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Waitrose coffee contained cleaning fluid

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On 13 Mar 2014 at 3:02pm Nobby wrote:
Well 5 days later my wife is still unwell and we just received a letter of apology from Waitrose with a £25 voucher.
Am I the only the only one who thinks that's not really compensatory for the injury and suffering, having to spend hours in A&E, missing a weekedn away etc, etc.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 3:25pm Southover Queen wrote:
No, not really Nobby. Do they know how much damage and pain their mistake has caused? If you haven't already, I'd write a polite letter pointing out the consequences of their negligence and suggesting that £25 doesn't really cover it. Also, you shouldn't technically accept the voucher if you intend to pursue some kind of complaint against them, I think, so I would probably send the voucher back with my letter.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 4:42pm Border Control wrote:
Surely, your wife must have tasted the coffee, as being foul. And then she went on to drink the whole thing ?? I'd be very surprised if the cleaning fluid was toxic in a coffee machine,. Was she just blowing bubbles for the rest of the day ?
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 5:48pm A wrote:
Hi, you could contact a solicitor,to see what else you can do, waitrose are a big firm,they would not want the publicity,sue them, I would, good luck.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 6:10pm Get Well Soon wrote:
If Waitrose is offering money are they also acknowledging some fault. From what you describe. If you haven't done so already I would contact Waitrose and outline the number of house your wife has lost through being nwell, the number of hours you also have lost looking after her, and if you don't know already, ask what the liquid is, and what they know about the health risks. then depending on the repines contact a solicitor if you think that is reasonable. I think mistakes happen, but I am nt sure, from what you are saying, that wait rose is taking proper responsibility for putting it right. I have also had a problem caused by a wait rose product and was less than impressed with the way it was handled, so find their public caring image quite irritating.
If the Express can ever be bothered to write a proper news story again, this is begging for the embarrassing headline "Waitrose coffee leaves a nasty taste in the mouth" The Argus would be better, After al, they scored a hat trick with the Donna Edmunds shocker.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 6:31pm ducatipete wrote:
Spend £100 with a lawyer for a letter, this could cost them dearly. The fact that they could think to buy you off for £25 must be in your favour.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 6:32pm Grifter wrote:
Waitrose probably has a great many true and not so true claims for compensation. It rather depends on which camp you fall.
Ought to try getting satisfaction from Tesco.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 7:37pm American Ed wrote:
See if they have a facebook page. Then Post the same question there. Social media complaints apparently get better results as they are more visible to others.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 8:08pm Legalaide wrote:
Your house/contents insurance most likely comes with a free legal helpline. Use it, and ask for advice.
What happened to your wife has caused her considerable discomfort, but it could have caused severe damage to somebody with a medical condition.
Contact Waitrose and tell them that you are rejecting their offer of £25, and that you are now seeking legal advice over the matter.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 8:18pm Ed Can Do wrote:
You should sue them definitely. After all, they made a simple mistake and you deserve a payout for that. You'll probably get a couple of grand for something as serious as feeling unwell for a bit.

As an added bonus, they'll probably take away the free coffee machine as a result so every time you're shopping in there and people are complaining about how there's no free coffee any more you'll have that warm glow of a job well done and anyway, you'll have a ton of cash, you'll be able to afford to buy coffee if you want it.

Chances are they'll sack whoever was responsible for this and that'll teach them not to make mistakes again. It'll be a valuable life lesson they can pass on to everyone else at the job centre when they're there signing on for the foreseeable future.

You'll make a healthy wad of cash for your lawyer which will be nice as they're known for their low incomes. You'll also generate a load of cash for a health and safety firm who will be employed to create a new training video for anyone involved in Waitrose coffee machines. I'm sure future generations of future employees will thank you for the extra training they undergo in making sure they don't make any mistakes when they clean the coffee machine.

Of course, all of this will cost Waitrose a ton of money but that's what happens when you make mistakes, you have to pay for them. Luckily Waitrose have a vast product range and can just chuck up a few prices here and there to cover the outlay so effectively their customers will be paying your compensation but you won't even mind the high prices because you'll be alright, you'll have just had a huge compensation payout and rightly so because your wife is unwell and has been for five days and when something happens by accident, the most important thing is that someone receives a lot of money as a result.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 8:38pm smiler wrote:
I'm sure the person responsible will have been given a talking to and a bit of extra training. There's no way their punishment will be tied to how much the insurance company has to pay out and extremely unlikely the insurance premium will rise as a result so not much possibility of prices in the store rising as a result either.
I was in there today and the coffee machine was working so its unlikely that's going to be removed as well.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 8:43pm Easy to sneer wrote:
Short memories. Anyone remember the disabled boy who died in agonising pain several days after drinking drain cleaner from a juice bottle at a special needs centre near the river Ouse?
There is compensation culture and then there is criminal negligence.
Don't sneer at manslaughter.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 9:05pm Ed Can Do wrote:
At the moment the incident has cost Waitrose £25 and a bit of bad publicity so whoever was responsible probably has just had a lecture. That'll change if it turns into a £15k compo claim though.

Does anyone know how the coffee got contaminated in the first place? Machines like that normally have an automated cleaning cycle rather than needing someone to actually clean them. Also the cleaning products used aren't that dangerous, it's basically disinfectant that same as you'd use on your kitchen surfaces at home only watered down a bit. If you drank enough of it you'd feel unwell but you'd have to down a lot to risk permanent damage.

Luckily there are strict H&S procedures regarding putting chemicals in unmarked bottles. If someone at Waitrose did that then they should expect to get sacked but that's not what actually happened here so is entirely not relevant.

Given that the guy's wife has been feeling unwell for a week now, it might not even have been the cleaning fluid that did it. The amount of chemical you'd get in a cup without someone noticing would be tiny. If he sues them he'll either get a payout because someone in a head office legal department can't be bothered to argue it or the store manager will insist that they did nothing wrong, there'll be a long and drawn out investigation and he might get some cash, he might not but someone will get sacked and if he loses, his legal bill won't be pretty.

The only reason I'm so down on the concept is I have first hand experience of the knock on effect of legal cases brought for essentially nothing. We have this weird culture now where something that is just an accident or even worse, something silly someone has done themselves, with no actual long term harm either way, results in a massive chain of events that disrupts loads of people's lives in a much more significant way than the initial event.

Personally, I would accept the £25 with good grace, accept it was a mistake and get on with my life. That's just me though and I appreciate that people love a bit of something for nothing these days.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 10:00pm Napoleon XIV wrote:
£25 for poisoning your wife? Anyone would think you were a misogynist to accept that!
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 10:31pm Get Well Soon wrote:
Ed, I think on this occasion you need to know more definite facts before you are quite so harsh. Unlike everyone else's speculation Nobby has provided some very minimal facts that could relate to an actual serious problem, as much as to what you describe. This accident is not a usual occurrence, so it is reasonable to be open to any explanation. Mrs Nobby may have coincidentally been ill for longer, but also something concentrated or unintentional might have gone in the coffee that she may coincidentally have an unusually adverse reaction to. We do not know, and it is worth finding out. I am not sure any of us are experts in coffee machine cleaning, and we certainly weren't there when someone grabbed who knows what from a shelf, before filling the machine. I do agree that people are too quick to think compensation and lawyers, (without ever actually doing anything about them anyway) But when a supermarket actually offers compensation, that action rings my alarm bells. Especially if the recipient is asked to sign a settlement, as I once was. ( but didn't). I think if Mrs Nobby is now(hopefully as right as rain, but lost an entire weekend, possibly a paid for weekend away from what Nobby has written, then Waitrose may want to compensate the Nobbys more fairly, because £25 isn't going to pay for another two days at even Travelodge, let alone a meal for two, to get rid of the taste in her mouth.
 
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 11:37pm Innocent Bystander wrote:
Donoghue v Stevenson - the 1932 legal case that established the modern principle of negligence. Google it. You might have a case for compensation which is more commensurate with your wife's illness (pain and suffering) and associated losses (cancellation of holiday, time spent seeking medical treatment, loss of earnings etc) if you can prove that any loss and injury was due to Waitrose's negligence, ie failure to exercise reasonable care. You can claim on line in the small claims court for a small charge.

Sorry Ed, you're talking a load of tosh. I'd agree with you re silly and timewasting claims but if the situation is as described Mr and Mrs Nobby deserve proper compensation and Waitrose should be made to pay.

Check it out here »
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 7:16am Clifford wrote:
Do as other people suggest: Write to them, say you are not satisfied, say that you are taking legal advice, check that your home insurance includes legal cover, write to them setting out what happened. Don't waste any more time moaning about it - get on and do something.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 8:37am Clifford wrote:
Tipex - Waitrose was presenting it for the customer's use, therefore Waitrose are responsible for it. If you buy something in Waitrose that is off, then it is Waitrose who are taken to court.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 9:02am Tom wrote:
Did your wife not taste her drink? If it had a large quantity of cleaning fluid then it would have been undrinkable. She is not a toddler like the Ouse River Nursery case.
Yes, you could probably get some more money out of Waitrose but personally I would just 'move on' - it was a mistake obviously and you've had an apology. You'll get 'good karma' for just letting it go. You'll have less stress of a court case and you'll feel better quicker!
This is my and my families attitude - we've never even claimed on insurance - everything we have is earned fair & square - and all my grand parents have lived to over 95 to 102 !! Less stress, less anxiety = longer, happier life! :-)
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 9:10am Clifford wrote:
Tom wrote: You'll get 'good karma' for just letting it go.
I hope you're joking. You're Neil from the Young Ones and I claim my fiver.

Watch the video »
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 10:50am Lab Assistant wrote:
I love all these amateur forensic experts. Chemicals don't always have a strong taste, or even a taste at all especially if disguised by something as distinctive as coffee. You can try phenomenon for yourselves by trying alcohol in coffee, with some cream on top.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 12:12pm Slarty wrote:
I am not a lawyer but...
Based on comparable illness from food poisoning, the compensation for the injury may be up to £600, but not a lot more (unless symptoms continue or they are worse that "unwell"). Other factors may be able to be claimed such as costs incurred or if you lost any money from the weekend away.
If you do decide on litigation, you will need full medical proof that any illness was caused as a direct result of the incident and copies of all expenses incurred or lost. Retrospective medical proof may reduce your claim.
Personally, I'd go with a letter to Waitrose, setting out all of your costs and losses (with receipts if possible) and detailing your wife's condition since this happened. See what their reply is and then go from there if it is not suitable.
Don't expected thousands though - we are not the USA and the Courts will mainly reimburse your expenses incurred with very little in cost for the "pain and suffering" for something short term and not too serious (assuming it is short term and not too serious). Any stupidity through neglect by Waitrose will not increase your claim.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 12:49pm local bod wrote:
yes, and Waitrose should also be showing an interest in your wife's condition, if only because they are using these chemicals, and have a duty of care to employees.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 7:18pm Country Boy wrote:
My company had to pay in excess of £50,000 (including loss of earnings) to an employee who slipped on the grass verge of our car park and injured his knee. It was found that we failed to maintain the grass in a safe condition. It was mid summer, very hot and the grass was tinder dry. This payout was despite the fact the employee had chosen not use the official walking route. So don't ask me what I think of compensation culture.
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On 14 Mar 2014 at 9:28pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Actually Lab Assistant, commercial cleaning chemicals always have a strong smell and are always brightly coloured, precisely so nobody drinks them by mistake.
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On 15 Mar 2014 at 12:33am lab assistant wrote:
none of which will show up in a dark brown coffee flavoured liquid, even if neat.
 
 
On 19 Mar 2014 at 4:33pm Clifford wrote:
Country Boy wrote: 'It was found that we failed to maintain the grass in a safe condition.'

What you call 'the compensation culture' is there to encourage you to 'maintain the grass in a safe condition'. I bet you do now.
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On 24 Mar 2014 at 11:32am Anna Roberts wrote:
Your poor wife... totally get if you don't want to talk, but if you do my number is 01273 544 539. anna.roberts@theargus.co.uk
Thanks Anna
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On 25 Mar 2014 at 2:30pm James Allen wrote:
The cleaning fluid IS completely harmless. It WILL NOT cause injury, fact. I appreciate there may initially be anxiety problems when one doesn't know what one has consumed but please, stop being so dramatic and accept the £25 goodwill offer from Waitrose. If your wife has further 'problems' may I suggest she explore other avenues, maybe a psychiatrist.
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On 25 Mar 2014 at 2:55pm Henry wrote:
How do you know what the cleaning fluid was James?
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On 26 Mar 2014 at 9:50am Ben wrote:
Hi Nobby - A national paper is interested in this story but only if I can use actual names of those involved and any other info/interview you or your wife might want to give - can you give me a call on 01273 486851?
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On 26 Mar 2014 at 11:54pm Nobby wrote:
We got offered £2k for the story by a national paper
 
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On 27 Mar 2014 at 9:44am Nobby wrote:
Should we take? It means doing an interview with pictures?
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On 27 Mar 2014 at 10:18am Coffeedrinker wrote:
Waitrose is mostly good!, but if the papers offer you money for the story
do the interview and tell your story, take the money and go on holiday
It will not stop lewes people from using a free coffee machine.
Next week it will be forgotten.


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