You’re just a bunch of amateurs! (Jiffy 7 response)
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST IS DEVOID OF HUMOUR! (Nearly)
For those of you that read this drivel on occasions, you might have seen my correspondence with Jiffy over the Jiffy 7 mould explosion. If you didn’t, it’s here. I did receive a reply by email. It was cold and hard. It stated that I needed to supply my address and telephone number, the place I purchased the pellets and the price paid, and a photograph. On receipt, they would assess what action to take. That was all it said. It was from Jeremy Howarth, UK sales manager.
As a matter of course, I sent a brief email to Scot Plants Direct, from whom I had purchased the pellets. Now, remember that my original messages did not seek to lay blame, nor demand a refund or any other compensation. I merely asked what the hell was going on and why my Jiffy 7s were a mould factory while my Gardman pellets, kept in exactly the same environment, were not.
I received a swift reply from Scot Plants Direct’s proprietor, P Kean (no, I don’t know if it is a man or a lady). He/she immediately pointed out that in three years they had never encountered this problem. He/she also stated that the pellets were ‘devoid of mould’. Now, I personally would shy away from such a statement, because I’d want a chemist to certify that before making such a categorical declaration. However, obviously P Kean has some sort of test result pertaining to every batch of pellets he/she ships.
Interestingly, neither P Kean or Jeremy Howarth expressed any concern that a customer was experiencing difficulties. Maybe just a ‘sorry to hear you are having problems’ was just too nice and too customer-friendly for them to bear. Perhaps they feared that a shred of politeness may be construed as accepting liability. Funny that, because when my friend’s Mother died, I told him I was sorry, and I didn’t kill her! I just said it because it shows that I understand. They obviously don’t care about customers enough to pass on a basic drop of civility (or maybe they just don’t like me, which I can’t fault them for if the truth be told).
Still, back to the tale. This morning I received a phone call from Jeremy Howarth, UK Sales Manager for Jiffy. He opened by stating that he was selling pellets in quantities from 1 to 5 million, and had never heard about this problem, so maybe it was something I had done.
I am a customer, and as a customer, I can be free with my money. I’m what most people call a good customer. I do expect service, and I also accept that things can go wrong. If it is me causing the issue, then help me sort it out, and I’ll buy more stuff. If it is you causing the issue, put your hands up and sort it out. I’ll buy more stuff from honest suppliers. Make excuses without really investigating the facts, and I’ll turn on you like a she-wolf protecting her cubs from a rather large cub-eating badger-like beast.
I decided to try and explain to Jeremy Howarth that if he wanted to start off by making excuses without delving into the circumstances, he might be faced with a very disgruntled customer. I didn’t get to the end because the phone went off. A few minutes later he rang back. I asked him if he had put the phone down because he hadn’t liked what I was saying. He said it was because he lost signal. I did mention that if a company cares about its customers, then they would at least show them the respect of ensuring a conversation could be held without interruption. The point wasn’t accepted well.
Jeremy Howarth then went on to explain that mould was not an issue with Jiffy 7s. I asked why, if that was the case, that many people seemed to have experienced the problem.
Then he told me why.
He said: ‘THOSE PEOPLE ARE ALL AMATEURS THAT DON’T KNOW HOW TO GROW PLANTS’.
There’s two points here. Firstly, Jiffy obviously think that many of their customers are beneath them, as Mr Jeremy Howarth has pointed out so succinctly. Secondly, if Jeremy Howarth has NEVER heard of the mould problem, then why didn’t he state that he’d never heard similar complaints. No, he told me that we (the people who complain about mould, I can only presume, as that was what he was specifically referring to) are amateurs and bring the problem on ourselves, because we don’t know how to grow plants. So, either Jeremy Howarth is in contempt of those who buy his products for home usage, or he’s not being open when he says he’s never had a complaint about mould.
Okay, maybe we ARE amateurs, but then why does Jiffy want to sell its products to us through garden centres? Why take our money if their product is only for the commercial sector? Surely selling us a product that Jiffy believes we cannot use is at best ill-informed, and at worst deliberately misleading? I, for one, do feel that if I have been sold something without being informed that it is not for the average dufus in the street (despite being openly sold to the average dufus in the street), then I have been misled and maybe even cheated.
This was important, so I asked Jeremy Howarth, UK Sales Manager of Jiffy, what instructions Jiffy gave to consumers regarding the use of Jiffy 7 pellets. He said he didn’t want to discuss this further, that it was going nowhere, and I could have a refund. I repeated my question, and he repeated that he would not discuss it. He seemed very annoyed that I had dared ask about my legal rights. I pointed out that this was a potentially legal issue under consumer law, and asked him why he wouldn’t answer the question.
‘Why won’t you answer the question?’ I asked.
He put the phone down.
He didn’t ring back!
I am caught in three minds. The first mind is that I take my refund, chuck the pellets in the bin, and put the whole sorry episode behind me. It’s the easy option. The second mind is that I pass on a complaint to Trading Standards and agitate for punitive action to be taken. It’s the sensible option. The third mind is that I spend some time circulating my tale of woe to every Jiffy employee I can track down, to every competitor of Jiffy that I can find, to every stockist of Jiffy products that is worth their salt, and to every celebrity that endorses their products. It’s the irritating option.
One thing is for sure; if I chose the latter option, Jeremy Howarth might think I’m an amateur that doesn’t know how to grow plants now, but in the future he’ll think I’m a right bastard!
Tagged Jiffy 7