Category Archives: Coles

C for Incompetence

The mature thing to do would be to accept what had happened and to try to forget about it. However, because I’m too pissed off over the situation, I’m going to name names.

This morning I went to Coles to return a bottle of Coles mayonaise which I had purchased in January of this year. My father had warned me from buying Coles branded products because a block of Coles cheese that I’d bought several weeks back tasted disgusting so I only ate a sliver of it. I brushed him aside though, saying that cheese can be a very unreliable product. Ignoring his concerns, I promptly picked up a can of homebrand tuna and a bottle of Coles mayonaise.

The two products were paired together to create a mashed tuna and mayonaise combination which tasted rather good on buttered bread. I insisted to Boyfriend that he try some for himself, and after saying that he’d ask his mother to prepare him a tuna and mayonaise sandwich for lunch sometime, he ended up having the batch that I’d prepared, the day after Valentine’s Day.

The morning after Valentine’s, we sat at my dining table quietly chewing on our tuna and mayonaise on bread breakfasts. During our meal, Boyfriend told me to check the bottle of mayonaise sitting on the table for any discrepancies.

Glancing over the bottle, I shrugged, not finding anything out of the ordinary. But then, on closer inspection, I discovered that the expiration date on the Coles bottle read ‘Best Before 27/9/06’.

Mortified that I’d made Boyfriend eat out of date mayonaise, I apologized profusely. He just laughed it off and said that he was okay. In a more serious voice, however, he said that I should return the mayonaise to Coles, for it was almost certain that they would give me a refund. ‘They’ll be horrified that they sold an item that expired so long ago,’ he said. ‘I’m sure they’d rather refund a bottle of mayonaise than risk angering a customer.’

Come this morning, however, it appeared that I would not be getting my money back or getting a replacement for consuming their five months out of date product. The woman at the service desk peered at the mayonaise, told me that the bottle was almost empty (it was half empty – after all, I had been under the assumption that it was still in code), and said that because I didn’t have a receipt for the item, they would not refund me for it.

I mean, fair enough if Coles and other supermarkets have a particular refund policy which necessitates having a proof of purchase. But in some cases clear logic requires a different set of actions. Why on earth would I keep a bottle of mayonaise in my fridge for five months only to get a refund for it now? And, if the bottle is half-empty, that only further proves the danger that was posed to me in consuming a product that was so thoroughly expired.

Having said that she wouldn’t refund my purchase, she added that Coles have a very good system of stock rotation, something which I almost snorted at. Silently, I thought, ‘I have it on good authority that you most certainly do not rotate stock properly.’

The Coles mayonaise being one fine example of poor stock rotation, I was also treated to many tales by Insider of employees not bothering to rotate stock. If ever stock rotation was performed, it was in the perishables department. But because grocery items have a longer expiration period, nobody stocking grocery products conducts stock rotation.

I did not say any of this out loud, however. It’s tragic: you watch countless shows about empowered women who have smart mouths and quick wits, yet in the moments when you are required to defend yourself, all your viewings abandon you. All that you want to say in retort simply evaporates.

After the person at the service desk said flatly that she was sorry but nothing could be done, I replied, ‘Ok then’, and walked off. Fuming, but also on the brink of tears at having been dealt such an unfair hand, I threw the Coles mayonaise in a bin that I passed. The dumping was my sole visible gesture of defiance.

It was then that I vowed to boycott all Coles branded products and, also, never to shop at Coles again. If I can help it, at least. The next that I return, it will be to scour their shelves for expired products to dump at their service desk to demonstrate that their stock rotation performance is appalling and that their supermarket is a disgrace.

Stand by for a report on Coles’ persistent ineptitude.

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