Incompetence and lies (rant alert)

On Thursday, I placed an order with Garden Bird Supplies, also known as Garden Bird & Wildlife Co, also known as the Garden & Home Trading Company Limited trading as Garden Bird Supplies. You can find them here. Here are their delivery guidelines.


It very clearly says that if you place your order before 2pm, goods in stock will be dispatched the same day for delivery. Of course, they cover this up with bluster about it may take the courier 48 – 72 hours. But what it doesn’t say is that it could take up to 2 hours before your order is actually passed on and that cancels out the 2pm pledge, and what it also doesn’t say is that they only deliver Monday to Friday. Does it? (checks again) No.

On Friday, I received an email from UK Mail advising me that my parcel would be delivered today. I thought it was spam as I wasn’t waiting for anything from UK Mail. Then I thought perhaps it was Garden Bird & Wildlife Co. Oh, okay, I thought. They must be busy. I’ll give them until today.

Meanwhile, we passed up several opportunities to buy our garden birds any food as (a) I had already paid for it (yes, they managed to take the money before 2pm on Thursday), and (b) we “knew” it would be here today.

This morning, I received an email telling me that my order would be delivered between 11:20am and 12:20pm. When that time slot passed, I checked the tracking number to find that my delivery had been made at 12:05pm. Apparently to a blue door next to a green door. All of our doors, and our neighbours’ doors are brown. There are no other houses in the vicinity.

I called UK Mail immediately and they said they would ask the driver to go back and retrieve the parcel and try to deliver it again … Apart from that already being a problem if the people he delivered it to aren’t in, I’ve since had an email from them saying they’ve not been able to contact the driver and will have to speak instead to his head office … I thought I’d already called them but I was clearly mistaken.

So then I thought I should let Garden Bird Supplies (or whatever they’re calling themselves) know about this. I sent them an email. They ignored it. I sent them a Tweet. They ignored that too. I posted on their Facebook page. They ignored that too. I sent them a message from the contact page on their website. They ignored that too. And then I called them. And they cut me off.

Aren’t they doing well?

I called them again, and by this time my blood was really starting to bubble. So the first thing I asked them was why my parcel couldn’t be delivered on Friday.

The conversation went something like this:

“Because the order wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“But my order was placed before 2pm, like it says on the website.”
“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“Yes, but I have confirmation that my order was placed at 13:51 and 11 seconds. Look.”


“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm. We can’t fulfil an order until it’s received in processing.”
“But the website doesn’t say that. It says if you order before 2pm, goods in stock will be dispatched the same day.”
“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“Okaaay, so why wasn’t it delivered on Saturday?”
“We only deliver Monday to Friday.”
“But it doesn’t say that on your website …”
“No, it doesn’t. You’re right. Anyway, I’ve just checked the order and it’s been delivered.”
“Erm, no it hasn’t …”
“Oh. Can you tell me, do you have a blue door and a green door at your property?”
“No we don’t. They’re all brown.”
“What about your neighbours?”
“Their doors are all brown too.”
“What about other houses in the vicinity?”
“There are no other houses in the vicinity.”
“Oh. Then I’ll have to get onto them.”
“I’ve already done that. They don’t know where it is.”
“Oh, so what would you like me to do today for you?”
“I’d like you to start by refunding me my money so that I can go out and buy my garden birds some food.”
“I’ll have to check with the courier first …”
“No. You don’t understand. I’ve already done that. They don’t know where it is. This parcel should have been here on Friday. My garden birds have no food. I want you to refund me my money NOW so I can go and buy them some food.”
“Um, okay, I’ll go and do that now.”
“Thank you.”

I also just recently finally had an email reply from the second email I sent, saying they’d refunded the money.

It’s now 14:57. I just checked with my bank account. The money hasn’t been refunded yet.

I used to order from this company a long time ago and I was very happy with their service. A few months ago, I started a new account with them, placed my first order, and it was delivered before 10am the very next day. The driver didn’t get lost. The parcel didn’t go to the wrong address. I didn’t have to wait 4 days for a next-day delivery that never arrived.

What a difference just one day can make. They have gone so far down in my estimation I never intend to use them again. And all of those recommendations I made previously? I’m now making them the opposite way.

In future I’ll stick to ordering directly from the RSPB and pay their delivery. I’ll let you know if I have more success.

And for now, I’ll just feel guilty watching my garden birds look for food that isn’t there until I can get out and buy them some.

***end of rant ***

Free food

Blackberries and elderberries – free food. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

We had a very tiring weekend with 2 gigs on the trot, but we were determined to do something for us as well, and so on Saturday we went shopping for jam jars, chutney jars, sloe gin bottles, jelly bags, jelly bag frames and labels.

We also bought a trug, extra ingredients for tomato and apple chutney, some art supplies, and some pet and bird food.

When we got back, we had a rest – shopping is soooo tiring – then the poet grabbed the trug and I grabbed the dog, and off we went for a walk down our lane. One of the neighbours was just pulling in, so the poet very quickly swapped his very unmanly trug for the dog and said hello to normal neighbour in one of his very manly deepest voices!

We walked for a mile, up to Little Owl Stop (our nickname for it), and filled the trug with just over a kilogram of blackberries (apx 2lb) and about half a kilo (apx 1lb) of elderberries. When the trug started to get heavy, he took control of it again, being a proper manly gentleman and all that. (The little owl was out, unfortunately.)

It was too late to do anything with any of it when we got back as he had to get ready for gig #2. But on Sunday, after a well-earned lie-in, he asked me to help him make the jam. We ended up with 3 x 500g jars of blackberry jam and 1 x 500g jar of blackberry and elderberry jam – and it looks like proper jam too, and everything. 😀

After a quick break, he then helped me make the chutney. I don’t like chutney and I’ve never made it before, so I needed him to tell me if it looked right. He did most of the chopping while I did most of the cooking and stirring, and when that was ready we got 5 jars out of it. He said it tastes right, so I presume it is.

For those interested, the recipe we used for the jam is here, adjusted to suit the amount of berries we had – but made with ordinary granulated sugar and no pectin – and the one we used for the chutney is here – but we only used 1.5kg of tomatoes and 2 of the chillies. For the blackberry and elderberry jam we just used the amount of blackberries that were left and the same again of elderberries. That jam caught a bit before the end, and almost ruined the pan (Mr Muscle to the rescue …), but it tastes all right.

We’re very proud of our produce this weekend, but still have lots of cooking apples left. I wanted to make a crumble and some pies, but we ran out of time and energy. So I’ll do those this week. We’re going to try adding some of the elderberries to the crumble.

The hedgerows were bursting with sloes and I wanted to pick those too, but the poet had heard that you’re supposed to either leave them until after the first frost, or pick them and freeze them. As we don’t have any experience with sloes just yet, we decided to leave them. But a friend assured us they’d be fine (waves towards Brum) if we picked them now and froze them, so we may go and get those this coming weekend.

jam and chutney
Five jars of tomato and apple chutney, 3 jars of blackberry jam, 1 jar of blackberry and elderberry jam. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today the poet is working in the midlands, so he’s dropping in to see my parents on his way back.

I’m awaiting a bird food delivery, I have a particularly heavy edit to carry on with and another one to start ASAP. So I’ll be off for now.

Enjoy the pictures. 🙂