Another Letter from Mrs Womble

Once again we have received a letter from a Mrs Edna Womble of Hartlepool. Mrs Womble writes:

Dear Greggs,

I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about a pasty which I purchased from one of your outlets last week. Hello, how are you? I am fine. Anyway, I was shopping in town the other day with my nephew who needed new sparkplugs for his trombone. My nephew is a young gentleman of substantial construction and as such it is necessary for him to maintain a constant intake of chips, pies, cakes and other assorted foodstuffs in order to prevent him keeling over in the street and becoming an obstruction to traffic.

Your establishment was therefore the fourth we had visited that morning on the way to Ken's All-Weather Trumpet Emporium (incorporating The Trombone Connection and Basement Bassoons). By this time my nephew was badly in need of a steak and onion pasty, having already devoured the bag of doughnuts I had bought for him several minutes earlier. Indeed, it was remarked upon by a passer-by that he was visibly wasting away to the point where he was verging on the translucent and the sight of his internal organs showing through his fatty deposits was attracting exactly the wrong sort of attention.

I had always understood that workers in the food industry were trained to immediately identify pastry emergencies and act quickly to tackle the deficiency. In the circumstances I would have expected to have been instantly escorted to the front of the queue where your staff would have immediately begun to shovel calories down his neck. In fact, I would have thought it prudent for an establishment of your standing to have some sort of recovery room where desperate customers can be speedily nourished via some sort of chute or high-pressure hose.

Not so. Oh no. No, we had to wait for almost two minutes - yes, that's right, TWO MINUTES - while various non-priority cases were served ahead of us, apparently by reason of the fact that they were 'in front of us in the queue'. A thin excuse, indeed.

All the time this was going on, the evident distress that my nephew was experiencing was ignored, even though his dreadful pallor, constant whining and fearsome flatulence provided both an unmistakable indicator of the severity of his condition and a sustained attack on the senses and sensibilities of your other customers.

By the time we ultimately reached the counter my poor nephew was fading fast, and it was only thanks to the good fortune of finding half a pork pie and a finger of Fudge in his back pocket that he made it there at all. However, the shock that he received when he learned that you had run out of steak and onion pasties was very nearly the end of him. I mean, come on people! If you can't even supply the basics, then you need to seriously think about whether you really want to be in this business at all. Instead, he was offered a chicken product, which was hardly an acceptable substitute. In fact, I don't think that chicken is even technically classed as 'meat'.

Nevertheless, we accepted the replacement pasty with as much good grace as we felt it warranted and proceeded to ponce out of the shop. Thus it was that I suffered the ultimate indignity as payment was demanded of me by the greasy, cross-eyed harridan whom you entrust with the safekeeping of your baked goods. I'm sure I hardly need tell you the legal position with regard to such circumstances, but clearly your shop manager - which was how the stroppy cow identified herself - had not been made aware that the law requires that in these cases the goods should be supplied for free. I had no hesitation in correcting her misconception in this matter, at the top of my voice, in front of a shop full of your customers. I may have also called her a 'bobble-eyed twat' although I admit that on this point my memory is not entirely clear. I then left the shop, with the pasty which was rightfully mine, returning only briefly to collect my nephew who was at this point drooling at a cream horn.

You should be aware that my sister-in-law worked in a tobacconist's for three weeks in 1977 and as such she has a detailed and extensive knowledge of all aspects of retail law. Brenda (my sister-in-law) says that by rights you should be offering me free pasties for the rest of year. I feel that this is the very least that I can expect by way of compensation, considering the worry and distress that this shameful situation has caused. I hope you will consider my case sympathetically and I trust that you will do the right thing. Thank you.


Thank you for your letter Mrs Womble. While we sympathise with your predicament, we feel that you may perhaps be confusing us with someone else. We have therefore passed your complaint on to the relevant party.

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