An Interesting Conversation In M&S.

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Tilly2 | 14:19 Fri 31st Jul 2020 | Shopping
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On Wednesday, I bought, amongst other things, a £4.00 punnet of Strawberries. On getting them out of the fridge, yesterday, I noticed that the 'best before' date was 29/07/20. Some of the strawberries were beginning to 'turn' a bit but I did manage to serve up two very nice dishes.

Today, I took back the empty punnet and receipt and spoke to a customer service assistant, explaining that they had sold 'best before' produce on the actual day.

Him. 'Best before' means you can sell them on that date.
Me. No it doesn't. It means they should not have been sold.
Him. Sorry, darlin' you are wrong. The law says that 'best before 'is ok on the best before date.7
Me. I am not your darlin'. Why wasn't this a reduce product?
Him. Because we don't reduce them until much later in the day. All the shops do the same thing, Sainsbury's, Tesco...
Me. No, they don't. If you find a product that should have been taken of the shelf the day before, they will reduce it.

Anyway on and on we went in the same vein. I eventually left with another punnet of strawberries and phoned customer services when I got home. They agreed with me and have now sent me an e-voucher for £4.00.

The next time I go to that branch, I shall ask to speak to the manager and suggest that some of the staff need further training. I know that M&S customer service have opened a case on this, so the manager should be aware of what I'm talking about.

There you go. My Friday tale.


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To be honest Tilly, I’d have asked to speak to the manager in the store as soon as the customer service assistant started to be less than helpful.
Glad M&S sorted it for you in the end though.
Sorry darling? must be an x market trader. :0)
Best before can be sold on or even after the date. Following from Trading Standards:

'Foods marked with best-before or best-before-end dates may be sold after their marked dates, provided that they remain of good quality and are fit for human consumption. In these circumstances it is advisable to ensure that customers know that the date has expired before they make the decision to buy. The manufacturer is responsible for the quality of the product until the stated best-before / best-before-end date; if the retailer chooses to amend the date, or sell the product after the stated date, they must then take responsibility for the quality of the product.'
I have to ask, why did you buy the strawberries with that date on them?
So it appears you were wrong then.
That's not like M and S customer service. Last christmas I got a refund on a large and expensive joint of beef via online complaints on no more than my word and a photo of the manky plastic wrapping with most of the price tag showing.
Probably didn't check the date at the time. Being M&S probably assumed everything was kosher.
Our supermarket shopping takes longer than necessary due to the time rummaging around for the furthest best before dates.
But did you look at the "Best Before" date before you bought them? If you had you would have noticed they were past their best.

That said, I don't think the M&S staff member addressing you as "darlin" and lecturing you on the law was very professional. If she did want to quote the law at you she could have mentioned that fresh fruit is exempt from date labelling but an advisory "best before" date is recommended to avoid waste:
You cannot say the strawberries should not have been on sale and also argue they should have been reduced, can you?

Either they can be selt or no, it cannot be both.

Anyway, as has been explained, they did nothing wrong by selling them.
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Arrods, Mr T put them in the trolley and he wasn't wearing his reading glasses. The again you don't expect M&S to sell outdated produce.

Vagus, yes, you are right. I should have asked for the manager there and then.

ChinaJan. Thank you for that but they didn't make me aware of the date by putting a yellow sticker on it. Those strawberries really should have been reduced at the beginning of the day.
..... and looks like you ate most of them anyway.
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They shouldn't have been on sale at the full price.
The likes of M&S who mainly have town shops do seem to be finding it difficult at the moment knowing what, and how much to stock of many food items. my local one in town seem to have suffered a big downturn in the numbers of customers, I've noticed many items that normally sell well not even on the shelves any longer, especially expensive ranges, hence also a big increase in reduced items, that I know because I have always taken advantage of such, and now even get more at a much greatly reduced priced, of course it will always depend on the location store, so not all may suffer the present downturn.
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Whether we ate them or not is irrelevant, Arrods. They were past their best and should not have been sold at full price.
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Our was very busy this morning, Teacake.
I think the only error - as others have shown - was in the attitude of the employee, who presumably will be 'retrained', so you will have done a service.
Best practise in this instance would have been a reduction late the day before and most definitely from the start of trading on the day.
They're not obliged to put a yellow sticker on and/or reduce it. You said the food had a best before sticker on it.

You said to the assistant, according to you, that they shouldn't have been sold. The assistant was correct to say that according to the law they can be sold on the day.
You say they were past their best, but you still managed to "serve up two very nice dishes."

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