Things
that go bump in the day 47

[g1]

(27/8
– 4/9) Tesco Wars

After
doing a bit of shopping, or should I say trying to do a bit of
shopping, on Saturday morning, I went on a short walk in the
afternoon with the group I have been rather avoiding lately. It was
not really a deliberate avoid, it is just that after letting them
down at the last moment by not being able to face the away day trip
to Margate on the train, life just threw other things at me for the
next couple of Saturdays, so I did not try all that hard to go. But
first, shopping…….

I
planned on spending most of the day, Sunday, preparing; cooking;
cooling and freezing a selection of meals for the month. I love doing
this every so often as it makes me feel capable of looking after
myself, and generally fills a whole day with productive, purposeful
and demanding things to do and achieve, which is a great tonic. It
also fills the freezer with quick but healthy?????? things to eat.
With all of this in mind, I spent a good part of Saturday morning
massacring my cupboards to discover what I needed to get for making
chilli; curry; stir fry; bolognese, and anything else that happened
along the way. Usually a tremendous mess! As it happened, I really
only needed to get the fresh stuff, like the veggies, fruit and
chocolate, as everything else was unearthed somewhere else. So off I
trot to my very local Aldi store. This store was warned, some time
ago, about my dementia and, therefore, possible erratic actions like
dumping my shopping basket and walking/running out if I get stressed
by the crowds. Or the possibility that I may, at some time, leave
with something without paying. I am saying this just to make it clear
that they are, or pretend to be, dementia friendly!!!!! For a
Saturday morning, the store was reasonably clear, or at least my
mind-state allowed me to think that way. I quickly got just the three
things I needed, sorted out the exact money for them, and hurriedly
went to a checkout that was halfway through dealing with the only
person in the queue ahead of me. I put my things, and the money, on
the belt and waited whilst the previous customer completed. When
done, the cashier turned to me and informed me that his till was
closing. Fine! Do I care what happens after me? No! But he meant now,
before me, during me. No, that’s not on! And telling me that
another till, already with three people at it, was opening, did
nothing for me. I asked where is the sign? Where is the barrier?
Where are the clues for me to know that this till is closed? He had
no answer. I pushed my shopping, along the belt, past the till, and
into the collection area, very noisily! I picked up my money and
pocketed it, shouting words to the effect of ‘thank you kindly!’,
and left, pointing at the security guard as I went. I think he
recognised and remembered me from before, as he smiled, nodded and
let me walk by. Very dementia friendly thank you, Aldi stores! I
later, after calming a little, went back in with a written complaint
to the manager. Doubt if anything will come of it, as she did not
seem to understand why it was a problem.

There,
in a nutshell, is the problem. They did not see a problem, and it is
nothing to do

with
dementia.The afternoon walk/stroll in the heat was lovely. Good
company that was easily persuaded, by me going in a cafe for a cuppa,
that it was tea break time now, rather than pressing on to the
holiday-inn for coffee. After the walk, a quick wrestle with a bike
rack and all is set for the bank holiday Monday venture, possibly my
last ever bike ride. Another thing to come from Saturday is worth a
mention, ready for a future blog event. My phone is having trouble
with the earphone connection. When I move, the lead moves and cuts
the sound, which is not much use to someone who spends his whole life
walking about. It is inconvenient when listening to music, but a real
problem when talking on the phone and getting cut off. A visit to
Tesco may be required to get it sorted or replaced and, remembering
my last war-time exploits in Tesco, it could be a case of light blue
touch paper then run like hell!!! We will see!

Sunday
morning was a, thankfully, very uneventful shopping trip back to
Aldi, as I now needed to get the things I had walked away from
yesterday. As per usual, the only person that had been affected, was
me.

The
afternoon cooking session went rather well, except that I was ….
well, I was clumsy! Clumsy! Me? No, that cannot be right! Many moons
ago; 14 years, when my younger daughter was 9, she tried explaining
to me that her mum had told her she was just clumsy, like mum, so
just forget it. Being such a nice, kind, loving chap, I told her that
there was no such thing as ‘clumsy’, and it was just an excuse
for people being careless. Pay attention and you will not be clumsy;
there is no excuse for it. Nice bloke me!!! Back to the present! I
dropped three things, breaking two. Burnt myself twice, but also
managed to kick the wall on the way to the kitchen, twice. The
following day my toe was very black, blue and swollen, but at least
the freezer was full. In the evening I managed to check that the bike
was ready to go. Said bike, having now sat waiting for three months
since my rib accident, which happened only one week after it got a
£150 service and parts, was itching to go.

Bewl
Water, in Kent, is twelve miles of track-riding and five miles of
pushing the bike up hills, as the three-month lay-off had got to me.
There was also a bit of walking thrown in at the end, with a chance
to just sit and study the scenery. It all made for a great day.
Spectacular scenery, friendly people; confused cyclists not knowing
which side the idiot pedestrians wanted; frustrated pedestrians not
knowing which side the idiot cyclists wanted; manic cyclists going at
breakneck speeds, but unfortunately not breaking their necks; bumpy
ground; shade; trout fishing; silence. Paths shown to pubs on a map,
but invisible on the land; and an expensive pub equipped with its own
rent-a-crowd, that only appeared as I approached the bar. I was a bit
taken aback when two pints and a packet of crisps got me no change
from £10. So they think they are a posh place, even though they had
a sign up to the ‘bogs’. It was a fabulous but emotional day,
because it could have been my last trip out on the bike. So now, the
long bank holiday weekend was over and Tesco was looming menacingly
on the horizon…………

I
will just quickly say that Tuesday’s walk and Thursday’s walk were
as expected; really good and uneventful. In between was COGS club,
and with Sarah back from holiday it was business as usual. One of my
friends from previous therapy groups has joined us, which should
prove to be fun as we made quite a double act whilst on the other
groups; but we will see. I felt very remote on the way to Cog’s, but
got better, thankfully, as the day went on. So having got the other
stuff out of the way, let us do Tesco. Someone needs to!

I
had decided to go on the Tuesday afternoon, specifically to catch the
poor unsuspecting guy, Adam, who had worked so well with, and for me,
during the month-long build up to getting the phone. I think I gave
him such an ordeal, that he will remember me, with terror, forever.
So off I go, with Dave, to explain the current problems to poor Adam.

Adam
isn’t there at that moment, but the sales assistant, who is, says
that Adam would be returning in about twenty minutes. So whilst we
wait, I chat to the assistant concerning the problems I am having
with my phone, and Dave goes off shelf-browsing. Eventually, Adam
returns. He tries to be kind and helpful, and also confirms that the
phone probably did have a fault at the time of purchase, which we had
discussed before I left the shop. They had told me, at the time, that
my earphones did not work properly due to being incorrectly fitting
ones. At the time, I accepted this explanation and followed up by
purchasing another set elsewhere. Since then I have purchased yet
another set, but they all have the same problem. I tested the current
set with someone else’s phone and they work fine. So it is an
original fault and I want a working phone, thanks! They, the sales
staff, come up with some excuse about me not having the offending
earphones with me, so I would have to come back tomorrow. Because so
much time has passed since then, and a lot has happened, I do not
really remember too much detail of that Tesco trip, but hopefully
Dave (hello Dave) can fit a bit more of the stuff in here. I cannot
even recall how I felt as we left. Angry? Let down? resolved? Who
knows?

[NB.
Comment from Dave: Wayne did not appear to be angry when we left,
just quietly resigned; although it’s impossible to know what Wayne
is experiencing, thought-wise, in

any
given situation. Suffice it to say, that we both had a refreshing
cuppa in Tesco’s cafe

afterwards.]
[End of comment]

The
next afternoon it was back again after the cogs group, and this time
with another body guard. Friend from group, Allen, had offered to
give me a lift there, but then decided to come in with me. Again I
saw Adam and he tested my earphones. He confirmed they are not the
issue. It is definitely the phone. Their stance was, that if it is
the phone (yes) and it was faulty at point of sale (yes), then they
would send it back for repair, as they do not stock that model
anymore. This was not acceptable, as it would leave me without my
smartphone, which has become my lifeline and the reason I am able to
go out unescorted most of the time. The phone gives me maps; buses;
times; reminders; directions; contact; recording facilities; writing
facilities; to do lists; calming music, and advice. I NEED IT! The
phone could be gone for 19 days, so they would rent me a non-smart
phone during that time. **********!!!! (fill in whatever you feel
fits the bill at this point) I ‘politely’ explained that this was
not an option. I need a smart phone, my phone, with all my stuff on
it; not some ‘out-of-the-ark’ affair that just about makes phone
calls. After a bit of debating at a, far from quiet, volume, the
phone-shop manager decided that the best they could come up with was
to offer me a trade-in on my faulty phone and I pay an extra £25,
for the next model up, providing I had the original packaging. I
searched my pockets but came up empty. No box! Sorry! With the phone
now three months old, I am pretty certain that I no longer have the
original box etc. Allan offered to take me home so that we could
check, and then come back. I am usually pretty tired after the day at
Cogs, as I put a lot into the day and today was no different. Added
to that was the stress of the last hour, doing verbal and
psychological battle with staff and management. I explained that no
way was I able to continue today, so Allen offered to bring my phone
back to Tesco, WITHOUT ME!!!!!!! not a chance. I do not think he
quite grasped my position. We left the store with the plan that I
would commence battle again tomorrow, after the Thursday walk. But I
continued the battle online during that Wednesday evening.

I
checked the legal position, and found that you do not need the
packaging if the purchase is in store, as the packaging is a gift
and, therefore, not part of the transaction. If you purchase online
and pay postage and packaging, then it is all part of that
transaction. So I only need return the phone and get a replacement.
But, unfortunately, they do not stock it anymore. Further exploration
led me to find that Tesco Direct have my phone in stock and could
send one to my local store. The store pays for it and then returns my
faulty one to Tesco Direct for a refund, while I walk away with my
new phone having easily transferred everything. I got the guy on the
online chat support to verify all of this and type it into my account
notes, verified by an online manager, so that the local store manager
could check it all tomorrow. Simples…… Job done! Go back tomorrow
with a new battle plan. Yeah right, as if !!!!!!

So
on to a new day and a new horizon. This time, after the walk, Bob
came with me. Three different days, three different backup teams, but
still the same problem and zero resolutions. Today would be
different, wouldn’t it?

Having
been with me on more than just the odd occasion, that has been
blogged about,

Bob
is no stranger to the weird and wonderful world that follows Wayne
around, AND, today was not going to be an exception. Things started
OK; degenerated rapidly into an angry standoff; slowly climbed to
compromise; then leapt to the whole world revolving around Wayne to
get THE solution. Very nice thanks! Bob was quite gobsmacked as the,
nearly, two hours unfolded. Adam, excellent Sales Assistant (No.1),
asked if I’d had any

luck
with the packaging. I explained that I did not need it. Manager
(No.1) steps in and tries to quote the Tesco policy at us. I bounce
back quoting the government customer rights policy of October 2015.
This goes on for a couple of rounds, with the manager stating that,
sorry, it is Tesco policy. Bob calls me over and points out a line in
Tesco’s own policy that ‘this does not invalidate any customer
rights’. So my view is that October 2015 overrides Tesco! Further
arguments ensue, but grind to a halt when they realise I have won.
But, although I have the right to a replacement, they do not have
any. My other choice is a full refund, thus leaving me without a
phone. Buying the next upgraded version is an option, but that is
soon kicked into touch as that means having to reinstall all apps
and, thus, losing MY data; notes; favourites; maps; key journeys;
emergency settings etc. etc. etc. Not a very good option. I then go
on the attack with last night’s information about Tesco Direct having
a replacement for my phone and that they can ship it etc. This
particular Tesco store do not do that system??????? I do not care,
just sort it!!! Back to head – wall – hit! So here we are, in a
Tesco store, but they do not run the system that operates throughout
Tesco. Great!! Manager (No.2) now needs to be involved, as we are
talking about an amendment to this store’s merchandising policies.
Do I care??? Enter stage right, Tesco Merchandising Manager, Rachael.

After
another few rounds of sparring, it is decided that the way around
this is to contact other Tesco stores (not Tesco Direct), and find my
phone. Have it transferred to this store’s database of stock; get it
collected by yet another member of staff; bring it to here. I get new
phone, they get old phone; transfer back to other store’s stock,
and they send it back as faulty to get a refund. Easy! The next
thirty minutes, or so, had two managers and two sales assistants
phoning around all possible Tesco stores to locate the phone and
organise for it to be collected, by hand, tomorrow, so that I can
exchange it tomorrow afternoon. Result!! We finally found one,
reserved it, and arranged for a sales assistant to go collect. Happy,
Bob and I left filled with hope that tomorrow it will be over, but I
suspect Bob’s headache may well linger awhile longer. The cost in
man-hours, for both sales and management, so far, must be so high
they could have just GIVEN me the upgrade phone and got away with it
cheaper!

Friday,
and at last it is time for a result. Fate however, did not quite
agree!

Just
as a hint of what was to come, Friday afternoon it was raining as I
entered Tesco. Adam was pleased to see me, and I joked with him that
he must be the ultimate professional, as I almost believed him. He
confirmed that the new phone was there and ready to roll. We took it
out of the box, opened it up, transferred my SIM to it and then hit
the first problem. To have the type of apps and all the data I needed
on my existing phone, I had to combine the SIM card and data card so
that the phone thought it was just one big card. In doing so, some
(most) of the apps had moved needed files onto the extended card. The
new phone, upon getting this new data card in it, wanted to format
the card before it could use it!!!!!!! The next hour involved using
yet another sales assistant’s phone with high speed internet
connection (expensive) to transfer as much of my data and settings as
we could onto yet another bigger, faster, more expensive phone. We
then put the data card into the new phone, formatted it, transferred
all the copied data and settings back across the internet
and……….. nothing!!!! the new phone did not accept the apps,
data, or settings on the new card, they would have to be re-installed
from scratch???

Another
three hours later we were finally done with all the apps and
settings, but most of my personal data; pictures, videos and music,
all of which I had copied onto my laptop at home, would have to be
done again.

At
long last happy, but with no music to listen to, I plugged my
earphone into my new phone and turned on the radio, which
immediately complained that there was no signal because no antennae
was connected, i.e. it did not recognise the earphones; same as with
my original phone!!!!!! We carried out several checks and tests, only
to find that the Motorola phone obviously has a design fault and ALL
the troubles and efforts of this week had not, and could not, resolve
the issue.

Defeated
and angry that almost a whole week had been wasted, and now I had the
same problem but with no music either, I gave up and went home. But I
must, here, say how wonderful the team at Tesco turned out to be. In
the end they really did appreciate how much I have come to rely on my
phone, and therefore the repair option was quickly dropped. And they
worked very hard on my behalf to find a solution acceptable to us
all. Thanks guys, I will be back soon to sort out my bundles
packages. What was that noise? Oh! It was Tesco staff beating a hasty
retreat out of the back door lol!

That
night, I researched a bit on the internet and found a possible
solution using soft connect jack plugs????? I subsequently learned
that they have, what is termed, ‘low contact resistance’.
Saturday morning I went into my very local phone shop, asked the guy
if he had soft connect earphones. He said try these cheap ones (£12),
and they worked immediately (they are still working no, matter what I
do to them, some two weeks later). If only I had done that to start
with! Never mind, Tesco think they still owe me a favour, ha ha! I am
tempted to go back and tell Adam of the simple solution, but do not
want to make him cry!

After
all the trauma of the last week, I was not surprised to find that I
do not remember Saturday or Sunday in any way, until Sunday evening,
when last week’s traumas suddenly seemed like fun and child’s play,
in retrospect. More on that coming very soooooonnn!

Laterz
peeps

Wayne

XXX