Jamie Andrews

Plastic bags: Jamie versus Tesco

I’ve lost the very original email, but this is the bulk of our correspondence from last year:

—– Original Message —–
From: “Jamie Andrews”
Date: 19 September 2010
Subject: Customer service feedback


I am writing to you because my previous contact to Tesco customer
support left my enquiry basically unanswered.

I wrote a considered email about the fact that every time I visit a
Tesco store I am offered a plastic bag, rather than being asked whether
or not I want one (making me depressed about how much plastic is
wasted/sent to landfill).

My feedback was about Tecso’s policy in general as clearly staff are
trained from a central policy and not on a store-by-store basis. However
the answerphone message I received in response phrased it as if I was
talking about one specific store, which clearly wasn’t the case. The
response I received before was a perfunctory response which left me with
absolutely no confidence whatsoever the issue was being looked into by
anyone, or that my feedback had made it beyond the email system. I was
simply told that my feedback “would be passed onto the store” in a very
general sense.

I would like to see the policy changed so that plastic bags are only
given away to those who really need them (I suspect that simply asking
whether someone wants a bag, especially in Metro/smaller stores where
people are often buying only one or two small items would slash the
number given away and ending up in the bin). Failing that, I would like
the rationale for this policy not already being in place explained to me.

Thanks in advance.

Jamie Andrews

On 21/09/2010 10:23, Tesco Customer Service wrote:

Dear Mr Andrews,

I’m sorry to hear that the last response didn’t answer your query, I understand how frustrating this must have been.

Our policy with regards to carrier bags states that they should be under the counter and not on display and our customers should be asked if they need them before they are given needlessly given out.

If your local store has carrier bags on display, please let us know and we will follow up with the store manager to ensure our policy is implemented properly.

I hope this helps and look forward to hearing from you shortly.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me at customer.service@tesco.co.uk quoting TES8234633X.

Kind Regards

Daniel Lewis
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Customer Service

From: Jamie Andrews
Date: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: Customer service feedback TES8234633X
To: Tesco Customer Service

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for getting back to me.

I’m glad to hear that your policy is in theory to ask customers first, but you’ll be disappointed to learn that I have only been asked if I want a bag around 5% of the time. The rest of the time the person just gets it out for me and starts putting the stuff in a bag for me before I’ve done anything.

That leaves me in the socially-awkward position of having to actively refuse the bag. Because I am pretty committed to the environment, and am a confident individual I do always say something, but I imagine there are a lot of people who don’t really need a bag but wouldn’t be confident/bothered enough to actively refuse it. So Tesco is wasting loads of money handing out bags that are not needed.

Note that this is not something that only happens in one store. I go to a lot of different Tesco stores around London (mainly Metro/local ones) and I am hardly ever asked if I need a bag. So if this a truly a policy then there is a categorical failure across a vast number of store managers, and not just one in particular. Please can you clarify how you will be addressing the issue in terms of central policy enforcement, not in one or two stores (as this would only address a fraction of the failure).

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.


From: Tesco Customer Service
Date: Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 9:15 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Customer service feedback TES8234633X
To: Jamie Andrews

Dear Mr Andrews

I’m sorry to hear that you have visited stores in London where our policy on offering carrier bags was not being followed.

We are committed to reducing the number of carrier bags we give out, and have implemented several measures to achieve this, including offering a range of reusable bags in all stores, rewarding customers with green Clubcard points when they reuse their bags, and offering delivery without carrier bags through tesco.com. A Tesco customer now uses more than 50% fewer bags than in August 2006.

All our staff who operate checkouts are trained to follow this policy when they join us, as are Team Leaders and Store Managers. We also re-train all our staff on this periodically: the last training sessions were in October 2009, and we plan further sessions this October.

I’m sure you’ll appreciate that mistakes will occasionally happen, but I am concerned to hear that you have seen carrier bags on display in more than one store. Please let me know the stores where you have seen this, and I will arrange for our store operations team to contact the store manager to ensure our policy is implemented properly.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me at customer.service@tesco.co.uk quoting TES8242224X.

Kind Regards

Daniel Lewis
Customer Service Manager
Tesco Customer Service


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