Ocado.com, the ecommerce tentacle of UK supermarket chain Waitrose, has got itself into a bit of a pickle with one Reg reader after sending his elderly mother an email with the following irresistable, money-saving offer:
Thank you for your recent Ocado order. We're always looking at ways to improve our service. We know that you have recently placed another order with us and therefore we wanted to remind you that you are closer to your final reward.
We hope that you will continue to love our colour coded bags, friendly delivery staff, fantastic Waitrose food, and convenient one hour delivery slots, but we thought it would be nice to introduce you to our service by offering you a gift to say thank you.
Remember all you have to do is keep shopping at Ocado.com. It's as simple as that. Just place 129 orders over £90 between now and 21st October and in your 130th Ocado order we will deduct £30 off your delivery.
Our correspondent - who describes his mum as "extremely upset" over the missive - decried: "I cannot imagine quite what Ocado felt my mother, who lives on her own, would do with £11,700 of groceries, even if she had the financial resources to make purchases of such magnitude. In my opinion this is a grossly irresponsible marketing tactic, and my mother was extremely distressed to receive it."
When he phoned Ocado to demand satisfaction, he spoke to "an Ocado representative" who "became heated, angry, began to raise his voice and almost shout at me".
Well, we spoke to Ocado ourselves, and a spokesman explained that the email was obviously a bit of a balls-up, but that it had been sent to just a few customers and, once Ocado had realised the error, it sent a further email apologising for the outrage.
Regarding our disgruntled reader, the spokesman added that he and his mother had already been sent two aplogies, but that the company was happy to "engage in dialogue" with him to resolve the dispute amicably.
Which, we hope, is an end to the matter. For the record, if you get down to Ocado today, £11,700 will get you 6,500 Mr Kipling Deep Filled Bramley Apple Pies (currently on a two-for-£1.80 special offer), or a staggering 123,157 150g bags of Werther's Originals. Happy shopping. ®