I have just received this comment, which has been published on the Waitrose Company Forum:
Dear Sean Brady,
I was sorry to learn that you are unhappy with
the car park charges at our Stroud branch and would like to take this
opportunity to explain our reasoning for these charges.
it can Waitrose is keen to provide unlimited free parking.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible especially in areas where we
must conform with local restrictions or the car park is under the
control of the local authority. At Stroud there is a very high demand
for the number of spaces, and to ensure there is a continual turnover of
spaces so all of our customers can find a space during peak periods,
Britannia Parking Limited control the car park by introducing a charge
after a reasonable period of time.
Due to the increased volume
of custom at our Stroud branch it has been necessary to implement a
policy that will help our customers park with ease. The car park is now
strictly for customers who's sole purpose is to shop in Waitrose Stroud.
However, I have been informed by the Duty Manager that it is possible
to park for 1 hour in the Pay & Display car park adjacent to the
Waitrose car park and they will reimburse the cost of 40p if you have a
valid Waitrose receipt for £5.
I would like to thank you for
taking the trouble to bring this matter to our attention. I appreciate
that whilst what I have written will not have been what you wanted to
learn, I am glad to have had an opportunity to clarify our position. I
can assure you of our continued commitment to providing you with the
service and merchandise you expect when shopping at Waitrose and hope
this unfortunate incident will not deter you from shopping with us again
in the future.
Waitrose Customer Service
This is my reply on that company forum:
You will be aware I have written a number of questions directly to
customer services and I presume you will do me the courtesy of replying
to those also directly. I have absolutely no quarrel with the need for
parking controls and I'm sure as the previous respondent has written it
has helped with Stroud Waitrose only customers.
I would however like
to point out the ambiguity of the so called rules as published on the
notice. I refer, of course, to the use of the word 'may'. As a loyal
customer of Waitrose in Formby I am used to a different application of
the same rule - it's not applied! In my view any Waitrose customer who
uses a 'strange' Waitrose shop will fall foul of this parking penalty if
it's applied in this fashion. There is no indication at Stroud that
this is not a question of 'may' but 'certainty'.
It is even more galling that I was a customer of the store and in this case I have a receipt to prove it.
know it's only for two seafood sandwiches for the rest of the journey
to Formby, a bottle of Pinot Noir for the evening and a copy of the
Guardian but I chose to buy them in Waitrose despite plenty of
opportunity to buy 'locally' in the town.
You also mention the issue
of car parks in general I might ask where was the notice about the
Waitrose discount scheme you claim was available? Why did'nt the
operative exercise discretion and provide advice rather than wait for us
to leave, it's clear from the comment on the ticket he watched us, he
could have called us back, that surely would be more like appropriate
Waitrose customer care.
To turn finally to the parking conditions and
their effects and to ask a question. I suspect that planning permission
was granted to Waitrose for this store on certain conditions, some of
which will apply to parking and trading. Effectively the Stroud
operation erects a 'firewall' between Waitrose customers and the rest of
the town. Did Waitrose argue in their planning application that it
would increase 'footfall' in the town? The application of the Stroud
conditions is likely to be construed as having a negative impact on
other traders. Are you and your local customers happy with that
potential harm to the town in general? Have you informed the local
planning authorities of these changes, did they agree? If you didn't
should you, because it seems to be a variation in trading?
what if Waitrose applied the policy across the country? At least not
one of us Waitrose customers would make the same mistake again but it
would raise questions about Waitrose as a 'business in the community'
and I notice that while you celebrate the sale of Duchy of Cornwall
products, as a company you do not seem to have won any recent awards
from the body he helped found and sponsor.
At least their comment seems to confirm my views that it will be unwise to shop at any 'strange' Waitrose unless all you want to do is shop there, if you leave the car park you 'may' be given a penalty. Perhaps even more worryingly if the parking rules were applied in the Stroud fashion then here in Formby local traders would be even more penalised. More on waitrose soon. I've started a 'supermarket' watch section and I'll add to that as I examine the impact of supermarkets on our local traders and by direct impact on us, the residents.