Supermarkets Discontinue Products. WHY?

If you’ve come here for the answer, sorry don’t have it. Other than I assume they stop products in favour of ones that will make them more money?!

So, got to start with Tesco haven’t I? It’s like a given. Nah, this time I will start with Sainsbury’s because it has really really annoyed me. Look at these:
0000001066869_L0000001066418_L0000001065718_L0000001066517_L0000001066746_L Lovely looking cookies huh? See that space though? Triple chocolate cookies missing. Why would you stop that? Seriously. One biscuit with 369 calories in it has got to be good. They are all the same price so just sell the right number of each. Why discontinue? Foolish decision. Foolish. Foolish. Foolish.


Update – they are back well done Sainsbury’s!

Right, Tesco. So, in the last few months they have discontinued
1) The tea towels I buy (very daft when they match other items they still sell!?!)
2) Heinz reduced sugar and salt ketchup (why for crying out loud?)
3) 650g cherry tomatoes so you have to spend more on 300g packs
4) Cherry pie (The Bull is not happy about that)
5) Tesco finest cheese flatbread

Then a few people told me that Tesco Watford has forgotten it is a grocery store and is stocking more electrical, furniture and china. Also Tesco finest baked beans have been discontinued too! Someone said that Tesco had discontinued customer service….

So join me in my rant. What items do you like that supermarkets have discontinued? We shall direct them here!

Update – right, remember a few months ago Tesco was reported as stopping 30% of its products. Well I wrote to ole Dave and asked him about the reasoning and what products they were going to stop etc. Here’s his response “In a big superstore we have more than 25% of items that either don’t sell or a single unit a week and taking up space from the lines most people want and they leave disappointed. We are reducing this customers don’t want and increase space for things that they do.” So there you go, although I don’t believe that Tesco finest cheese flat bread didn’t sell.

Hurrah! Sainsbury’s have reinstated the triple chocolate cookie. Was it something I said?


11 Rants to Improve Bras! (Or 11 Effective Ways Bra Manufacturers Could Make More Money!)

Last week I started a rant about bras on Facebook. Well, given the post was basically for women it was one of my most popular posts!

The start of the ranting
I asked a simple question, why pad with gel and stuff to make a DD look even bigger? Well, one of my post popular posts ever, especially given that it was the first aimed at women for women to engage in! There was some discussion about whether DD was big! But we may have solved this conundrum – back size goes up cup size comes down so could be why some people have different views of what is big. Age could have something to do with it too as in the last few years the average bra size has increased.

Katie Price and Kate Moss. Sublime to the ridiculous in terms of bras? Who would need the padding to get more clothes to fit properly?
Katie Price and Kate Moss. Sublime to the ridiculous in terms of bras? Which Kate would need the padding to get more clothes to fit properly?

Now, this is not about trying to convince anyone our boobs are bigger or con anyone or any of that stuff. For those of us left out in the giving of “In proportion of one’s body boobs” it is about exactly that. Making ourselves look and feel better. So many clothes don’t look right because they “hang” where they should be fitted so there are numerous nice clothes we can’t wear! (Or look daft doing so!) Sometimes a bit of padding helps, sometime it doesn’t! Now how does enhancing the boosting of your boobs so they are out of proportion the other way help?! It’s just not necessary and as one lady said she is a “36D and see a lot of padded!! I love my boobs but padded 36D is just greedy and they feel gross” I rest my case and good night.

The Questions
Before I go though, here are the unanswered ranty questions and I don’t care that ranty isn’t a word. Nor do I care that 11 is not a nice round number.

1) Why aren’t bra cup sizes the same whatever the back size so we all know where we are?
2) Why is a 34c in one shop a 32 or a 36 or d or whatever in another shop?
3) Why are there so few matching knickers for bras?
4) Why are large cups, let’s say from a 36d upwards often padded to enhance the boobs when no enhancement is necessary?!
5) Why (this from one of the more blessed women) can you only get big uncomfortable pads or something like a net curtain in 32H? (Told she was quite blessed).
6) Why did all my female relatives get decent sized boobs but I got my father’s side of the family?
7) Why can’t bras be made where putting them in the washing machine doesn’t “ruin” them or make wires come out and block the machine?
8) Why, whenever you are in shops they so often have all the gel/padded ones in the larger sizes left and none of the smaller? Is this down to buyers not following common sense?
9) Why do all the pictures of bras to buy on line/in catalogues always show lovely looking models all in proportion and never a very small bust?
10) Why do the pictures of bras on line/in catalogues never show how bras look under t shirts etc?
11) Now, if a someone who is a 32B put on weight and it didn’t go on her boobs = 34A = 36AA = what happens at 38? This, this is the sort of thing that will happen to me. When I dropped a back size did I go up a cup size? No I flaming well didn’t, typically defying logic and all things fair. Will I go down a cup size if I go back up a back size? Yes I will.

I’d have a boob job but I know they’d only explode.

I shall try to discover answers. But in the meantime let me know if you have any more bra queries?!

And also in the meantime check out Bare Reality 100 women bravely share un-airbrushed photographs of their breasts alongside honest, courageous, powerful and humorous stories about their breasts and their lives. Women from all walks of life took part, aged from 19 to 101, sized AAA to K, from Buddhist nun to burlesque dancer. Their perspectives and experiences are revealing and profoundly moving. Intimate, visually refreshing, maybe even surprising.

How, When and Why do you Complain or don’t you?

First grab a cuppa and a biscuit.

This should be an interesting survey! Let’s see how many people really complain, what you complain about what you complain for and why you complain and do you do it effectively? Should take less than two minutes to complete. AND you will be taking part in a national survey of great importance! Be part of a survey that may be analysed in all the media! Please answer the questions honestly regarding what you do and not what you think you should behave! Thank you

Thank you now, if it is wine o’clock have a glass of wine. If not cuppa and chocolate!
If you want to be amongst the first to see the results sign up to the newsletter and learn how to improve your complaining too!

Still here? Jolly good, now you can follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page oh Google plus (I really don’t like but one must do these things and my page is on there too) and Pinterest and stuff. More tips, advice and funny stuff. It’ll be worth it because one day when you meet me if you have done all this I will buy you a very nice cuppa and chocolate cake or if it is the evening a very large tipple. Also you should find something helpful or funny, if not leave! 🙂 Thanks again. I’d say something nice but I’m anti social.

The Complainers Giving Complainers a Bad Name?

My experience with The Complainers
Well  The Complainers filmed me. Lovely Tom and Jon came to film me and said they would be back to film updates to the stories and film me with the blog and stuff! I’m probably old enough to be Tom’s mother but should you ever be filmed by Dragonfly (they made The Hotel – hilarious, and One Born Every Minute so a great company) ask for him, he is very very easy on the eye! 🙂 They asked to be kept informed and that was that. I kept them informed, the researcher seemed interested in the workshops and community radio I was doing, all more interesting than filming someone emailing and said she’d ‘phone on the Monday. Then I was on the BBC….. Then it all went quiet. I joked that perhaps Channel 4 may not like showing someone who had been on the BBC! It became clear that despite more interesting things to film, like having my carpet cleaned courtesy of The Body Shop and updates to stories, workshops and radio, Dragonfly didn’t contact me. After a few months I was curious why and emailed. Jon replied “We had a bit of a change of direction after we met you so it became more about longstanding complaints within the utility sphere and then it got more focussed from there. Certainly I hope when you see the documentary that our episode wouldn’t have been the right fit for your endeavours, even though both Tom and myself had a fantastic time coming to meet you.”

Hmm, I took long standing to mean longstanding. My complaint with Virgin that they filmed had reached the point of CISAS and that has to be 8 weeks before you can do that. I thought all my stories re Tesco showed that I often picked on them. But then we saw the first episode and things became clearer.

The first episode
I thought that this would be interesting. See things from the other side and how Transport for London deal with complaints. Although we didn’t see that. We saw abuse sent through Twitter which is nothing to do with complaining. We saw Traffic Droid, giving out red cards to road users who in his opinion were not abiding by the rules, and by others’ opinion, putting others in danger. I’m not certain as I got so bored watching the programme. The Telegraph summed it up in a good review. An opportunity to show what happens in call centres but we didn’t see one complaint being handled. There must be hundreds of complaints about transport but did we see any? No. Far too much of one person, even in the name of entertainment was he really the only “character” they could find? So if you were watching in the hope of finding out how to complain about delayed trains this is what you need.

The second episode
Councils. Well this will be full of “characters” I thought. Even if we don’t see complaints being resolved. Nope. Just a few yet again. Ridiculous, there must have been loads to choose from. An extreme complainer – no sign of complaining about consumer issues or asserting legal rights. At least I think in this episode we did see a couple of call centre staff answer a call and resolve a complaint.

The third episode
Well apparently this is the one I would have been in. And there it was the reason I was not used. Fair enough. Yep, “My endeavours were not a good fit”. No wonder Tom and Jon wanted to come back to my house and have me cook for them! They must have liked coming to my house, it was clean and they happily drank tea, ate biscuits and had a glass of wine. But I am polite (well, when I write complaining to companies) assertive and use the Law. At least the programme was extreme enough for people who don’t complain to realise that this is not the way to do it and hopefully see that not everyone sees a complaint as an “opportunity”. Shame about the stereotyping too for 2 of the characters, although moving your stuff via a nicked shopping trolley did make me laugh Ian 🙂

Overall thoughts
Well, I can see why I wasn’t used! Although I write (I’m reliably informed) a useful and entertaining blog and give good free advice on social media I’m not sad/loony/desperate enough to go looking for complaints or continue on and on with the same complaint (having got it resolved in the first place). I named the insect in the Tesco rice Phillip after the CEO and I had a hammer which I was tenderising chicken with while I slated the Tesco CEO. It amused Jon and Tom at the time but I think that as time progressed and the powers that be decided they wanted extreme complainers (as opposed to people complaining and asserting their legal rights) it would have been used if I had gone to the Tesco offices with insect and hammer in hand demanding to see Clarke!

I loathe the term “serial complainer” and “professional complainer” both are ridiculous terms and don’t reflect what many other people and I do which is to complain effectively. We don’t go looking for complaints or continue complaining when a matter is resolved. But the people reflected in this programme were not just asserting their legal rights or righting wrongs. A better title for the programme would have been “Extreme Complainers”. Then that would have truly reflected the programme. As it was, it was disappointing as we didn’t see how best to complain or how complaints were dealt with. Should you want to know how to make complaints effectively then I talk about tips:

and 2o Top Tips

So all in all, I was of course a bit gutted that I wasn’t filmed more and shown as it would have been great PR for the blog. If I didn’t write this blog I wouldn’t have wanted to appear so perhaps that’s another difference between your average complainer and an extreme one. I was filmed for Ripped Off Britain last week, so looks like I’m more of a BBC gal! Tell you what these director chappies are really very nice although you should shave off the beard Iain, it doesn’t suit we need to see more of your face 🙂 I also think that directors are like police officers, all getting younger and making you feel old!

But the real shame is that such an opportunity to inform people was missed in an effort to “entertain”. But if they were wanting people to talk about it like Benefits Street the commissioners or whomever made the decisions to change the focus from genuine complaints and looking at how complaints are dealt with to showing extreme complainers were misguided. Reviews have been poor, characters were limited and people don’t care enough. Benefits come from our taxes, we generally care how our taxes are used and it is an issue which gets people worked up. You are either a complainer or you aren’t. One isn’t going to get worked up about how someone fills their time when it does not affect them personally. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is a need/opportunity for a programme on how people complain without being an extreme complainer and without having to resort to media programmes like Watchdog to take up cases. Sadly, The Complainers did not fill that gap.

What did you think of The Complainers?

If you want to be an effective complainer and always get redress, then buy the book!

The Consumer Rights Directive 2013 Improve Customer Rights

What’s all this mean then? Something that consumers can approve of that the EU has achieved? These new regulations come into force on the 13th June 2014 and replace the distance selling regulations 2000 and ‘doorstep’ selling regulations 2008.The aim was to ensure that consumers would be confident in buying anywhere in Europe.

Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012;
Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013; and
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (Amendment) Regulations.

The implementation has a significant effect in modernising consumer law, much of which was written 20 -30 years ago, particularly in relation to digital content that of course was not previously covered.  The new laws have introduced a new distinct category to deal specifically with digital content, which will sit along-side existing categories dealing with the provision of goods and services. Part of the Consumer Rights Directive has already been implemented by way of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, which came into force in April 2013. The Regulations mean traders can no longer charge consumers fees that exceed “the cost borne by the trader” for the use of a particular means of payment whether cheque, direct debit, debit or credit card, or other.

What’s new?
The information which a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale This is the need to ensure the customer understands what goods and services are being provided and ensuring there are no hidden costs. If the paperwork does not comply with the new requirements the consumer may not have to pay. When retailers send you email confirmation of the purchase this must now include a full description of the goods and services purchased including their characteristics and the full price including tax and any additional charges or delivery prices.

How that information should be given The purpose of the ‘durable medium’ requirement is to ensure that, should a dispute arise at some point after the contract has been concluded, both parties have a record about what was agreed. The burden of proof that the relevant information has been provided rests with the trader.

The right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises Consumers now have 14 days to return items because they change their mind. In addition, refunds on cancelled contracts can be delayed until goods are returned. However, if the company has not provided the right information to the consumer then the length of the cooling off period could be extended. Although there are some exemptions, such as bespoke items, downloads have now been added and is no longer exempt. So, if like me you purchase the wrong download by mistake you can now get your money back! If you have downloaded then you won’t get your money back which seems fair enough really!

Unless stated otherwise you will pay for the return postage for any change of mind purchase.

Delivery times and passing of risk Unless agreed with the trader, goods should be delivered without undue delay and within 30 days. If a particular date or period for delivery has been agreed then delivery should be within that time.

A prohibition on any additional payments which appear as a default option Traders will need the active consent of the consumer for all payments – e.g. pre-ticked boxes for additional payments, will no longer be permitted. Consumers will not be liable for costs which they have not been told, pre-contract, that they must bear. Even I’ve been caught out by a certain large on line retailer which doesn’t like paying taxes with this. I got my money back when I challenged them with unfair practice but now I have more Laws to throw at them if they do it after June 13th!

A prohibition on consumers having to pay more than the basic rate for post-contract customer helplines Where traders offer telephone helplines for consumers to contact them about something they have bought, there should be a number available on which the consumer can call for this purpose at no more than the basic rate.

So all in all this is good news for the consumer. In particular, the much requested banning of high rate numbers for customer service and complaint lines, traders now have to supply basic rate numbers. It’s really good too to see downloadable digital content covered by these regulations too.

So, all good news for the consumer, more legislation to follow later in the year.

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