Ranty Friday — It’s back baby

This is another regular blog feature that got binned because I thought regular ranting might not be good for my blood pressure.   But I have missed getting stuff off my chest so have decided to bring the feature back, though I can’t promise it will be every week.   In fact this one has been in my “I really must blog about that because it is RIDICULOUS” pile for a month.

Forgive the screen shots that follow but I want to be able to read exactly what happened and for me not to paraphrase anything.   The background to it is that back in May we hosted a birthday barbecue for Mr B and Caity, and some very good friends of ours who had a birthday the same week.   I was, therefore, catering for ten.   In an effort to get organised and not spend all day Saturday shopping and cooking I did an online food order on Thursday with Sainsburys for it all to be delivered on Friday afternoon.

So far so good.

Until he was ten minutes late, but that’s okay, I appreciate Friday traffic at 5pm can be a bit unpredictable.   The driver delivered the stuff, advised me of a couple of substitutions and left.   Which is what happens every time.  I have used Sainsburys regularly in the past (I had a smart pass so ordered at least once a week) and it has always been the same, driver cheerfully stands on the doorstep as I grab stuff out of the plastic boxes, listen to any information on substitutions and then wave the driver off.   Rarely does it deviate from that.

Which is why parts of the conversation below came as a surprise to me.

I got in touch with Sainsburys to tell them I was disappointed to find once the food had been delivered it all had a use by date of the following day.  Not best before, but use by.  Nine packets of meat: sausages, burgers, chicken, chicken in marinade.  All to be used by the following day, having been delivered at 5pm.

Not really what I had in mind for a barbecue on Sunday when I was trying to avoid having to go out shopping on the Saturday.


We are talking about almost thirty quid’s worth of food, and they wanted to offer me half that didn’t feel right to me.  I had already been out and bought dinner for the Friday night so couldn’t use any of it then, and we were out for dinner with friends in London on the Saturday night so couldn’t use it then either.    And we don’t have any space in our freezer so I couldn’t put it in there.

Plus that still get around the issue of the fact I would now have to find time to go out and shop for all the barbecue meat again, even if I had frozen it.

At this point I think an apology would have done it.    But as you can see, “Gary” offered no apology and went on to keep digging a hole

Now this is where I start being told that short shelf life items will be highlighted to me by the driver.  That has never happened.  Ever.   Not one driver from the countless deliveries has ever pointed those out to me.   And there is nothing on the receipt to indicate this either (like there is with a Waitrose delivery receipt).

Reitirating again that they will be highlighted, nope.  Not ever.  And have you ever known a driver wait whilst you unpack and inspect eight bags of shopping?

Nope me neither.

Gary has now morphed into Karen and apparently delivering nine packets of different meats that all go off the following day is acceptable.   Still no apology.


At this point I call the customer service number on the receipt to see if this “policy” is company wide.  The first thing they say when I tell what the issue is?

“Oh we are so sorry, that isn’t right at all”

Hmmmm so the people on the phone are completely contradicting what the social media team are saying.

Which adds to my annoyance.

Customer Services on the phone had to transfer me to another department (and verify with the store they were happy to process a refund to my card as I didnt’ want vouchers) but it was done with no arguing, and with profuse apologies.

It still strikes me as very strange that a supermarket thinks that when you do an online food shop, possibly for the whole week, or certainly a good few days, you wouldn’t want that food to last for a good period of time.  That it would be acceptable to sell you food that dies within 24 hours, so they can avoid binning it.

We aren’t talking best before here (You are talking to the wife of a man who is still using herbs with a best before of the 90s) we are talking use by on fresh meat.

And that there can be such a disparity between two teams, online and on the phone which says to me this is not a company policy but is possibly that it goes beyond the authority of the online team.  So why not say that?

I did immediately close my Sainsburys account and shan’t be using them for online food orders ever again I am afraid.   I generally shop for a few days, or a week when I do an online shop, it is rare for me to shop for one specific day, but either way I expect the food I have ordered to at least last that long.


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  • Wow. We shop online with Sainsburys and have had the odd issue with short dated stuff but nothing that extreme. We’ve certainly never had a problem getting a refund. I’ve had delivery drivers tell me that the pickers are a law unto themselves.

    The only major problem was with a driver who delivered 40 minutes early. A few times a driver has rung to say they’re nearby and to ask if we’d like our delivery a bit earlier. If we’re putting the kids to bed we don’t answer the phone but this one decided to ring the bell anyway. He couldn’t understand why we were upset about our toddler’s bedtime routine being turned upside down. Sadly, neither could customer services!

  • I agree that that was totally unacceptable. You handled it beautifully, there is an art to successful complaining. I have never ordered groceries online and best before dates are one of the reasons why. Online ordering is only starting to become popular here, so I think I’ll wait a tad longer after reading this.

  • God I can’t stand those “this our corporate policy” conversations. I’ve had so many in my time. It’s as if they’re trained to get rid of the customer as peacefully as possible, rather than to resolve an actual complaint. I’ve had very similar with EE in the past over something that was just plainly unfair. Even asking to speak to a manager got me nowhere. They just continued to trot out the standard company line in as many creative ways as possible, that all said the same thing. They stonewall you. It took me ending up in tears for them to actually try to do something beyond the normal rubbish policy. It’s just appalling. I always tell a story of how my mum shops at Tesco religiously, because she once complained about a rusty can of rhubarb that caused food poisoning, and a man from Tesco turned up on the doorstep with two bags of shopping treats and a personal apology. THAT’s customer service worth doing.