I was deleting some stuff on my laptop last night and came across a complaint letter I wrote to my local Tesco in December 2007, but never got round to sending. Lazy as I am, I thought it was worth a cheap blog post.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a regular shopper at Tesco in XXXXXXXXX, which has served me well over the last couple years. However, I wanted to write to you about the toilets.
Basically, when I entered the men’s toilet a few days ago I was shocked to discover a spent (read: shit-filled) ostomy pouch lying on the floor of one of the cubicles. That was surprising enough in itself. But what surprised me more was that it wasn’t still attached to the partly decomposed body of an elderly gentleman who’d collapsed there several weeks earlier (which may have been the last time the toilets enjoyed a conservative spray of Oust and a wipe with a damp tea towel from the staff canteen).
Is the toilet not part of the store? I’m aware that customers don’t make any purchases in there (unless there’s a two-for-one offer on bags of shit…and even then, I’d pass) but if you’re providing customer toilet facilities then at least have the decency to make them useable. It’s like another world in there (and when I say that, I’m thinking ‘third world’).
Don’t get me wrong, I shop in Tesco and don’t spend an extraordinary amount of time in the toilets. However, based on my experience of using these facilities a few times recently I feel it’s my duty – on behalf of all shoppers – to bring this forgotten land to your attention.
I must stress that I’m not looking for anything palatial. I don’t need a widescreen plasma TV mounted on the wall above the urinals so that I can watch Hollyoaks while I have a piss; I don’t need a tray of wrapped mints by the door; and I don’t need an attendant in a morning suit giving me a shoulder rub while I wash my hands with Cor soap (one bar per hand, no less). All I want is for the toilets to be cleaned regularly – or at least smell like they’re being cleaned regularly.
Mop the floor with fragrant disinfectant and give the toilets a blast of Toilet Duck (or napalm). It might even be worth hiring someone like Tangina Barrons (the midget psychic from Poltergeist) to help banish the lingering stench of evil that hangs heavy in the air.
There does appear to be a mysterious closet at my local store, stocked with mops, buckets and cleaning paraphernalia, but I get the feeling that it’s some kind of shrine, like the floral tributes you see at the roadside after fatal car accidents. I half expected to see a wreath fashioned from colourful air freshener gels or a spectacular bouquet of petrified mop heads.
My local store received a minor upgrade recently (a swiftly abandoned trial of automatic entry barriers). It’s great that Tesco executives want to invest in my local supermarket, it really is, but they obviously bypassed the customer toilets during their assessment of the store.
Having said that, maybe they didn’t need to visit the shop-floor loos. After all, there’s probably an executive Batcave at my local store where the manager and other suited big-wigs can sit on velvet toilet seats, while a scantily clad Girls Aloud sweat through a live performance of ‘Love Machine’ only a few tantalising feet away. Cheryl, Sarah, Nadine and Kimberly will then likely beckon the Tesco executives into a steam room, leaving the ginger one to do a round of flushes and re-fold the Renova toilet paper into an inverted triangle.
With those kind of executive facilities, who’d blame them for not caring about the customer toilet experience?!
Still, I look forward to the customer toilets being transformed into a scented oasis of calm in the very near future. (Oh, and I know I scoffed at the idea of a widescreen plasma TV above the urinals, but please do give it some thought.)
Mr A Stoot (surname changed to protect Clubcard points)