On Boxing day 2009, unable to find a suitable joint of ham at either Sainsbury or Waitrose in Ringwood I made a 30 mile round trip to Tesco in Bournemouth Where I was successful in my mission. Whilst there I also purchased a joint of Rump steak and a joint of rolled shoulder of lamb, originally from the meat counter, sold at a reduced price of £4.15 for 668 grams. Both joints have remained frozen until January 22nd. 2010 when I defrosted the lamb, in Cornwall, for a dinner to which I had invited my neighbour. On inspection both of us thought that the lamb had mysteriously changed into a joint of pork. I sliced off a sample to cook and lo and behold the lamb had indeed changed into pork, a revolting roll of fatty Pork belly. It has since crossed my mind, as a former pioneer mixed-gas diver, to attempt walking on water. Since, for health reasons, neither of us eat pork we made do with a rather sad salad.

On January 23rd. I presented this offensive lump of pork to a customer service manager at the local Tesco store in Pool with a polite and reasonable request for a replacement of a joint of lamb of 668grams as denoted on the reduced price label. This was adamantly refused and an offer of a refund for the purchase was all that the CSO was able to offer.

At my request a manager was summoned, a young lad seemingly just off the school bus, whose manner was curt, dismissive and aggressive as he too adamantly made an offer of a refund only. When I explained that I had made a 30 mile round trip to buy the joint he jumped in and sneered in disbelief…”So now you expect us to repay for the mileage!” And all I was doing was attempting to bolster my case for a replacement joint.

When I warned him that I was thinking of publicising the incident on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter he again jumped the gun…”So now you are trying to bribe me!” The fact that I had already paid for the joint appeared to have escaped the cognitive faculties of this overly presumptive and aggressive youth. I explained further that I would post the incident anyway and that I was particularly interested in posting how he dealt with the complaint.

Although the reduced price label has a dedicated Tesco barcode and was paid for by direct debit, of which there will be a record, he insisted that he could do nothing further as it was a mandatory requirement that I have a receipt.

Soon I will be defrosting what purports to be a joint of rump steak which I fear may yet again prove to be just another lump of unappetising pork fat!