I spend a fortune on food shopping. There are eight hungry mouths to feed every week and eight bodies to clean up after. Okay so half of those bodies belong to animals, but they still need feeding and hovering up after.
I would say that on average I spend £240 per week. It seems a lot yet I still manage to be out of things come the following Friday. My kids eat everything and are hungry at least once an hour and then there is Miles. To give you an idea of what he consumes, I just made him breakfast. 3 slices of toast, 3 poached eggs and a small tin of baked beans. He ate it, then said “Cor the starter was nice, whats for main?”
Out of convenience I did do my shopping at Tesco Extra which is just up the road in Havant. So Tesco have been taking around £1000 per month from me for the last three years. So that’s about £36,000 worth of business I have put their way. Not any more, I am boycotting them because three weeks ago they treated me so appallingly that I will never step foot in one again. Even the little Express ones that appear to be everywhere.
It was Friday, my usual shopping day. Being the summer holidays I had decided to take the kids with me. My daughter Mili is 7 and my son Olli is 5. To distract them from the task in hand I let them first choose a toy each, then I spent the next hour mooching around the store, slowly doing my groceries. I’d been gardening so its fair to say I wasn’t looking scrumptuous.
I went to the checkout. Paid for all my shopping and then walked to the travelator to exit the store. It was here that I was pounced on by a security guard. In front of 100’s of other shoppers I was frog marched through the store to these massive doors at the back of the shop. The kids at this point were worried. I was worried. Something was going wrong.
“Am I billionth customer or something? Don’t you usually give a fanfare” I quipped “Keep walking” the security told me in a really stern voice. We were met, through the doors by three other people. Two more men and a woman who looked like a bull-dog chewing a wasp. I instantly didn’t like her. I stopped and demanded to know what this was about. My children, by this point, were crying.
“We have seen you steal shampoo and put it in your bag” They stated, ushering me through to a small back room. “Shop lifting!!?? I am sorry you have the wrong person”
I was told they had witnessed it on CCTV and that I had sniffed some shampoo then put it in my bag. This obviously wasn’t a joke. Mili was, by this point, sobbing like a trooper saying “Why Mummy?? Why did you steal shampoo”
The whole attitude of these guys was appalling. They could see I was a mother of two young children and that I had just paid over £200 for the shopping, when they tagged me at the front of the shop I was polite and courteous. Why couldn’t they have just pulled me to the side and searched my bag? At least then the onlookers could have seen me being let off. Not carted away like some common thief.
By this point I was so irate that they had not given any consideration to the welfare of my children that I emptied the contents of my bag all over the table in front of my ‘jury’ “There you go, show me this Shampoo” I demanded. Mili was still pleading for me to hand myself in. In her head I was guilty as sin. I must have done it. These guys all said they had seen it.
Let me tell you, watching a rude and uncouth man rummaging through the contents of your handbag, (tampons, lipstick, crumbs, toy cars, spare knickers etc) is a really degrading experience. I watched as they realised there was nothing there. I suggested we go through my shopping bags too, just to make sure. The security guard, whom I later discovered was the security manager, literally scratched his head and said “but we saw you take something” I asked to be shown the CCTV footage and they refused on the grounds of data protection. What utter rubbish.
I left, I was in such a state and so disoriented by where I was (somewhere out the back of the store) that I kicked my stupid trolley accidentally and it bashed my hand against the corner of the CCTV table. I didn’t think much of it. I was so enraged that these guys had hardly even apologised that I just continued to walk back to my car.
It took me half an hour to convince the children the police weren’t coming to kart me off. It took me another three hours to be told by A&E that I hadn’t broken my hand. I had to cancel my meeting at Goodwood and rearrange my whole evening. I entered Tesco feeling bright, happy and looking forward to a lovely weekend. I left feeling demoralised, angry, confused, violated and worried for my children. Oh and with a swollen hand.
I have made complaints to Tesco and although in the first instance they seemed rather helpful, when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to accept a half-baked apology from a man who wasn’t even present at the time of the search, they seemed to retreat and now, unsurprisingly, I cannot get hold of anyone. No one. I was promised a written apology. It hasn’t arrived. Although to be honest, if it did arrive I would probably wipe my bum on it and send it back to Tesco with a note saying, “you know what you can do with your apology right?”
The interesting thing is this. Three weeks ago I might have said, when asked what I do want from Tesco, I want a public apology and a months worth of free shopping would probably lure me back in store. But if I am asked now I would say that there is quite honestly nothing that Tesco could do to get me shopping with them again and I’ll tell you why. It’s not because of the incident, or the lack of care given to me since. It’s because I have found a much better super market just up the road.
For the last three weeks I have tried other shops. Sainsburys, Waitrose and this Friday, Asda. I have realised that Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda all have very similar prices. Waitrose is lovely and sells some great products but unfortunately its just too far away to be practical for me. Sainsburys was very nice but to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality of the produce.
So to my utter utter surprise it is actually ASDA that will be getting my £1000 per month from now on. Okay so I wouldn’t buy ASDA’s own standard range of anything but I bought the Something Special (or whatever its called) meat and it was slightly cheaper than the others but my goodness, it was really nice quality. the vegetables are all sealed so nicely and crisp and fresh and tasty. In fact as I write this I am crunching on a Red Delicious and its fresh, crisp, red and indeed delicious.
I have always avoided ASDA as I thought it was one step above ALDI. To be honest its far superior to Tesco. There is a better choice and when I actually think about it, I had been moaning about the quality of Tesco for months. The Asda staff were all great. Most importantly, probably the most important thing of all, they stocked Miles favourite chilli sauce. Something Tesco stopped doing months ago AND I even managed to find this incredible pot of sauce from Ghana called ‘SHITO’
I have just about gotten over being accused of theft. I am still mad about the way it was conducted and I am still chasing Tesco for some kind of recompense. One thing that I can’t escape though is my daughter. Who keeps telling every single person that we meet that I am a shop lifter. So if any of you reading this have children at the Primary School, please don’t be shocked when you ask my daughter what she got up to in the holidays and she says “Well, we went to France, had a few BBQ’s and Mummy got caught shop lifting” It’s not quite as simple as that
UPDATE: Tesco have contacted me again. A very nice guy in the call centre said sorry. But I think I would prefer a statement from Tesco on how they will avoid this happening again.
UPDATE: When I wrote this blog I sent it out to my followers who understand my style of writing. I would like to say a few things.
I have had to heavily edit my piece. Apparently if you mention you have money it opens you up to be totally abused by people. Tonight I was told I was a STUPID FAT CU*T and someone said I HOPE YOU DIE OF FACE CANCER. I have been called a snob and asked what right I have to complain.
Throughout my post I don’t believe I said, if your poor you shop lift or that I said I should be let off because I’m rich. My main point was to tell a small group of people how terrible I was treated.
What I have discovered is there is an awful lot of jealousy, rudeness and people just wanting to attack for the sake of it.
The post has received 30,000 hits and out of that only 200 have complained. But the complaints have been SO vulgar and prejudice I decided to edit the blog so hopefully everyone can understand why I was so cross.
Also @Macchinaclub is my work account so IF you want to follow me could you do so on the @notnownancy one.