry tale of 12 days of empty promises and bungling couriers. Tesco’s first attempt was to send Andrew a Snow White costume!

On the first day of Tesco, Friday 4th December, Dorothy ordered a toy aeroplane, 4 police toys plus a Power Ranger suit for Andrew. She was told that she would need to be at home on the Monday from 7am until 7pm. 12 hours is a long time to wait, but Dorothy considered it worthwhile for the tremendous value that was on offer. Dorothy admits her house in south-west London isn’t easy to find, but gave clear directions for the delivery with the instruction for the driver to phone if needing help in finding the property. She repeated these instructions time and again in endless phone calls over the next 10 days, but no driver ever phoned to ask for help.

Hoping for delivery

On the second day of Tesco, the 12 hours ticked by slowly, but at 6.15pm Tesco were still confidently promising delivery within 45 minutes. Nothing arrived.

On the third day of Tesco, Tesco said that they had tried to deliver but needed more information (which had already been given) to find the house. Dorothy was promised a £10 discount. Ten days later, this had still not been credited to her account.Tesco couldn’t tell what had happened to the toys as their computer scanning system had failed as it couldn’t cope with the high volume of orders. At this stage Dorothy was put in touch with Eddie who was extremely helpful if trying to progress the order and gave Dorothy his direct number. Dorothy rang Eddie many times but realised eventually that she was running up a massive phone bill as, to contact Eddie, she had to ring a national-rate number at peak hours.

For the fourth day of Tesco, Dorothy was promised a 2 hour delivery slot and then later told that the couriers couldn’t offer a 2 hour slot to her address. She would have to wait in for 12 hours again. Still, it would be worth it to get those bargain toys.The hours passed and a delivery arrived. Dorothy’s blind neighbour was looking after the house at this stage. Of course, she couldn’t check the order. So when Dorothy returned, she found that there were no toys. There was no Power Ranger suit. Instead, Tesco had sent little Andrew a Snow White costume! Whilst not believing in gender-stereotyping, Dorothy didn’t think that this was what Andrew would want from Santa and thinks that his older brother Peter may make fun of him.

Goods lost

On the fifth day of Tesco, Tesco admitted that they had now lost the goods. They tried to get Dorothy to cancel the order. However, as the bargain prices were no longer available, Dorothy insisted on continuing with the order.

On the sixth day of Tesco, Tesco found the goods and promised to deliver. Nothing happened. The weekend came and went. Still no toys.

On the seventh day of Tesco, Tesco claimed to have tried to deliver on the Saturday evening, This time, they hadn’t asked the family to be at home, but they were in the house. No driver came to the door or phoned to ask for directions.

Sunday came and went – the eighth day of Tesco.

On the ninth day of Tesco, Dorothy tried a different approach. Instead of phoning, she e-mailed Tesco. This led to a flurry of phone calls with Tesco definitely promising immediate delivery. Dorothy was contacted by a Warehouse Supervisor called Angela. She had the Power Ranger suit and would put on a van. What about the toys? Angela seemed unaware of these, but eventually found them. She reassured Dorothy that everything was together in two packages. She’d personally put them on the van and given the driver instructions to phone to check where Dorothy lived.

Empty van

The hours passed and eventually the doorbell rang at tea-time. Everyone rushed to the door in excitement. Tesco had delivered. Of course they hadn’t. A delivery driver had indeed turned up at the door – without any toys. She had come to collect the Snow White costume!

Dorothy asked if the warehouse supervisor, Angela, had spoken to her, but the driver insisted that there was no one called Angela at the warehouse. Dorothy refused to hand the Snow White costume over before phoning Tesco to see what was happening. The delivery driver refused to wait.

Dorothy yet again phoned Tesco and was told that a second van was on its way. At 7.15pm, Tesco phoned saying that delivery was continuing until 9pm and the goods would definitely arrive by then. Of course, they didn’t.


On the tenth day of Tesco, Dorothy’s husband David contacted Tesco’s Chief Executive, Sir Terry Leahy, demanding delivery at 7am the following morning. That day, a delivery driver came with a package. Once again, Tesco hadn’t asked the family to be at home at this time, but the family were at home.

The Power Ranger suit had finally arrived, but the driver still didn’t have the bulk of the order, £60 worth of toys. The driver also refused to take away the Snow White costume.

In the evening, Tesco phoned to say that they couldn’t meet the 7am deadline. In the Christmas spirit of generosity, Dorothy’s husband, David, agreed to give Tesco a further 24 hours to deliver.

On the eleventh day of Tesco, David again contacted Sir Terry demanding the delivery of the toys, an apology and compensation for the wasted hours, massive phone bills, stress and sleepless nights. There was an acknowledgement, but no toys, apology or compensation.

On the morning of the twelfth day of Tesco, David and Dorothy were hopeful that Sir Terry would respond to their ultimatum. It was now only one week to Christmas and Tesco had already wasted the previous fortnight of their time, not to mention the intense stress that they have suffered. Sir Terry’s company did precisely nothing. Andrew and Peter are really excited about Santa coming, but may be surprised that Tesco’s Santa thought that Andrew should have a Snow White costume and that, with one week to Christmas, neither have any toys from Tesco and very little hope of Tesco bothering to do anything about it other than possibly giving more than empty promises.

Dave Innes