Life is pretty good living out of home (Sorry Mum and Dad). I have more freedom, my parents appreciate me loading the dishwasher for them a lot more now I don’t live with them, and there are never any questions or jokes when I stumble on home in the wee hours of the morning. However, everything is not perfect in my big grown up world. There are the usual troubles, money, washing, constantly wondering how much more furniture we can fit in the apartment before it bursts. The usual. But by my biggest qualm with living out of home so far has to be groceries
Now, my boyfriend and I have a tendency to put buying groceries off for as long as possible, and I’m talking ‘there’s one yogurt left in the fridge and we’ve eaten take out for the last four nights’ kind of putting off. This aversion to groceries began due to our local Coles being constantly packed with people, and neither of us having the will-power to push through waves of agitated shoppers to buy a few apples. So, about four months ago I came up with a genius solution, why don’t we use Coles online? It’s something my mother used to do when I was younger, and I’ve always had fond memories of food arriving at the front door, almost of its own accord. So, I did it. The first two or three times went pretty well, with only one or two little hiccups. Then came the delivery from hell.
Ordered on Monday night, my $180 worth of delicious groceries was set to arrive from 7-9pm on Thursday. I finished the order, plugged in my credit card details and BAM!, it was done, magic food on its way to my door! So the week progressed as usual, until Wednesday, when I received an email from Coles informing me that they had been unable to process my payment. This struck me as a little odd, I had put the exact amount required to pay for the groceries on my card immediately after ordering and hadn’t used the card since because I’m poor and sad, so I knew the full amount would still be there. Regardless, I figured it wasn’t an issue, as I was informed in the email that I could pay via EFTPOS when my groceries were delivered the next day. Thursday came around and the first real problem arose. I was sent an email telling me the delivery would arrive sometime between 7:50 and 8:50. The boyfriend and I decided that was too long to wait for dinner and went out to get something to eat. Seven ‘o’clock hit and we were on our way home. We were sitting in traffic ten minutes away from the apartment when a disgruntled customer service worker called me and informed me that my groceries and their accompanying delivery man were at my apartment and were not willing to wait for us to get back. The driver and the groceries went on to their next job, and I was informed that I would have to have my food re-delivered the next day. It was a bit of a bummer, but it was a mistake that could easily be fixed. All good, I thought, nothing more can go wrong. Oh, how foolish I was.
At 5pm on Friday there was a knock at the door. The very friendly delivery man helped me unload the groceries, and then it was time to pay. I flicked through the invoice he’d handed me as he prepared his portable EFTPOS machine. It was then that I realised that the price of my order had gone up from $180, to $215. On seeing this, I alerted the delivery man to the fact that there must have been some mix up, showing him my email receipt that stated I was only meant to pay $180. The delivery man was instantly apologetic and called customer service to fix the problem. The woman I spoke to was unhelpful to say the least, and after talking to her for 15 minutes, I was getting frighteningly close to slamming my head into a wall. It was eventually decided by the Coles online lady and the mysterious ‘superior’ that she continuously referred to by refused to let me speak to, that they would ‘generously’ reimburse me $10 of the $35 that they were in the process of stealing from me. After another ten minutes of arguing it because clear that this woman was not going to budge, and that my poor friendly delivery driver was becoming increasingly bored with standing at my front door. So that was that.
I called customer service back later, deep down knowing that I would never get my money back, and that’s when the big thing happened. The woman on the other end of the phone laughed and said ‘$25 really isn’t that much; I think you’re being a little silly’. And that’s when I lost it. Coles is a ridiculously large company that hold a certain monopoly over the Australian grocery industry, but I am a 20 year old University student living out of home. Yes, $25 is actually a lot of money for me. $25 could buy me lunch for a week. $25 could buy me enough alcohol to forget this entire grocery debacle. $25 may not be much to Coles, but it certainly is to me.
Despite the rude customer service woman who made it clear that to her, $25 was not enough for me to make a big deal, it’s obvious that to the Coles corporation, $25 is enough money to warrant upsetting, and furthermore, losing a customer.
ADDENDUM: After I wrote this blog, I didn’t expect to hear anything from Coles. I posted it to my Facebook page and received many comments from friends, but still heard nothing from Coles. Yesterday. the 29th of September, I posted the blog to my Twitter page, using the hash tag ‘Coles’. Almost immediately I received a tweet from the company asking for my customer number with a promise to look into the problem. This afternoon, I received a call from a very lovely Coles lady who’s name I didn’t catch. She told me that Coles will be sending me a $25 gift voucher valid only in Coles company stores, to compensate me for my troubles. I would like to thank Coles for this. However, I would like to note that I still will not be shopping at Coles again (despite when I use my $25 voucher!) as this event has made it painfully clear that customer service is only important when the company’s reputation is at stake.
ADDENDUM TWO: Despite being told by Coles that I would be reimbursed, my voucher never arrived.