The last item on my shopping list was toothpaste.
I wandered down the aisle where it ought to be and saw several different brands and sizes but not the one I wanted.
I walked back up, looking more carefully and still couldn’t see the brand I’ve been buying for years.
I found several others, some I recognised and some I didn’t, but no Macleans .
A staff member was stocking shelves near by. I asked her if she could help me.
She said, sorry, the supermarket no longer stocked that brand. Foodstuffs had decided to replace Macleans with Oral B.
Bother, I thought. I could try the other brand but what if I don’t like the taste?
I had a vague memory someone once told me it tasted like liniment. Did I trust that vague memory or take a chance?
I might be pleasantly surprised by a new flavour. But then again I might not and I didn’t want several weeks feeling like I was cleaning my teeth with something better suited to a rugby changing room than the inside of my mouth.
The tube at home still has two or three weeks of teeth cleaning left in it. There is a Countdown in town and while it’s not as convenient to get to as the Four Square or New World supermarkets, I could make a detour for toothpaste before I ran out.
So I didn’t buy any toothpaste and next time I’m near another supermarket I’ll pop in to make the purchase.
I like the New World and Four Square stores I frequent. The staff are friendly and helpful, the stores are on my direct route in and out of town, and they usually have what I want.
So, Foodstuffs, you’re not going to lose a customer because of this change but you will lose some custom because if I’m in the other supermarket for toothpaste, odds are I’ll buy something else as well.
You’re also going to worry me – if you drop one of my usual purchases from your range, what’s to stop you dropping more for what appears to be your convenience rather than your customers’ choice?
Your stores are usually pretty good at customer service and in my experience your staff generally act on the principle that the customer is always right.
Why then have you changed to the wrong toothpaste?
Stock the other one as well if you want to, but please bring back the right one for me too.