Welcome to the story of David Benson. He’s 65 and irritated with Lidl. Why? Well, his local store opened up a bit later than it would normally, which caused his mince beef to go off. And he’s suing them about it.
Benson arrived at the Lidl in Edgware around 10am on a hot day last summer. On Lidl’s website, they said they were opening at that time, but he noticed a ‘hand-written note’ stuck on the door, saying it wouldn’t be opening ’til 11am.
As such, Benson claims that he was forced to wait outside until they opened, and during that time, his meat went off.
He said: “I realise there are those who would suggest that I am possibly over-reacting but I can assure you there were a lot of very unhappy people at 10am on that hot summer’s day”.
He’d bought his mince at a local butchers first, and went to Lidl to get the rest of his groceries. Benson, who happens to be an estate agent, said that he phoned Lidl customer services as soon as he got to the closed supermarket. He was told that Lidl’s opening hours had ‘recently changed’, and basically, they’d not updated the website yet.
Benson then wrote to Lidl, and he was offered vouchers. He says that he was treated ‘with complete contempt’.
A Lidl spokesperson said: “We can confirm the customer got in touch with us at 10.35am on June 7, 2015, and our customer services team investigated the matter fully. Our customer services team spoke to the customer over the phone and explained this, they apologised for the confusion and offered the customer vouchers as a gesture of goodwill.”
Fans of legal dramas – Mr Benson’s small claims case will be heard at Watford County Court on February 18th.
After Sainsbury’s decided to beat the regulators to the punch, and stop doing confusing, and potentially misleading multi-buy deals, Asda have got on board with the idea too, saying that they’ve removed 133 multi-buy products from their supermarkets.
Now, we are just waiting for the other supermarkets to stop their BOGOF deals as well.
An Asda spokesperson said: “We have always prioritised low prices over promotions, but we also understand that it’s about getting the right balance for customers. We’re pleased that our competitors are finally coming around to our way of thinking, but we will continue to lead the way.”
“For example this week alone we’ve removed 133 multi-buys in favour of everyday low prices and we’ve never used BOGOFs.”
Tesco will be following suit today, cutting back on the number of these promotions. Of course, consumers have long been saying they prefer the Aldi/Lidl model, or just keeping things cheap, rather than burying everything in offers.
Either way, wave goodbye to BOGOF and multi-buy deals… and invariably say hello to something else which is potentially going to mislead a load of shoppers.
Earlier, we told you about the death of BOGOF deals - well, Sainsbury’s have wasted no time in announcing that they’re going to be axing multi-buy deals.
They have said that they are getting rid of buy-one-get-one-free deals, and the like, within weeks.
“Careful management of household budgets, a growing awareness of the cost of food waste and more health-conscious living has driven a trend away from multiple product purchasing towards more single item purchasing,” said Sainsbury’s marketing director Sarah Warby.
“We have listened to our customers who have told us that multi-buy promotions don’t meet their shopping needs today, are often confusing and create logistical challenges at home in terms of storage and waste.”
Chipping in, Sainsbury’s food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks, added: “Customer shopping habits have changed significantly in recent years, with people shopping more frequently – often seeking to buy what they need at that moment in time.”
“By replacing multi-buy promotions with lower regular prices, we are making it easier for customers to buy the products they need, in the quantities they need, without having to buy multiple items to enjoy great value.”
“Since we started simplifying our pricing approach we’ve seen a much greater variety of products in our customers’ baskets, signalling that they like the flexibility to make their own choices.”
With a big player like Sainsbury’s announcing this, it is only a matter of time before the other supermarkets join in. Normally, this would be a stick-or-twist scenario, with everyone keeping tabs on the first company to do it, to see if it works or not. However, regulators are involved in this, so we could see supermarkets being a lot more hasty in stopping these offers.
Superdrug are kicking off a campaign to try and get rid of the 5% luxury tax on tampons and the like. For the time being, customers will get loyalty points from the retailer every time they buy Superdrug’s own-brand liners and tampons.
If they were serious about getting rid of the tax, you would have thought that this reimbursement would’ve applied to all sanitary products, but there you go.
Basically, Superdrug are saying that this scheme is acting as a payback for the compulsory tax, provided you buy their own-brand products.
Head of customer service, Gemma Mason, said: “It’s not like women choose to have periods. Britain is so far behind on this compared to some other countries.”
“I think when you look at what other products are classed as tax-free it’s actually scary to think sanitary products aren’t classed as such. Ask any person, be they a woman or a man, and it is unlikely they would consider bleeding for a week every month a luxurious event.”
Nice idea from Superdrug, but maybe they could commit a little harder to it, so other supermarkets might join in, and then maybe, together, you could go to the government about it?
We’ve had a few people asking us where you can get Asda’s wonky veg boxes from, because it looks like they’re not selling them at all their stores. If you know all about them already, head straight to the bottom of this article and make your way through the list, or hit ‘control & F’ (or ’command F’ if you’re an Apple user) to find your town.
If you missed the news about these boxes, Asda have started selling vegetable boxes filled with produce that isn’t exactly pretty, but is perfectly good to each. They cost £3.50, and are a very good idea, as they are going to reduce waste from producers, and of course, you get a load of greens for cheap!
Basically, the supermarket are running a trial at a bunch of their shops, to see if people are going to go for it or not.
Ian Harrison, Asda’s technical produce director, has said: “We’re excited to launch a unique and exclusive Wonky Vegetable box that is jam-packed with ugly winter veg that not only saves shoppers money but helps farmers get more of their crop onto our shelves.”
So, here’s a list of all the stores that are taking part in the trial.
Bury St Edmonds
Coventry Jubilee Cresent Supermarket
East Retford Supermarket
Hemel Hempstead Supermarket
Hull Mt Pleasant
Ipswich Stoke Park
Isle of Dogs
Old Kent Road
South Gate Circus
South Woodham Ferrers
St.Leonard on Sea
Well, you might be into oysters and, Morrisons have them on sale for a paltry 25p, each!
They’re flogging these British Pacific Oysters in the build-up to Valentine’s Day, because they’re an aphrodisiac. A lot of people have never tried them because they can be very expensive, and Morrisons clearly want you to give them a go.
A lot of people haven’t tried them because they look minging.
Of course, if you were to buy oysters at a restaurant or something like that, they’d be considerably more expensive, so if you’re curious, this is a great time to try them. And seeing as most supermarkets don’t sell oysters, Morrisons could be onto a winner.
Naturally, if you’re having them for the first time, you’ll find out how difficult it is to get into the bloody things, and any sexy feelings you may have had, will be lost as you spend 10 minutes swearing at an oyster while jimmying it open.
Anyway, check your local Morrisons if this sounds like your thing.
The price of products is obviously something that is of interest to us all, especially when we think certain prices are unfair. One of the things that has been talked about a lot, is the ‘pink tax’. Now, this is basically a thing that sees items that are aimed at women being priced up, simply because they’re pink.
There have been various online petitions and campaigns against this and, surprisingly, Boots have listened.
For example, Boots were selling eye cream for women at £9.99, but the same product for men would have cost £7.99. Razors for men were being sold for £1.49 for ten, while women’s razors were sold for £2.29 for eight. Obviously, you could argue that women could just buy the razors aimed at men, but that’s not the point. If overpricing women is systematic, then products that have no male-equivalent may also be marked-up.
Boots said in a statement: ”We have clear pricing principles that ensure all of our products are priced individually based on a range of factors including formulation, ingredients, and market comparison and were surprised and disappointed to see recent examples in the press that did not reflect our own standards.”
“Boots disposable razors and Botanics eye roll on, are indeed exceptional cases which do not completely meet our principles and we have taken action to correct these with immediate effect.”
The Times even did an investigation into all this, and they found that there were hundreds of examples of the ‘pink tax’ on toys, clothes, and a host of beauty products, as well as other things.
Naturally, men may well be stung over male-only products too, which means they should kick up a stink with retailers, rather moan at women for kicking up a stink about the stuff that matters to them. That probably won’t be happening any time soon though, eh?
Boots announced that they were getting rid of 700 jobs last summer, as they look at the ways they can grow, which now, means hundreds of managers looking at redundancy. This is to simplify roles in their shops.
Some staff members will be retrained, or moved to a different job, or sadly, losing their jobs altogether. Boots said in a statement, said that they’ve got a “new, modernised reward package” with “improved base rates for all hourly-paid colleagues in the UK.”
For those still in Boots’ employ, they said that there’ll be pay rises of up to 7% on starting rates, which will take wages above the levels that will be asked of the company by the National Living Wage.
All this is part of a plan to move Boots toward a “new, multi-skilled advisor model to better respond to customer and patient needs”, which basically means they’ll be training staff to ‘broaden their skills’, which roughly translates into ‘doing more than one job at once’.
President of Boots, Simon Roberts, said: “Everything we do at Boots is about helping people feel good. So many of our colleagues deliver amazing care for our patients, customers and communities everyday and we are actively working to make sure our people are rewarded for the great work they continue to do.”
“I believe our plans will enable us to build an even better Boots and drive future growth.”
Morrisons have suffered from confusing price offers in recent months, which they ended up dropping.
The supermarket has had a think, and decided on a new tactic, and is rolling out a new campaign called ‘Price Crunch’, where they vow to cut the price of 1,072 items. They’re going to focus on fresh food, and say that there’ll be an average reduction of 19% and big discounts on fruit and veg.
Aldi and Lidl have won a lot of customers over by forgoing deals that promise to match prices and give money back on the difference on groceries, instead, focusing on keeping prices consistently low. It seems Morrisons have cottoned on to this idea.
Chief executive, David Potts said: “We continue to listen carefully to customers and they have told us they want lower prices, particularly on fresh food and everyday essentials. As we improve our customers’ shopping trip we are becoming more competitive with our own distinct set of prices.”
Morrisons have pointed out that they make more than half of the fresh food they sells, and so, by keeping costs down in manufacturing, they say they’ll be able to keep prices low in the supermarket.
You’ll be seeing ‘Price Crunch’ marketing soon enough, both inside stores and externally, with a campaign of lower prices that are on a three month cycle. Whether consumers are going to go for it, is another matter. More options for consumers is good, but Morrisons have still got a long way to go if they’re going to win back those they’ve lost to the budget supermarkets.
Store managers have been told of the changes, with an official announcement set to be published tomorrow, February 2nd. This news follows Tesco’s announcement that they’re going to be stopping 24 hour opening times at a number of their stores (76 to be precise), now closing at midnight, which affects even more workers.
That’s not all – as we previously reported, the supermarket giant was found guilty of shafting their suppliers in a bid to focus on their own profits. This is a serious breach of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which is designed to protect those who supply to supermarkets. Tesco have been guilty of delaying huge payments for long periods of time to those who provide products to them.
As for this latest bit of news, a new deal is going to be offered to the staff, which will see double time reduced to time-and-a-half on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The incentives given to night staff will only get extra pay between midnight and 6am, with time-and-a-half overtime and double time now a single rate.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have reached a positive agreement on a two-year pay and benefits package for store colleagues, which is one of the most competitive in the supermarket industry and is good news for the large majority.”
“We will announce details once we have spoken to colleagues about the changes. Any colleagues out of pocket will be given advance notice and earnings will be protected for up to two years.”
Most people know that supermarkets are designed in such a way, that it tries to make you spend more money than you actually want to. Impulse buys are a goldmine for shops, so there’s a load of tricks they do to try and ensure this happens.
From dodgy sale items that are briefly hiked in price, so they can offer them at the price they would normally sell at with a 25% off! sticker, to putting stuff in prime locations so you’ll see it, there’s a lot of consumer psychology to play with.
If this is news to you, then the layout of a supermarket is key, and someone’s made a video which shows you some of the tricks employed to try and prise coins from your hand. Have a look (don’t worry, this is a short video).
Again, this won’t be news to some of you, but it is nice that someone made a short, simple-to-understand video about this, and you can keep an eye out next time you’re down the shops, and make a decision about what you really want to buy.
When you’re getting the groceries in, see if you automatically decided to walk around the shop anti-clockwise (and indeed, see if everyone else is doing the same thing), while checking out what products have been put at eye-level, and how the basics you need have all been spread across the shop floor.
Now, one good thing about this, is that the company say that this isn’t going to end up in a load of people losing their jobs. In fact, they claim that if anything, they think that they’ll be taking more people on as they are looking to add to their workforce.
The company are going to combine its remaining PC World and Currys stores, and while they’re at it, install a Carphone Warehouse outlet in each of them too.
“We are very confident that the impact on sales and colleague numbers will be neutral or better”, said group chief executive, Seb James. ”When we build one beautiful, refitted new 3-in-1 superstore and we have one great Carphone Warehouse in town… sales go up and also we end up usually needing more colleagues to work on the shop floor.”
There’s going to be around £50m invested in store refits, as well as a £70m provision to cover shop closures. Dixons Carphone are confident though, saying that they think all this is going to see them getting an extra £20m a year profit, as of 2017.
So, start sending your CVs to this lot, if that sounds like your thing.
Last year, we reported on Tesco’s unsavoury methods when it came to looking after their suppliers. We’ve talked about suppliers being too scared to complain about the supermarkets they’re supplying, but that could all change with the news that Tesco have “seriously breached” a legally binding code which is there to protect producers, because they put a priority on their own finances over treating suppliers fairly.
This is according to a new report from the Groceries Code Adjudicator, who said that Tesco need to introduce “significant changes” thanks to these breaches.
Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, said: “The length of the delays, their widespread nature and the range of Tesco’s unreasonable practices and behaviours towards suppliers concerned me. I was also troubled to see Tesco, at times, prioritising its own finances over treating suppliers fairly.”
This investigation came up with the conclusion that the supermarket giant acted unreasonably when it decided to delay payments to their suppliers “for lengthy periods of time”, and that breaches of this code were widespread.
It turned out that Tesco had delayed payment as a result of data input errors, as well as duplicating invoices, and making deductions so they could maintain their own profits. One supplier was owed a sum that was multi-millions, which Tesco took a couple of years to sort out, according to the report.
So, what’s the punishment for Tesco? Well, they’re now banned from deducting money owed for goods supplied. We would have liked to have seen them make an example of, with a big fine, but there you go. Either way, Tesco will now have to give suppliers 30 days to challenge any deductions, and they also have to sort out their pricing errors within seven days, fix their invoicing, and train staff in finance and buying concerning the findings in the report.
Tesco gaffer, Dave Lewis, responded to the report: “In 2014 we undertook our own review into certain historic practices, which were both unsustainable and harmful to our suppliers. We shared these practices with the adjudicator, and publicly apologised.”
“Today, I would like to apologise again. We are sorry.”
“Over the last year we have worked hard to make Tesco a very different company from the one described in the GCA report. The absolute focus on operating margin had damaging consequences for the business and our relationship with suppliers. This has now been fundamentally changed.”
Obviously, Amazon have got designs on taking over the entire universe at some point, but for now, it is baby steps. One area of growth is in the UK, where the company are going to create 2,500 new permanent roles, so get sending them your CVs.
That’ll take Amazon’s UK staff up to a whopping 14,000 people. They’re also creating jobs elsewhere in Europe too, in areas including their infamous warehouses.
So, if you need to know, there’s going to be roles at Amazon’s new London head office, which is currently being built, and at their research and development centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London. There’s also going to be roles at a customer service centre in Edinburgh.
Looks like Amazon are gearing up for a big push on something, and we suspect it’ll be a full roll-out of Amazon Fresh. Of course, they’ve got drone deliveries on the way too.
There’s also going to be a new Amazon Web Services data centre, which will be launching at some point in 2017, who are also going to be needing new staff.
“Britain has a world-class tech sector with a reputation for innovation and excellence,” said Amazon UK’s managing director, Christopher North.
“These new jobs we are creating up and down the country are testament to the quality of the workforce in the UK and our confidence in its economy, which we are proud to support through our continued investments.”
People get drunk sometimes, and it gets confusing as to whether the bad time they’ve had at a venue was the real deal, or self-imposed and muddled by booze.
That doesn’t stop people getting their critic’s cap on, and leaving a review, most likely on TripAdvisor.
Well, the people at North Shields bar, How Do You Do?, found they’d been given a one-star review by a customer who said they’d had a terrible time at a wedding there. The bosses replied, saying that what had been written was a “a drunk person’s view of the situation.
First, the complaint.
As you can see, there’s complaints of the meagre food on offer, and bizarrely, complaining about a pub that does lock-ins (pubs that do a lock-in should be cherished, whether they’ve invited you in or not).
There was also complaints of people being kicked-out, and ‘random strangers’ being allowed in.
With these complaints, HDYD’s Paul Bell felt he needed to address the complaint, which of course, has now been deleted. Bell points out why, if you’re going to get hysterical with a review, the management and staff will invariably have far more incriminating tales of their own to share with everyone.
Here’s the reply.
That’s a lot of words, and quite the take-down… no wonder the original complaint was deleted in haste!