There were three letters in total. The below is the first which gives you an explanation as to what I was complaining about, the second was much the same because I received a stock answer and the third was my juvenile way of responding to a second stock answer…
29th January 2010
I write to complain of the treatment I received at the hands of your staff at your Sainsbury’s branch in Chaddesden, Derby.
I arrived with my partner with the specific intention of purchasing a bottle of wine and was asked for identification. I gladly offered my ID and thanked Ruth for her flattery. I was taken aback that she interrupted me mid-sentence to demand Identification from my partner.
I will point out that my partner had just finished her shift at the hospital and was still dressed in midwifery attire and so was either clearly over the age of 18 or had constructed the most elaborate plan in history simply to stand next to me whilst I legally purchased a bottle of wine. She didn’t however have identification and I was flatly refused my purchase.
Ruth suggested that my partner and I might go “drink it in the car-park”. Humiliated, I countered that I fully intended to drink it at home and that there was no law against my partner being stood with me whilst I made my purchase. Ruth advised me that company policy meant that she couldn’t serve me despite the fact that I am 28 years old and holding identification simply because my 20 year old partner could not prove her age.
I might also point out that Ruth suggested I “go to Asda”. Perhaps you should consider coaching your staff not to recommend your competitors. If one of my members of staff recommended a competitor then disciplinary action would swiftly follow.
If I return the next day without my partner will Ruth refuse to serve me because my partner might be waiting outside?
This is surely policy gone mad and policing me simply because we are a young couple. I would go as far as to call it discrimination. If I had been 10 years older and been in attendance with my 5 year old daughter would Ruth have asked my 5 year old daughter for identification? I would think not.
I understand that your policy is to ensure that gangs of youths do not use the oldest of their group to buy them alcohol and then cause mischief around the local area. It was quite clear being that my partner was still dressed in hospital garb and that I was purchasing a bottle of wine that we were not youths out to cause mischief. I therefore have to conclude that being as Ruth has no prior knowledge of me as a member of society that this was a personal slate against me because I am a young man or because I am dating a young woman.
Disgusted I returned to my car but then decided I wasn’t satisfied and returned to the store without my partner in the hope of speaking to a manager with some common sense. I challenged the policy stating that seeing as I had now entered the store alone and with identification that there was no reason not to serve me.
I was refused this time on the grounds that I had already been “refused once this evening”. It was at this point that I asked for her manager who accused me of “going round in circles” and then asked for the duty manager who in appearance can’t have been older than 20 himself. He couldn’t answer my questions either, perhaps you can…
Question 1. How long do I have to leave it between attempts to buy alcohol after being refused? Do I have to wait several hours until I can return alone to buy alcohol? Do I need to wait until the next day, the next working day? The next week, or a month?
Question 2. If I return to buy alcohol the next day without my partner what is to stop me returning home with the alcohol and giving it to her. Your manager’s suggest nothing, in which case I don’t think the policy is helping your cause, it is simply offending your genuine customers and costing you sales.
Question 2. How old must my accompanying party appear before they start to ask questions? i.e. if I attend with my daughter will she be asked for identification if she looks 12-17 or is it something about me personally that gives off the air of a reckless youth out to fuel minors with alcohol?
You’ll see from the history on my Nectar card (number at the top of this letter) that I have been a patron of yours for some years and spent considerable amounts of money fuelling my car, buying video games and purchasing food.
I would like to be provided with a copy of your staff policy on selling alcohol so that I may avoid disappointment in future. If your policy has been incorrectly followed then I would like a formal apology, if it has been correctly followed then I would appreciate you letting me know so that I may boycott Sainsbury’s from here on in.
I would like to suggest compensation for my petrol, the inconvenience and my embarrassment, I don’t mind if this is in the form of nectar points.
Assuming that the three individuals that dealt with me have misunderstood your policy I would also like some assurances that they will be coached when and when not to enforce it as they have served to make me feel like a criminal and they have insulted me by suggesting I would date a minor.
I took the liberty of taking their names…
Ruth Porter – Kiosk attendant
Toni Eastwood – Ruth’s manager
Peter Meeks – Duty Manager
I look forward to your response.
Mr. Neil Ditchfield,
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets LTD,
Dear Mr. Ditchfield,
Thanks for your lackadaisical response.
Allow me to retort with your level of ignorance and derision.
Being as you have thus far been so thankful for my feedback I thought I’d give you some final recommendations; Contained alongside this letter are carefully shaped pieces of my Nectar card, If you can get your head out of the way long enough then I advise you to take one piece anally for every ASDA receipt I send to you over the coming weeks.
Let me know when you run out of my pieces and I shall start sending Nectar cards from my friends and family.
Please don’t consider this epistle in any way a slight on you or your company, the sentences contained herein are mere feedback and recommendations that I intend to publish, in your online forum, twitter, facebook and in both the metro and the grocer if they will so entertain me.
You’ll notice that the media is thoroughly enjoying exposing Tesco for their ludicrous policies on what attire is acceptable to enter their stores, I’m sure my little fiasco will titillate them to an accident in their trousers.
I duly note an almost Darth Vader like inconsistency in your position, almost like you were considering doing the right thing but changed your mind at the last second and decided to be a tw*t instead…
Neil Ditchfield: “I agree with the points you made in your letter and I think I would feel the same as you”
Neil Ditchfield: “There have been cases similar to your own where common sense would tell you that the alcohol is not going to be consumed by a minor”
Neil Ditchfield: “They did nothing wrong in refusing to serve you”
You sir, are a cavalcade of inconsistency.
Congratulations once again for pitting your well thought out words against your letterhead on page 2 for the second time, the letter head won. Do you embarrass yourself to this degree in every correspondence with your customers or just the ones that point out your over-zealous policies, ludicrous formatting mistakes and personal failings as a human?
I have included for you a map plotting my new course to ASDA each lunch time; I have drawn it in the manner to which you are accustomed, feel free to put it on your staff fridge. I intend to ferry all of my staff straight past your uppity hovel to spend their hard earned wages elsewhere.
I bought my crayons at ASDA. Once I’ve finished getting her wrecked on Rose wine maybe I can let my 20 year old girlfriend play with them.
I gave you 3 simple requests.
1. Discipline your staff on the correct use of your policy
2. Compensate me in some small way with a nominal amount of Nectar points
3. Escalate my previous letters to the attention of your manager
To express my derision I have farted once on my nectar card for each request that you have failed to fulfil. Consider this my final feedback.
I hope you still look forward to “seeing me in store soon”. I relish the disappointment you now face.
I fully understand your position and in fact support you in it; if I could put that nectar card up your *rse myself then believe me, I would.
Roll back Roll back,
Aged 28 and a half
Attached with my letter was my nectar card cut into the shape of the word Asda, an Asda receipt for my crayons, and a crayon diagram of my new route to Asda bypassing Sainsburys.