The letter I want to send to John Lewis but probably won’t

Dear John,

What’s going on with you? Are you having issues? You’re not breaking up with Peter Jones, are you?

I’m so disappointed with your service recently, I can’t tell you. Everyone has bad days but this is beyond a joke.

You’ve sold me two broken coffee grinders, delivered the wrong kitchen bin twice and been late with my blinds, which required so much intervention I thought you were going to ask me to glue the black-out material on myself.

When they arrived, they didn’t fit. Then the guy fitting the replacements was an hour late, left his bloody screwdriver behind and is now stalking me to come and pick it up.

All without a single apology.

I realize this isn’t you personally but they’re all using your name. It’s your reputation at stake here.

Do you know what one of your staff said to me on the phone when we tried to get to the bottom of the bin fiasco?

This is a recording of the conversation, for training purposes:

‘Hello. You delivered the wrong bin to me again.’
‘Yes. It’s blue and semi-circular, when it should be stainless steel and round.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, I am.’

Long pause.
‘Might you be able to help me get the right bin delivered?’
‘I’ll check in the system. What’s the stock number?’
‘Of the wrong bin?’
‘That bin is blue and semi-circular.’
‘I know, it’s in my hall-way. Please could you find the stock number for the right bin, so you can re-deliver it.’
‘What’s the stock number for the right bin?’
‘I don’t know because I’ve got the wrong one.’
‘Well, I can’t find it if I don’t know the number.’
‘It’s stainless steel and round and I have already paid for it so can you think of another way to find it?’
‘Is the bin short?’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Is it short?’
‘Well, I suppose it depends on how tall you are. Where is this conversation going?’
‘It looks short on the computer screen.’
‘O.K. I think I need to talk to a human being now. Send my love to the other mice in the warehouse.’

I mean, come on, John, seriously! Who’s head of customer services? Abbott and Costello?

You need to surround yourself with good people. Take your attitude and put it back in road rage, where it belongs. Listen to the messages on your answerphone, once in a while, so you can call people back.

The last few times I’ve needed to talk to you, I’ve thought, ‘Oh God, I need to call John Lewis’, which is not a great feeling in a relationship.

I know you’ll put me on hold. Try to pass me around to your mates in different departments. I bet you don’t do this to your mother.

So this is a little note, for old time’s sake, asking you to Get Your Act Together.

Take some time off. Call in with a sicky- stocktaking is always a great excuse. Or hide behind a little construction work. Say there was a flood in your basement, or something.

Maybe having to be a yes-man to Sloanes for more than 75 years, has taken it out of you. Maybe you’re just not a soft furnishings man anymore. Reflect on what it is you want to do.

There’s more to life than never knowingly being undersold, my old chum.


Mumbo x



Filed under Mumbo Letters, Mumbo Life

8 responses to “The letter I want to send to John Lewis but probably won’t

  1. Emma

    Speak as I find Mumbo, John functions quite well when you meet him in the flesh in Kingston (but only late on Thursday or Friday nights). I shall be steering clear of any kind of telephone relationship with him. E x

  2. jack

    Oh my god!!! Peter is even worse. Just tried to buy three suits for the boys and decided it would have been quicker to stitch them by hand. The WORST service ever. And the staff, what attitudes. They can barely summon the energy to look up. Awful. What is going on?? Something needs to be done. Send that letter now – to The Times.

  3. Taylor

    Those stainless steel bins are well posh. A quick browse of the John Lewis website thingy shows me that they’re fairly pricey too. Unless you’ve ordered the Brabantia 3L pedal bin in chrome, but I kind of assume you haven’t. I don’t know anyone who thinks 3L is sufficient capacity for a kitchen bin.

    Strangely, my parents don’t have a bin in their kitchen. They just hang carrier bags off the door handles. So why they may pretend to be as posh as John Lewis, we all know, deep down, they’re still a little bit Wilkinsons.

  4. sophiestout1

    How right you are to detect the stench of aspiration in the new bin imperative. Too many times I caught the sideways glance of a guest at its green, plastic predecessor, which is now- oh, irony- used for re-cycling.
    Couldn’t quite make peace with the Brabantia, though. It just felt too Gucci. Plus a fellow customer accosted me mid-decision and told me the clickers break all the time.
    I think your parents have probably got the right idea.

  5. Pingback: Post of the Week » Blog Archive » Shortlist for week ending 11th July 2008

  6. Please send it. Please do. And publish the response!

    ha ha. very classy.

  7. Soph! I want to send this letter! I’ve just told Rach that I’m having a nightmare with my blinds and she referred me to your blog. We have to send it. My experience is uncannily similar. Let’s do it! Tomorrow!

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