A Strongly Worded Letter of Complaint

This is a letter I wrote to M&S customer services before Christmas.


Option Selected: Not Applicable
Post code: XXXXXX
Store name: Plymouth
Product Description: Chai Latte
Comments: Dear Sir / Madam

I want to tell you a little story. I have recently met a man. He lives in Liverpool. I live in Plymouth. I have a habit of complicating things in my life, this is no different. Anyway, he is lovely, and after a chance encounter, and meeting in Liverpool, and an intense period of texts and phonecalls – where we recreate lots of wonderful scenarios that we will enjoy together, a visit is on the cards. Yessss!

He will visit on the 2 December.

Through this period of high intensity long distance texting, we discover a mutual love of a chai latte. Specifically an M&S chai latte (what other chai lattes are there, we chuckled to each other!) As a result of this mutual discovery, we pencilled in a visit to M&S as a Sunday activity, after the roast dinner in a pretty seaside village and a pleasant water taxi ride (all of which had also been pencilled in and discussed before the big visit) but BEFORE the mulled wine (cider and Buckfast) and cheese feast activities back at my abode.

The weekend was going really well, admittedly we had barely met previously, and we were both very nervous, but we needn’t have been. The laughs were coming thick and fast, I’ll tell you! Pleased? I hope you are.

We approached the cafe area outside, we were practically skipping hand in hand! We were literally beside ourselves with excitement, our palms clammy, teeming with joyous anticipation, only to be advised that you had no vanilla essense, so a chai latte was off the menu. Disappointed? Very much so.

The weekend had been going so well, this was the first hurdle. I panicked inside. What did this event signify? Downtrodden, we headed home, to the reliable, trusty mulled goods, which is mostly how I used to think of M&S; trusty and reliable.

I won’t lie, it put a dampner on our Sunday, the last day together before he headed back up North. We both agreed ‘I can’t believe Marks don’t have vanilla essense, I really wanted a chai latte, it was our fantasy.’ I cried a little bit inside, after the panic has subsided. Which it eventually did.

The man made a surprise visit the following week! What a result, I hear you cry! I was extra pleased as I thought this may allow M&S to redeem themselves from the previous week’s gargantuan faux pas. Another wonderful weekend was shared, more mulled wine, culinary delights prepared by my fair hands, zombie satire on the box, holding hands and spooning.

Monday, the inevitable comes round, and I have time for lunch in town before I start work. Instead of the outside cafe, we head upstairs, I can’t think straight for the prospect of another box ticked (we love to tick boxes) the chai latte! I have skinny, though I think he opts for normal, regardless, we both have a great affinity for them. ‘This is it, this is literally it!’, I think to myself. I look at him, and I know he is sharing my sentiment, he feels it too! I am trembling with anticpation and excitement – over a whole week later, they must have vanilla essense now…


Our parting lunch (2 x croque monsuir, scones and cinammon and honey lattes) was poorer for the lack of the said lattes. I am also £20 poorer.

We were both sad.

REALLY sad. We clung to each other, both teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown.

This was attributed to M&S for failing us on TWO occasions in the same way over a week apart. The staff dealt with the blow really well, and said we might be able to get one from Starbucks. Andrew and I are united in our dislike of Starbucks. Fortunately, we have managed to come through this … and we still hope (and dream) that one day we will share a chai latte from M&S, although now we will not get to do so before Christmas. I would really appreciate your comments regarding this… thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.

This is the response I received:

Dear Ms Barnes

Your ref:

Thanks for your email. I’m sorry you were unable to get the Chai Latte in our Plymouth café as there was no vanilla essence. Obviously we try to maintain stock of all of the products in our cafés but it’s clear that on this occasion we have not been successful.

I have let the store managers of the Plymouth store know about this and I’m confident that they will take any action necessary and hope you will be able to enjoy the Chai Latte next time you visit the store.

Please be aware this email is from a ‘no reply’ email address. If you would like to respond, please contact us via our website https://www.marksandspencer.com/contactus and we will be happy to assist you further.

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch.

Kind Regards

Marks & Spencer Customer Services
Registered office: Waterside House, 35 North Wharf Road, London, W2 1 NW.
Registered Number: 214436 (England and Wales)

Pretty poor.

As a postscript to this, we finally got our chai latte from the M&S in Liverpool, just before New Year. We continue to search for better and more reliable vendors of our milk based hot beverage of choice.


About Maisie Snax
LOVES: Clouds, maize snacks, house music, taking things too far, cider in the sun, funk, Wes Anderson, cheese, listening to my ipod really loudly at all times, being lazy, being elevated, showing off, melodic hip-hop, monkeys, getting amongst it, pianos in house tracks, soul, Chanel pefume, Bret Easton-Ellis, my fringe, Buckfast, cashew nuts, long weekends away, spooning, stereo whoring, laughing, eggs, John Lee Hooker, BBC 6 Music and Spaced DOESN'T LOVE: Getting up early, liars, text speech including lol, Joop on men, beards, vegetables that disguise themselves as other vegetables (courgettes), diet coke, Lady GaGa, Radio 1, soaps, black pudding, Mondays, big dogs, toenails and cheap leggins.

3 Responses to A Strongly Worded Letter of Complaint

  1. Val Pope says:

    Fabulous blog as ever darling…you make I laff! X x

  2. Kaz says:

    Your a friggin nutter Barnsey, I loves it I do and lol’ed to myself many times xx

  3. Neil Barnes says:

    Chai latte? What the F***

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