Out of date


I was hoping to have some happy news this weekend, but the Public Sector Workers strike put paid to that. And when I say “put paid”, I mean “put paid, but not with an 8.6% increase and a R1000 housing allowance”. Just put paid a dismal and demeaning wage.
So more on that another time.

Instead, because I have many requests to elaborate on my shopping issues yesterday (as mentioned on twitter), I find myself bitching about the utterly despicable behaviour of local supermarket Constantia Pick n Pay which, as far as my recent experiences go, seems to consider it perfectly reasonable to sell goods which are past their sell by date.

Last week, I had to take some veg back to them because it was three weeks beyond its sell by date. Caveat emptor, you might say, but then why should the emptor have to caveat – shouldn’t the venditor be looking out for the emptor and taking the goods off the shelves once they’re past their best? Sure – I might have been a little more observant, but I was stressed, shopping amongst a million others (business is evidently good) in the narrow aisles of this flagship store.

That was annoying. My money. My petrol. My time.

And then yesterday. Wow. First of all, while looking for yoghurt, I noticed that one of the 6-packs on the shelf was 6 days beyond its sell by date. Not good. Fortunately, there was a PnP employee stacking the shelves right next to me, so I pointed this out to him and he removed the offending item. Easy.

But then, as I walked off down the chilled goods aisle, I forgot to get margarine. Can you imagine life without margarine? Dry toast. Dry…bread generally. And so on.

And when I realised and went back a few minutes later – guess what was back on the yoghurts shelf? That offending 6-pack again, sell by date still 30 Aug 10.
I was aghast. That’s disgraceful. Inexcusable. It was no mistake: he knew they were out of date. I tried to take a picture with my phone, but a security guy stopped me. Very pleasantly, I might add. Just doing his job.
Nice to see someone was, I thought.

The manager was “unavailable” when I asked. The staff seemed unconcerned about what had happened. I was unimpressed. Everywhere I looked, there were words beginning with “un”. That’s never a sign of a good situation.
I made a mental note to call the boss on Monday. And then I paid for the stuff I’d bought and went home. And yes, I tweeted about what had occurred, but I chose not to mention the store in question, despite a plethora of requests to “name and shame”.

And then I slid the cardboard sleeve off the ostrich fillet I had bought (this week, I’m trying ostrich biltong) and found that it too was past its best before date. I could not believe it. (I may have mentioned that.) I named and shamed.

So – back to Constantia Pick n Pay (My money. My petrol. My time), where I met Bertie, who told me that the manager was unavailable. So no change there then.

I explained to Bertie about last week’s veg, the yoghurt issue and my new-found ostrich fillet problem. Bertie half looked up from typing on his computer, apologised and said he “would look into it” with the same conviction which Zwelinzima Vavi might look into taking a 0.3% pay offer back to the Unions. But hey, at least I got to go and get some fresh ostrich fillet, although I had to pick it out from amongst those that were past that “BBD” again – those were still on the shelf when I left. Nice.

But I am determined to speak to Bertie on Monday and find out what he has discovered.
Because surely he wouldn’t have just said that to fob me off. Would he?

Pre-empting your questions:

1. I will go to another supermarket once they have finished building at Blue Route. Until then, it’s impossible to park.
2. I can’t afford the money, petrol or time to go to Table Bay Butchery. But thanks for the heads up.
3. I am aware that @picknpay are on twitter. But why would I want to go through a middleman when I have the name and number of the manager? What is the middleman going to do? Give me the name and number of the manager? Get him to call me? I can just about afford a local call, thank you.
Besides which, I have also had dealings with (and not necessarily complaints) MTN and Avis, whose social media presence is handled by the same agency and have received no assistance whatsoever by going that route.
Is it really worth these companies shelling out for this service? Not in my opinion – all you get are happy sycophants who get the occasional chance to win prizes. When it comes to the negative side of things, things seem somewhat less helpful.
There’s a whole other post in there – have you ever been helped via social media? And by “helped”, I mean got somewhere you couldn’t have done on your own? Let me know – I’d be interested.
My feeling is that (assuming you get any response) you simply get put through to the same people that couldn’t be bothered to help you in the first place.
4. The ostrich biltong should be ready tomorrow – I’ll let you know how good it is.

As for Constantia Pick n Pay – what can I say? I’m appalled.
I hope to speak to the manager tomorrow – maybe I’ll find out why I wasn’t able to on Saturday. And I’ll let you know what he says, because if he’s not bothered about what’s going on, then why should any other Pick n Pay manager be? Perhaps you might want to review your other options (such as they are) out there.

Sorry to rant.
6000 – protecting the rights (and the health) of the South African consumer – out.

8 thoughts on “Out of date

  1. Yikes. That sounds like a terrible situation. I must admit that I bitch about our PnP here; but I can only think of one instance were something was past the BBD (pork ribs as it happens). I took it back. Showed the manager (there are always at least 2 around-I can’t imagine why your manager was ‘unavailable’) and he not only allowed me to take another package, and checked the BBD personally, he refunded me.

    I personally would write to the head office if you have no luck with the manager. That type of ‘service’ is disgraceful.

    Hope the biltong is as good as you think it’s going to be!

  2. If you ever do get to speak to Bertie, let him know that the Claremont Pick n Pay is also terrible – half full yoghurt containers and past-sell-by chicken being my latest experiences. Both occasions the staff didn’t seem to give a hoot.

    Part of the reason I only shop at Rosmead Spar these days.

  3. And I thought that Pick ‘n Pay Sea Point was bad – Constantia seems (marginally) worse. I have found Spar and Checkers (anywhere) are vastly better. Although if you call the 0800 number printed on your P’nP till slip you do get instant apologies and refunds etc but it shouldn’t be necessary. Being fobbed off with past BBD products, un’ whatevers and general disinterest (my dogs’ food had maggots!!! and they shrugged and said they didn’t know why and that was that)

  4. Hi

    My name is Manie. I am the General Manager for PnP Western Cape. I would really like to get in touch with you.

    Please email me : [email address removed by 6000]

    Many Thanks.

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