Starvation once again
I hate supermarkets.
It starts with the attempt to find a trolley that will at least head in the approximate direction I want it to go. Then there’s the musak which is supposed to calm me but has the opposite effect. And then there is the problem of finding the items I’m looking for, which always seems to involve about three circuits of the shop before I find it. Finally of course there is the sheer joy of joining the line to check out my items.
I’m happy to say there is an alternative which I have been using for many years. In fact, apart from holidays I think I can safely say I haven’t entered a supermarket in about twenty years. That alternative is of course the joy of online shopping.
Online shopping is brilliant. I can shop in the comfort of my armchair and can browse the aisles with a click of the mouse. There is little temptation to impulse buy and if I find the basket is becoming a tad expensive, it’s easy to remove items without enduring the withering gazes of the people waiting behind me in a queue.
Having filled my basket I then select a time for them to deliver. At the start of the Virus panic that could be a couple of weeks ahead, but now I can usually find a delivery slot the following day. Just before the appointed time I get a text with a link to a map which shows me exactly where my order is. This is quite good fun as I watch the van navigate the tricky parts of the journey from Skobieville to the Wicklow foothills. As soon as he turns into our lane I can open up the garage doors so he can deliver straight onto the kitchen table. All I have to do is pack away the stuff after he’s gone.
What’s not to like about that for efficiency?
Except when something goes wrong.
I put in an order on Saturday night for delivery yesterday at two in the afternoon. Two o’clock came and went. No messages and no delivery. Then I realised I had left my phone in the bedroom.
I collected my phone to find a message from the shop – their driver had gone home sick and would I like to collect the order myself of reschedule the delivery? I phoned back the number. I couldn’t get through. I tried numerous times with that number and a couple of other numbers I found. I still couldn’t get through. Obviously I was too late in the day. No groceries.
I phoned a different number this morning [Head Office]. I got through to a nice enough chap who found my order on his computer but he had no idea of when it might be delivered. He offered to phone Skobieville to find out. I was put on hold for a few minutes and back he came. He couldn’t get through to them.
So I’m in limbo. Somewhere out there is a van full of my stuff. I hope they remembered to put the frozen stuff in a freezer, or it will be mush by now.
Has anyone got a spare sliced pan and a bottle of milk?
Nothing unusual here. This is the joy of the Just In Time supply chain. It is fantastic when it all goes well. They then tweak to improve, removing people to speak to and improving turnabout.
Then something goes wrong and you are screwed. there is nobody to talk to, they don’t have the capacity to pick up the slack and next thing you are running to the corner shop.
Customer service is crap nowadays. They have automated so much that even the people in the system can’t change it and they mandate you have things like a mobile phone, not just a mobile phone though but a smart phone and download their app or they stop taking cash or cheques and everything is by card or mobile phones (again) Banks are mandating 2FA via app and you can’t even do online shopping without a mobile phone. It is a step backwards and all because they want to become more efficient and squeeze as much out of you and reduce costs as much as they can. All the time saying that they are improving customer service.
My latest hobby is complaining about the service. It’s good when it is a bank as the Ombudsman is independent so you can waste more people time.
But clearly we just shrug and put up with it so we get more and more.