Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tesco Express Little Concern

A change from my usual posts as this time I'll be writing about how one major British company treats its customers like dirt. To find out which (if the blog's title isn't big enough clue) and how, read on.

On the 21st September I stopped at the Tesco Express in Winchmore Hill, North London (picture below) to get some petrol.

This is not unusual as it's local to me and I've often gone there. On this occasion, however, something had made the floor inside the store as slippery as ice. The result of this being that I fell, extremely heavily, onto the hard floor and adjacent display units. What had caused the floor to be so slippery is a mystery, though the fact that it happened right next to a display of flowers would suggest either the floor was wet or perhaps petals had fallen off etc. I was rather too shaken and embarrassed to worry about it at the time, I wanted out of there as soon as possible. As anybody who has fallen in public will know, it's embarrassing and the last thing you want to do is cause a fuss, especially if you're a grown man!

At the time of the incident, two members of staff had come over. One seemed more concerned with placing back some disturbed bottles of Coke I had also fallen into, and was the other side of the display from the incident. The other member of staff asked “Are you okay?”, to which I replied “I think so”, he then returned to his position at the cash register. To my knowledge no attempt was made by the staff to ascertain the cause of the accident, and no suggestion was made that it be logged in any accident/incident book as I understand should be common practice.

Both my knees and arms had hurt since the incident but that was to be expected given the force with which I fell but it was only later, on returning home, that the lump on my left arm appeared, see picture below.

As it was clear that I had quite badly injured myself, though at this point I didn't realise how badly, upon arriving home from work my brother returned to the store to ensure they made a note of the incident in the accident/incident book, as they really should have done to begin with, in my opinion. A form was filled out, though so faintly in pencil it's virtually impossible to read in places. A request to view the CCTV footage of the incident was refused.

I had actually attempted to call the store prior to my brother returning home but the phone number on the receipt didn't work, resulting in a message that it wasn't recognised. Calling another branch for assistance had them give exactly the same number, as did a further branch after which I gave up. This doesn't speak well of the company's competence when they cannot even get a simple phone number correct.

Over the course of the next couple of days the extent of the bruising began to appear, bringing with it often excruciating pain in my knees, upper arms and shoulders, which had both been badly strained. The photos below of the bruising were taken, however they became even more severe in subsequent days. It's important to note that the bruising doesn't convey the pain causes by the strain caused to both shoulders and upper arms, this was if anything even more painful than the bruising.

Right arm

Left arm

Right knee

As a long term carer for my elderly mother I was not able to sit quietly and avoid aggravating the bruising, on the contrary I was constantly required, as is usual, to move around, carry things and so forth. This was, as mentioned above, often excruciating but I had no alternative. The pain was, however, so bad that my mother refused to allow me to drive her to her twice weekly doctors appointments, it likely wouldn't have been safe considering the pain, and so had to pay for minicabs there and back each time. I am only thankful that it was I that fell and not my mother as we were returning from a clinic appointment when we stopped at the store, I dread to think the extent of the injuries she may have suffered in my place.

It was suggested by several friends that I should complain to Tesco, possibly even sue them, and so I took the step of writing to their Managing Director. I explained the situation and enclosed several photos, including those shown above.

After initially getting a reply asking I be patient whilst they look into the matter I subsequently received a letter dated the 5th October, from Frances Hickling of the Chief Executive's office, apologizing for the accident and saying that the staff were unable to locate the cause. They also included a £50 Tesco Cashcard. It is hardly surprising that they were unable to locate the cause given they did not investigate until nearly a week after the incident and no attempt, certainly to my knowledge, had been made at the time it took place either. There is also the question of whether a company would admit to discovering what had caused an accident given that it would doubtless leave them open to legal proceedings.

During that first week I was unable to drive. This meant that several return trips had to be made using minicabs, the total cost of which was rather more than £30. On top of this the cost of the photographs being processed and postage brought the total to well in excess of £40, so you'll hopefully understand why I think that Tesco were taking the piss with their offer. By the time it arrived I had suffered around two weeks of often extreme pain and discomfort and was still badly bruised, so I replied telling them how I felt about their response and offer of compensation.

The response, dated the 17th October, was somewhat dismissive and explained the £50 Tesco Cashcard was not intended as compensation but as a 'gesture of goodwill'. Really? Well, I think your 'gesture of goodwill' is a disgrace, it's an insult and merely serves to give me the impression that your company doesn't give a damn about the customer.

I'm actually writing this on the 7th of November and the lump by my left elbow, although no longer painful, is still evident and my right shoulder, which bore the brunt of the fall, continues to give me occasional problems. That is the extent of the injuries I incurred, that they are still with me to some degree over five weeks on. So, no, I do not think Tesco handled this appropriately and, no, I do not consider a paltry £50 Cashcard I have to spend with them to be satisfactory, not when I suffered as badly as I did and was left out of pocket to nearly that much in the first week alone!

For the record, before anybody gets the idea I was out for the money, I wasn't. If I was that kind of person I would have been claiming the carer's allowance I am legally entitled to for looking after my mother, instead I choose not to. I've also been unable to work due to my own longterm health problems, for which I could also have claimed benefits but choose not to. I am not some mercenary dick out for all he can get, quite the opposite. All I wanted was to be treated fairly and shown due consideration for the injuries suffered, I don't consider that too much to expect.

So, Tesco, may I say that whilst I had always enjoyed using your stores I shall now avoid doing so whenever possible and advise others do the same, because you can shove your 'gesture of goodwill' up your complacent backside, it was adding insult to injury. I'm hoping that the next time somebody is unfortunate enough to injure themselves in one of your stores you get sued for every penny you're worth, you deserve no less.

Doubtless Tesco Head Office still have my contact details on file if they have any issue with them being featured on this blog. Perhaps had they not been so utterly incompetent and dismissive I'd not be writing it, so they have only themselves to blame.

20/12/2012 UPDATE:

My right shoulder, as mentioned above, continued to cause me problems. These problems increased dramatically a few weeks back, possibly as I cannot simply rest it as I'm a carer, until it was excruciatingly painful to move my arm, this made even dressing or eating extremely unpleasant and I've barely had an uninterrupted night's sleep as moving in bed causes it to hurt and wake me up. The pain became so bad that I was forced to speak to my doctor. He has diagnosed an injured rotary cuff and referred me for physiotherapy at my local hospital, for which there could be several weeks' wait for an appointment. In the meantime I am frequently in severe pain, I have been advised not to drive (so we're incurring minicab fees yet again for my mother) and it is, as you can imagine, pretty bloody unpleasant to say the least.

To add insult to injury, literally, my last letter to Tesco had them pass the details to their Insurance Company, which curiously is also Tesco judging by the letter they sent. They said they would need my National Insurance number and full details of the incident before they could proceed. I received this letter the day after I had made my doctor's appointment, so held off replying until I had spoken to him a few days later. Before I could reply, however, I received another letter to say they had already completed their investigation (how, when they previously said they couldn't proceed without my NI number and details) and that they weren't prepared to offer any further help.

I am frankly disgusted with the entire situation. I find Tesco's treatment of me to be wholly unfair, unsatisfactory and contemptible. I have been left grossly out of pocket, costs which are increasing with every necessity to use a minicab, I am in frequent agonizing pain, I cannot drive and my quality of life has been seriously negatively affected and looks set to remain so for the foreseeable future. If Tesco think this is acceptable then it speaks volumes of how little they truly value their customers. It is disgusting.

Perhaps they should change their slogan from "Every Little Helps" to "Very Little Help" and actually be honest with their customers.


  1. None of my business, but... you prob should claim your carer's allowance. I'd rather my taxes went to you than Sharron Sixkids from the precinct...

    1. Thanks. I've had others express the same sentiment but somehow it feels wrong to claim for looking after my own mother.

  2. So how exactly do you pay for your life. No job, no benefits, no income ?

  3. why not bring your case to the press?

    1. Not sure what the press would be able to do, or if they'd even be interested in one person's case like this. I've contemplated a YouTube video naming and shaming every person I've had dealings with so far, and how they've been so dismissive. Not that it'd do any good - I'd shrug if it wouldn't ****ing hurt so much to do so!


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