Business Food from shops, hotels, restaurants & deliveries

How to get the cream (without being a clot!)

Complaining about a cream tea and poor management

No cream tea at lunchtime!

A few months ago my mother and I were in Dunelm and ordered and paid for 2 cream teas. It was a little after 1.30pm. Our money was taken and the assistant made the tea and then told us that there were no scones. We were told that there had been a rush on. I know, a rush at lunchtimes for cream tea, hilarious! It might have been  in the lovely West Country but Dunelm is hardly the cream tea mecca of the world!

Applying a refund with difficulty

The assistant then had to go and ask someone to do the refund. Eventually someone came and then took a ridiculous length of time to work out how to do the refund! In this time my mother had actually drunk her tea and my son eaten his biscuit! My tea had gone cold. Now, depriving me of my tea is not good. In fact it’s just a little bit short of very very very silly ‘cos it doesn’t go down well….

So guess what I did? No, no, actually I didn’t complain.

Complaining effectively about service

Oh of course I did, what do you take me for?! Just not there and then! Always dubious about complaining in eateries, you never know what someone may do! But as I always say in my tips anyway, complaining in writing is nearly always better.

Cream tea deprived
Cream tea deprived

I wrote to the manager and told him that although the assistant was polite, I did not see how there can have been a rush of cream teas over the start of the lunchtime period or how she could not have known that the last one had been served! It is also poor staff management for staff not to know how to issue refunds! (note management fault NOT the member of staff – unless they have been shown of course..)

While I was there complaining I also pointed out that in the ladies toilets neither cubicle had any toilet paper. Added the usual won’t use your services again and would be interested in feedback and waited.

Satisfactory response to complaint

Few days later I got a very nice letter back. The Manager was very apologetic. Someone hadn’t undertaken the ordering properly, training was being undertaken etc etc. Here’s a tenner to spend on the next visit.

So I sent the letter to my mother and she took her friend there one day. My mother being my mother and being a nice person, (I know, some of my genes are unique and not “very unique” as those XFactor fools will keep saying. You can’t be VERY unique, FOOLs,  (I digress)) tentatively gave over the letter and then got chatting with the Manager for who knows how long!

He apologised again explained that someone had been sacked (look, don’t have a go at me, I don’t think someone got sacked just because they didn’t order enough scones and cream!!!) I was a firm but fair manager and even I would need much more than that! That’s not to say that at other times I’ve probably been instrumental in disciplinary procedures… oh get off your high horse, think what would happen if people never got into trouble for not doing their job properly!

I told someone the other day that I didn’t do subtlety, don’t understand it, I take things at face value and don’t understand hidden agendas and politics with that small “t”. “Oooooh doesn’t that get you into trouble at work?” she said. Yup, yup it does! Anyway I digress… (again) and then found out all about the latest shop developments to happen in the area! So she was very happy!

Quick complaints

I love the complaints that only take five minutes and you get a good return. Also to be fair let me point out that the redress was good from Dunelm.  So it just goes to show you that you should always complain! Done properly you always gain something and so actually does the company and they are getting some praise here too! It’s not about gaining freebies. I didn’t anyway! I gave it to my Mum like a good dutiful daughter!

Yes I know if you were my mother you’d want more than £10 as compensation but hey ho, thems the breaks. My time was wasted and I wanted redress for that. In addition, they annoyed my mother and given what happens to people who annoy my mother I think they got off lightly don’t you?! It’s rare that you actually end up having to go to court!!

Top tips for complaining effectively

How to complain about food in restaurants, deliveries, take aways, and hotels! (and from stores!)

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For  lots more help advice, information, tips, laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo


101 Habits of an Effective Complainer provides you with more tips




The Complaining Cow logo download templates

Purchase downloadable templates to gain that redress simply and swiftly for various sectors



5 top tips for complaining effectively

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

The Complaining Cow Services

To see how The Complaining Cow can help you improve your customer service see Services.