Is it just me or does “no bags” sound fairly straight forward as a request? Especially when it’s not a request I made up, it’s a tick box option as in “tick here to have your shopping delivered without bags”. Well, call me naive but I ticked that months and months ago on my little Tesco ap and I kind of thought it meant my shopping would be delivered without bags. I know, I get these weird ideas in my head sometimes but I just didn’t think this one was that far out there.
Well, if you’ve done this, you’ll probably feel my pain. Here is what came with my shopping…
So, I contacted Tesco. They suggested I tick the no bags option……I explained that I’d already given that a go…. apologies were made, assurances were given and I was told that it was due to seasonal packing staff being brought in to cope with demand and that this would not happen again. My local branch manager was even contacted (apparently).
The next time it happened, I was less impressed. Again, complaints to the Facebook site where this time I was told that the “no bags” option didn’t include the pink bags. No, the pink bags are “contamination bags”. Well, this sounded bad to me – I’ve never been that keen on the idea of any contamination at all in my weekly shop so I had a few more questions. Mainly around what sort of contamination my bananas (amongst other things) were likely at risk of. There was a really bizarre conversation where Tesco couldn’t decide if my fruit was being contaminated (I offered to peel, wash or cook it so thought that would do instead of a bag) or, even more worryingly, that it was to prevent my fruit and veg contaminating other items.
Personally, if my bananas are considered a risk to the rest of my shopping, just by touching it, I’m not giving that to my kids.
So, I boycotted. I promised to do all my shopping at that little grocers in town with the nice family running it. I was clearly intending to cycle there in my Laura Ashley dress and pack it all into my wicker basket. Then I ran out of, well, everything. Kids still need food apparently, even if you’re trying to save the turtles.
So, back on the ap I went but this time, I had a cleaver idea. This time, in the “notes for packer” section I wrote “NO BAGS…. NO PLASTIC AT ALL”. In capital letters, really subtly. And guess what – it only worked. The shopping turned up with multiple fresh food items in a single large paper bag and all the labels on the outside of that. Hurrah, I’d cracked it. I even told a friend who announced she was going to do the same (I may need to go back to her on this one).
Then yesterday, I came crashing down to earth. My husband did the shop this week and to his credit, remembered to add the oh so subtle, not petulant at all capital letter “NO BAGS” in all the notes for packers sections. So, when it turned up with about 15 plastic bags we were both a little gutted. If the nice delivery man is reading this then I’ll apologise now as he probably didn’t expect a lecture on plastic pollution so early on in his shift, and he certainly didn’t deserve it.
In fact, we were too frustrated about it this time to even formally complain so full marks to our delivery driver who did go back to store and inform them that they had one very irritated customer at my house. And guess what, they rang – twice. First call was I think the store manager (I could have got that wrong) and the second was from the packing manager.
Both were polite but fruitless calls. In the first call we received the manager apologised and said we should not have had any large carriers at all. When I explained it wasn’t the large ones she said “oh, the pink contamination bags – we have to put bleach in those by law”. Right, stop, wait. Firstly, not just those bags, secondly, not just the bleach and thirdly, WHAT? Health and safety apparently. It is too dangerous to have bleach near any of your other shopping unless it’s in a pink bag – or you’re shopping in store and happen to use the supermarket trollies when it’s pretty much expected and obviously completely safe (?!?!?!?).
The pink bags for the frozen fish items were apparently policy but if I wanted to say when my delivery was each week she’d put a note on the board for me. It was the surprise in her voice about the veg that struck me though. “Oh, you even mean the clear bags – the FREE ones?”. Yes Tesco, this is not about 5p for me. It’s not about the bags being free. It’s about them being utterly pointless. And harmful. And unwanted. I could tell she didn’t get it but was definitely trying and would speak to someone for me.
Then came call two. I’m frankly getting bored of writing about it now so I’m sure you don’t want details but the two key points were again “I know they’re free, that’s not the point” and from the packing manager “I’m sorry, this is policy, is what they’re trained to do” and that apparently, was that. If I order on-line from Tesco, I have a 90% chance, that no matter what I do, I’ll get a load of unwanted plastic. this isn’t good enough so I guess I’m off to get myself a Laura Ashley dress and a wicker basket for my bike.