Let them eat cake

This isn’t going to be much of a rant – more of an injunction to Waitrose to get their act together. It concerns bread. Fresh, brown, unsliced bread to be precise. For those who don’t know, Waitrose sells three types of large brown loaf: Heyford (£1.69), Organic Tin (£1.45), and Long Tin (£1.25) (the prices may differ by a few pence). We buy the cheapest when it’s available and the organic otherwise. We never buy the Heyford as it’s too expensive for what it is, and makes far too many crumbs!

Here’s the problem. These loaves are sold from the shelves in identical brown bags with a transparent panel. The bags are unlabelled and there’s no bar code on them so the checkout staff have to identify the loaf at the till. Their computer screen shows them pictures of loaves but sometimes not all the varieties appear, and even when they do it can’t be that easy to distinguish the different types from the thumbnail images. Here they are from the Waitrose website with my labels – spot the difference!

Out of the last seven times we’ve bought one of these loaves, six times the loaf has been checked through the till as Heyford, the most expensive and probably the first to show up on the till screen. The error seems to be consistently this way and in the shop’s favour. At over 40p more than the long tin, that would have been £2.40 we’d have been overcharged if we hadn’t been alert and asked for a correction. It’s not the checkout staff’s fault, although they could ask if they’re not sure, but I don’t think it’s really their job in a work environment where the barcode rules. Waitrose should get one of their suited management staff around the shop to sort out a simple way of identifying the bread. I suggest a sticky label with a barcode.

So caveat emptor. If you buy this bread (and maybe others, I don’t know) watch out to see you’re not overcharged.

3 thoughts on “Let them eat cake

  1. Dear Waitrose
    Thanks for you tweeted reply. I can phone but would prefer email conversation with someone in a position to respond meaningfully. The email address below will reach me and will be live for 24hrs: once we are in contact I will reply from a permanent address.


    Best regards
    Tony in Headington/TonyOX3

  2. I've had a nice reply from Waitrose:

    We are currently redesigning the bag in question to make it easier for checkout partners to correctly identify each loaf. This will include introducing an organic bag variant. Our intention remains to use a generic bag that doesn't have barcodes and ingredient/nutrition info on it. I'm confident that the new-look design, due early in the new year, will resolve the concerns raised by yourself.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance to you.


    C**** G********
    Waitrose Customer Sales and Support.

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