Tesco in Toton, Nottingham, has seen extensive building work since July, as the store is expanded fairly dramatically. So it doesn't lose any custom during that time, the work has often been done in the evening and at weekends. Local residents have had to endure the noise throughout the summer, so might have been expecting some sort of compensation. What they got was a loaf of bread.
The store underwent a massive facelift, adding a new pizzeria, a revamped health and beauty department, a new-look hot deli and a boutique. However the process required an awful lot of work - sometimes at antisocial times of the day.
The Nottingham Post reported that many of the locals had complained about the noise, and the extra vehicles in the area, which have been a nightmare for families. One told the newspaper that she had approached the manager, who said he would speak to his PR department about compensation that would help rebuild relations with the community.
Shortly afterwards, the Daily Mail reported that the store handed out 200 loaves of tiger bread to people living on roads near the store - as goodwill gesture. A spokesperson told the newspaper: "To celebrate our store's relaunch, we're giving away loaves of bread to the local community and we hope that residents enjoy our great produce." The overwhelming reaction from locals who spoke to both newspapers was that this was a poor effort, which did nothing to make up for the disturbance.
It's not the first time that a goodwill gesture has provoked ire. Complaints forums are full of pretty shoddy efforts from companies, offering small gestures for failings that people felt were significant, or small reductions off future purchases - when the experience had put them off ever using the firm again.
However, there's another side to this: you could argue that some people are very difficult to please. While all those who spoke to the local papers branded the Tesco freebie as pathetic, others took to social media and were much more impressed. One Twitter user said: " @Tesco thanks so much for my free tiger bread.lovely ladies handing them out around our street due to the recent refurb at Toton Nottingham."
When Tesco did exactly the same thing after refurbishments at a store in Cambridgeshire, the response on social media was overwhelmingly positive. One Facebook user wrote: "Got free bread from a lady from Tesco Bar Hill coming round the estate thanking us for being so patient during their refurbishment... I think someone has been losing customers..." Another tweeted: "Haha love that Tesco are giving out free bread to every house". And another, slightly confused Cambridgeshire local wrote: " Okkkkkk, knock at the door, open it, it's a lady from Bakery Dept@Tesco delivering free Tiger Bread Loafs!! Thanks @Tesco"
In other instances, even when the gesture has been decidedly more generous, some people remained unimpressed. Just under two years ago, when Tesco was selling a limited edition version of the video game Assassin's Creed, they accidentally sold more than they had available, and when they informed people of their mistake, as a goodwill gesture they sent the standard version of the game - worth £40 - completely free. However, even then one person took to a deals website to complain.
But what do you think? Was this a pathetic attempt at PR, or are people just asking too much?
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