Complaint – M&S Birthday Pie (2018)

I guess as part of the HR checks, M&S didn’t think to look through their customer complaints to see if potential employees had ever written to them.


Here’s one that I can publish, now I’ve passed my probation. From 2018. Yeah I have a backlog of these things.


Dear M&S

A few weeks ago, I had a birthday. Actually, it was a few months ago, but hey, the point still stands. I’ve already lost track of what I was going to say.

Yeah I’m one of those complaint writers that always writes some long-winded nonsense that you really don’t want to read – all you want is “the pie was crap”. But you are not going to get that from me. Soz.

So it was my birthday. Once upon a time. It was a cold, miserable, dark January Monday. I was still in the beginning stretches of a 3 month detox, and even worse than that I had given up red meat too.

You may understand that I wanted to treat myself for my birthday, yet I couldn’t have any booze, I couldn’t have a steak – I couldn’t even have a bloody sausage roll. Or bacon sandwich.

I really wasn’t feeling my birthday so I tried to rescue it.

For breakfast, I had an avocado and halloumi muffin from LEON. It was quite nice – but it wasn’t an M&S sausage and bacon sandwich (I am a semi-regular for your hot breakfasts).

For lunch, I thought I’d treat myself to a donut from the new donut shop near work. Do you know how much they cost? £4. Seriously. £4 for a freaking donut.

I walked around trying to find a pie for dinner, but alas, there were no pie shops in the vicinity.

Then I had a moment of genius – M&S!

So after work, I went to your Moorgate store. I could only have the chicken pie due to my avoidance of red meat, and came across a real conundrum – the small pie was way too small for a manly man like myself, and the large pie was far too large for someone trying to lose weight.

What to do?

Well, it was my birthday so I bought the large pie.

Alas, it didn’t meet expectations. There was far too much pastry (shortcrust) and far too little filling. I was really quite surprised at the lack of filling – I’d expect that at Tesco (yeah, I know…if only I could afford not to). It tasted fine, especially with 5 litres of cement-like gravy on top.

But, yeah. I’ve come to the end of my pointless story and another 10 minutes of my life wasted along with a couple of minutes of your life wasted.

The pie was crap.


I do still love you guys, and realised that the only reason I still live in the UK is M&S. Also, if you could make the Jazzie Eggs a permanent feature of your chocolate aisle that would be amazing – they were sublime.




Good morning James,

I’m sorry to hear the chicken pie you bought recently wasn’t up to our usual standards.

Like yourself, my birthday is in January and I’m yet to have a birthday where the day isn’t cold and dark. It must have been tough doing your 3 month detox, there’s nothing better than a nice steak or even a sausage roll and you couldn’t have these on your birthday!

We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our products are perfect, so it’s disappointing to hear something has gone wrong. Although it makes us determined to make it right again.

I want to make sure we can get this passed onto the relevant departments so we are able to keep an eye on what’s happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. So we can do this we will need the product code for the product and this can be found either on the left side of your receipt or underneath the barcode on the packaging.

Once we have this information we’re able to feed everything back to the right people and we will be happy to issue you with you refund in the form of a gift card.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us, James and I hope you have a nice day.
Kind regards
Retail Customer Services
Your M&S Customer Service


Jazzie Eggs didn’t even come back for Easter 2019.

Also – the M&S Gastropub chicken, bacon and leek pie is the bomb. Seriously amazing. I’m not just saying it because I work there.

Enough Is Enough! Or Was Enough…

I was starting to crack a little.

The last couple of months have seen multiple amounts of frustration and my anger levels rising – lets leave out the clusterfuck of Brexit for a moment (though worth mentioning), but things more directly in my control.

I moved banks. Supposed to be easy but I had so many issues once moved, from randomly cancelled direct debits, to much more limited information supplied by First Direct on their online banking, and then having 3 separate passwords for their system and not being able to remember which was which, hence getting locked out constantly as I tried and failed to remember them. Everything worked fine at Natwest. I regret moving – but I got my £100 switching fee.

Another issue was Three randomly cutting off my phone because the direct debit hadn’t been taken. Three blamed my bank – my bank blamed Three. I tried to use the online chat, but it was constantly too busy. No phone. Joy. After an hour of being pissed off, I just filled in the cancellation form.

Eventually I got through to the chat, and they restored my service – two months later they still haven’t taken any payment. Huh? But I was raging – and then a few weeks later had to deal with the fact that I’d cancelled my contract…oops.

Worst of all, I changed web hosting companies. My old host was giving slow server responses and there were some minor technical issues. So I looked for a new one – and was sold (mis-sold) a shared server solution for the same price I paid at my old host.

Migration was a nightmare – their technical people kept giving instructions as if I had done 1,000 migrations before, though eventually all was fine. I guess it took about 6-7 hours of work to do this. All so people could load my roast dinner reviews quicker.

But ever since then, there has been problem after problem – I’ve had to contact them 3 times just today to fix issues. I’ve spent hour, after hour with frustrating issues. Everything on my side is so slow – to the user website visitor it is normally much quicker, though even that is getting worse. That is, when my websites haven’t gone down.

And some of their technical staff are rude – not helped by me being rude to them, “hello my websites are all down AGAIN” – one even took them all down and told me that I needed to upgrade to a more expensive service. Outright blackmail. I was furious. When he said, “shall I put you through to the sales department”, I told him where to stick it and get my sites working again. Two minutes later they were back up. For a while.

Possibly the worst decision I have made all year – even worse than going to Croydon for a roast dinner. Which was a bad decision. I’m now looking for a new web host, yet I know it will probably be a nightmare to migrate away. Sigh. I have to do it but I really don’t want to.

Changing bank, changing web host and changing job. I did them all in a week – yet changing job was by far the easiest – that was easily the best decision I’ve made, and deserves a blog post on its own. It will get one very soon!

And then the Metropolitan line.

My frustrations with the Metropolitan line are well-known – most of the issues are due to signal failures, and the signals are starting to be replaced with a programme that will be finished (allegedly) by 2023.

At the beginning of September, they decided to launch new signalling between Finchley Road and Euston Square – just 4 stations – this is the first part of the Metropolitan line to have their signals converted – the first part was the Hammersmith & City line from Hammersmith…so this is the intersection at Baker Street and a couple of stations either side.

After several weekends during the summer of closing most of the line (I can barely remember a weekend without some part of it closed since June), they decided that it was fully tested and working.

Alas, they didn’t train the drivers how to use the new signalling.

So come Monday 2nd September, the Monday when people are going back to work after summer, they were running about 25% of trains – if that, whilst driver instructors had to accompany them through the new signals to train them. Why this couldn’t have been done on a weekend, is a mystery. Needless to say, commuting was a disaster – I’m lucky that I can go on the Piccadilly line towards my new job, which only takes 20 minutes longer…not the end of the world.

Though now, with the drivers trained, the trains keep failing through the signals as they sometimes cannot communicate with the new signals. Almost every day there is a loss of service during rush hour.

Yes. I rage – though I kept myself amused with all the other complaints from people using the Met line. One person has taken to replying with “cock” to most of the severe delay tweets. There is far worse.

I’ve even submitted a Freedom Of Information request to find out why this new signalling was launched…my hunch is that management get bonuses dependent on on-time delivery. Answer is due this week. There is absolutely no way that should have been launched.

I kept thinking to myself that all these things don’t really matter in the grand scheme, yet they were all getting to me too much – more than usual. I found myself becoming more curt – quite ranty and rude towards those fixing the problems (albeit fixing things that shouldn’t have broken). I wasn’t myself.

And then I was eating and drinking too much – I was tired. I was getting out of control.

It isn’t even as if I have to be at work by 9am. If I’m there at 9:30am that’s fine…I just have to work later. I don’t need to be places on time. It doesn’t really matter if nobody can read my roast dinner reviews for a few hours. BUT IT DOES. RAGE RAGE RAGE.

Why was I getting so annoyed about relatively minor shit? Especially when most of the life fundamentals are actually good or better for me?

I could feel all this 5-6 weeks ago, which is why I booked my holiday to Albania. A few days of sunshine, some beers and relaxing, listening to the waves lapping the shore was my solution. A place where maybe the bus turns up – maybe it doesn’t.


I’m now like, “yeah whatever, Met line”. Will I still be like that on Monday? Hmmm. Maybe I will be. I feel like my holiday might have cured me. For a while.