About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

The power of email & what constitutes good customer service

Yesterday I had the misfortune to be treated absolutely appallingly at a local Garden Centre. However in the fairness of giving them the chance to put it right I did not blog about it straight away. Instead I let them know & have received assurances that the incident I experienced was a one off and will be investigated and not be tolerated again.

I love our local Garden Centre. It used to be a Wyevale and is now part of The Garden Centre Group. It has a lovely cafe with a small soft play area that only costs £1.50 for the children to play in for an hour. It used to be free, but it was obvious a lot of parents were abusing this by taking their own food and drink for their children and even trying to hold their children's birthday parties there. Now they charge £1.50, but don't kick you out after an hour, they donate the money to charity and hold official birthday parties. 

The food is lovely, fresh and great quality and I love all the deals and vouchers I get through their loyalty scheme. 

One of the other reasons I love them is the fact that every year they hold a Macmillan Big Coffee Morning. Macmillann are a charity that are really close to my heart and the fact that a large national company runs events like this is really important to me.

The final reason we (Isaac, Imogen, Hope & I) love going here is Maidenhead Aquatics. The children love being able to feed the big fish in the tank and look at all the little tropical and freshwater fish. For me this allows them the chance to see what they eat in their fish and chips first hand, and is a lot cheaper than The Sealife Centre in Brighton!!!

But the customer is always key.

If you work in retail, there are several things that are definite no no's. My husband works in retail, I have worked in retail and customer facing environments. Even people who have never worked in a customer facing role are probably aware of them. These rules were broken yesterday by a member of staff at Crawley Garden Centre.

Here are the rules:


  • No personal mobile phones on the shop floor. Even more importantly if you have your personal mobile phone on you, it should be on silent and should not be answered if you are serving a customer.
  • If you are in the middle of serving a customer and the above mobile phone rings, you finish serving the customer.
  • If said mobile phone rings, you should apologise to the customer, not answer the phone, then leave the till point and shout for another member of staff.
Yes, this happened to me. The member of staff answered their personal mobile phone having rung two of my items through, left the till point while shouting for another member of staff and did not apologise or complete my transaction.

I asked to speak to a manager about this treatment and the person who spoke to me was more concerned about making allowances for his member of staff rather than reassuring me that this would not happen again. He actually walked away from me, rather than addressing the issue.

Because I go here so frequently I knew that this was not the manager I was speaking to and resolved to email the Centre directly to express my disappointment and chronicle what had happened. 

Within a hour of submitting the feedback form I received a phone call from James, the manager, apologising for not being available when I was at the Garden Centre and asking me for my version of events. 

I gave him the facts about what had happened. Explained that I understood people had personal problems, but they were not my problem, as I customer I expect to be treated as first priority and not treated like an interference in their day.

He was very apologetic and understood my issues. I explained that having worked in retail, I understand that sometimes there are good days and bad days, but bad days are not my fault. 

He took everything on board and provided me with reassurance that these issues would be looked into and investigated and will come back to me with some outcomes. Obviously he cannot tell me everything that happens. But I am reassured that he is treating me, the customer as a priority, which if you work in retail is the key concern. 

As well as this I am relieved that I can still visit one of my favourite places with my children and don't have to boycott it because of poor customer service. 

James, you have restored my faith in the power of the customer.