Do you ever do something just for the hell of it and because you think maybe, possibly, someone, somewhere will find it funny?
And then they don’t.
This is what I panicked about after sending my complaint to Waitrose. Oh God, what if they think I am a moron? What if I don’t even get a response? What if they tell Delia Smith and I am banned for life from every Waitrose ever?
Well that didn’t happen!
In short, this is what happens when someone in customer services has a sense of humour. I have cut some of the duller content from the emails, artistic licence and all, but everything you read actually happened. To see original complaint please click here.
Ladies and Gentlemen – Mr Christopher Ashley, Case Manager, Executive Office, Waitrose.
(round of applause)
Subject: Disappointing Noodles? Udon’t say? 1-156673756-7
(YES he changed the email subject – great start!)
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2014
Thank you for your letter to our managing director, Mark Price. I’ve been asked to respond on his behalf.
First of all, it’s likely that we have some John Lewis’s working in the John Lewis Partnership – but I’m sorry to have to inform you that they’re not our managing director or chairman. I’m aware this may disappoint you.
Secondly, please don’t go into so much detail talking about your delicious food. Reading about your sautéed crisp onions, sweet red peppers, and delicately cooked prawns is more than I can handle so far from dinner time. By the time I read about glugging coconut milk I nearly fainted. That might take some explaining.
Finally, I come to the business at hand – the noodles. You clearly know what you want from a noodle (my vice is rice) so I’m sorry that you’ve been disappointed. I’ve seen the film Tampopo and it taught me to appreciate the drastic lengths people will go to, to enjoy the perfect bowl of noodles. I hope I may assist you on this quest.
Please could you provide me with the type of noodles? Were they Amoy or Clearspring for example? Your telephone number? Ideally I’d like to know when and where you purchased them, and the supplier code on the packet, if you still have it.
It may help speed things up if you give me a ring on ****. I’m in until 6pm today. The key thing is that we want to leave you happier with Waitrose than you currently are, especially after your laksa paid the ultimate price.
Thanks in advance for the additional information, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Case Manager, Executive Office
P.S. What do noodles say at the end of a prayer? Ramen.
I mean – the man made a noodle joke for crying out loud! Waitrose – give this man a raise!
The following is what happened next…
Dear Christopher (Ashley)
Is that your surname or just an alter-ego? It’s hard to tell from the email.
Thanks for the reply. I am thrilled that there may actually be a John Lewis working with you. I bet his mum is pleased. I might call my first born “King of the World” to see if it has the same effect!
I am already pretty happy with Waitrose to be honest (the noodle joke worked a treat). I just want to look out for the little man and make sure no one else has to experience the same trauma. If at first you don’t succeed etc etc.
I am glad this is getting the full attention it deserves. Not for me, but for the children.
At the risk of sounding like an 80s American Teen Pack Movie Star, “Mr Ashley” is my father. Christopher will suffice.
I will await the details of the noodles, and resume full attention of this important matter. For the children, of course.
Good morning Christopher
Bet you are glad to hear from me again!
I have attached a picture of the offending noodle for reference. Christopher, I don’t know you at all, you could be raving lunatic, but I think you’ll agree that whilst these are delicious, noodles they are not.
I leave this in your capable hands.
Just spoken to our noodle buyer. She’s copied me in on an email to *** seeking further clarification. This is going to Japan, so we should get an interesting answer out of this.
I’ll get back in touch with you after the weekend – happy Friday indeed!
This excites me a lot. I have always thought noodles had a place in international relations.
Have an excellent weekend.
The weekend passed, emails were sent to Japan. I went to the races, had a lovely time. Then this happened…
I’m sorry to learn that the Udon Noodles weren’t as you expected them to be. I can appreciate how disappointing this must have been…
I spoke to our buyers who contacted ***, who trade in traditional, slow dried organic noodles from Japan. *** told us that their noodles are made using traditional roll and cut methods, not the more conventional force extruded methods other noodle makers use.
*** said that their wide udon noodles are “kishimen” noodles from Nagoya, and are great for dipping in sauces, or for soups. There is an abundance of kishimen noodle recipes online, so maybe you could have fun trying some of these out.
Having said this, our noodle buyer has taken your comments on board, and she says that she’ll look at increasing the variety of udon available in our shops early next year. While you count down the days, our buyer recommended trying *** Udon, as they’re closer to the noodle you crave. She told me that as of today, they’re on special offer – so you save 1/3 off the price.
Please find enclosed a gift voucher as a gesture of goodwill. I hope that you choose to use it to buy some ingredients for a new and exotic kishimen noodle dish. If you do, please share the results with us.
Thanks again for contacting us, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Waitrose soon.
Enc £25.00 vouchers!!!!!
I think you will agree that this is pretty incredible. Even the Queen thinks it is amazing!
If you know Christopher Ashley I order you to buy him a pint or high-5 him next time you see him!
It just goes to show that you can definitely catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (or pasta in this case).
So next time you have cause to complain, consider the feelings of the person you are complaining to. Be polite and don’t take it too seriously. Hopefully the person on the other end will be as fantastic as the gang at Waitrose have been.
I have now decided that I might like to start a career in complaining. If you are in a pickle and want me to write a complaint for you, use the contact me section of the blog, tweet me or message me on Facebook.
Lets start sorting the world’s problems out one smile at a time!
p.s. if I ever say, think, or type the word noodle again you have permission to slap me.