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  • downinnorfolk


Generosity, even corporate generosity, still exists! I have experienced two extraordinary examples in the last few weeks which have astonished and gladdened my heart.

First example: Waitrose. This is where my wife and I do our main weekly shop in Witney. A fortnight ago I was turning right at the end of an aisle when something caught the sleeve of my jacket and tore a three inch hole in the sleeve. Looking back I saw that a display cabinet on the corner had an inch of metal strip protruding from the side, into the aisle. The edge of the metal strip was as sharp as a knife and the point as sharp as a scissor. It would have torn anything that brushed up against it, even flesh.

I found someone stacking shelves, showed her my jacket and took her to see the protruding metal. She was shocked and quickly pushed the metal strip back into place. She went off to find a Manager and returned with Craig. Craig escorted us to the Reception Desk where he accepted responsibility on behalf of Waitrose and promised to repay me the cost of a new jacket -up to £200.

I expostulated that I would not think of paying so much for such a jacket but he smiled and we left it at that. I tried Mountain Warehouse in the town but could not find anything suitable, so, of course, I went on-line. I looked for the company who had made my old jacket, which I had had for some 30 years, Rohan, and found to my surprise that they still made something very like it. And it cost exactly £200!

It was delivered three days later by courier and I took it to Waitrose with the receipt. I found Craig and presented the bill with an apology for the cost. He did not blink but issued me with a Waitrose Gift Card for £200 – which will pay our shopping bill for the next few weeks. Hallelujah!

Second example: our local garage. Ten days ago I drove home through a cloudburst, with rain pouring down on the car and on the road. The following day I found the carpet in the foot-well of the back off-side seat saturated in water. I found no sign of any leak in the door or window. How had the water got in?

I took the car round to our local garage, where I am a regular client, and a few days later I took it in for a more thorough examination. Meanwhile I had been sponging the water out of the back-seat foot-well, and every day there was as much water as before. At the garage the mechanic filled the car with smoke (!) but found no sign of smoke leaking out anywhere. So where had the water got in? They put the car up on a lift and inspected the underside of the chassis – but to no avail. Still no sign of where the water was getting in.

When I went to collect the car from the garage, the manager told me the bad news, that they had found no solution to the problem. He recommended that I took it to a Mercedes dealer or authorised repairer. I thanked him for the trouble they had taken and asked how much I owed them. “I won’t charge you anything,” he said, “because we have not been able to fix it.”

(I found a Mercedes Authorised garage in a near-by town, where it is to be repaired in two weeks time. Meanwhile, more sponging! I know that this garage will nor repair it for nothing, but they know what to do.)

Meanwhile I am thankful that my own garage charged me nothing. Generosity is not dead!


Next week: it never rains but it pours! (But this is not about climate change)

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