Friday, November 14, 2008

Upper Crust and the complete lack of environmental concern

I am going to have one of my occasional rants about companies from which I buy goods and services. No, I'm not going to put the boot in on National Express. Tonight, it's Upper Crust, the sandwich chain.

I arrived at Kings Cross to catch the 9pm train having had no meal this evening. Regular readers will know that for environmental reasons I do not eat meat or fish thrugh the week. I also try to cut down on cheese and diary products as cattle raising is quite a damaging environmental activity. Furthermore, the human body did not evolve to eat such large quantities of meat and fats that are typically consumed in over weight Britain.

Until a few months ago at KX there was a Boots branch which sold sandwiches at a reasonable price and always had vegan options. Alas, that store has closed. The alternatives are Marks and Spencer or Upper Crust. M and S have a better range and frankly are cheaper than Upper Crust. But tonight the M and S range amointed to empty shelves. So I was left with Upper Crust.

I knew it was a waste of time asking Upper Crust if they had a vegan option. I know they don't. If you want veggie, you have to have cheese. I confess I also went against one of my guidelines and bought a packet of crisps. Apparently the manufacture of crisps produces more carbon that they weigh. However, I very nearly didn't buy them. At 99p, I thought they were a bit of a rip off.

Anyway, there was my sandwich and crisps on the counter and suddenly a bottle of still water was put next to them. "I didn't ask for water," I said. "If you get the water, the whole of what you buy will be cheaper."

I repeated again that I did not want water. Bottled still water is one of my pet hates. Environmentally they are appalling. The waste involved in shipping water around the planet and then bottling and packaging it up when we have some of the world's best tap water (produced from local sources) literally on tap is an environmental scandal.

Bizarrely the staff began to insist that I take the water. I refused. The staff looked at me as if I had just attempted to shoplift the place. It felt like they were about to cal for security. Again, I insisted I did not want water, but I did ask if they could give me a cup of tea as an alternative. The staff looked at each other, muttered something between themselves and then turned down my request.

So Upper Crust, crap customer service combined with an appalling lack of awareness of the damage you are doing to the environment. In future, if I get to KX without having eaten, and you are the only people supplying food, I prefer to starve.

Sent via BlackBerry

1 comment:

Alan Muhammed said...

Lots of interesting economic points here too.

Giving away the bottle implies there isn't enough demand for bottled water in the first place. You refusing it, even when free, re-enforces that point.

Although, it could just be a manufacturer's deal, as is the case with newspapers at WH Smiths which allow you to get a free bottle of water.

Next, it's poor management - having so many, that the only way to get rid of them, is to give them away.