by Terry Milne

Lloyd and I decided to spend Christmas and the New Year in London.

We rented a great flat in Fulham, within walking distance to shops, restaurants, pubs and food markets. The flat came through Home from Home, a London based holiday rental company that delivers what they promise.

Cooking a classic Christmas turkey lunch was our goal. Christmas Eve to be given over to elegant seafood.

I had gone on-line at Waitrose to order the turkey, and also the seafood, as we weren’t arriving in time for
Trips to the Borough Market or other food delights.

Like every supermarket on the 23rd of December – it was packed. We negotiated our way through competing trolleys in the Keep Calm and Carry On spirit, accompanied by the carols of a Sally Ann brass band just outside. We went to a special service desk to pick up our orders. Turkey – check, Brussels Sprouts – check, Seafood Platter – oops. Three managers looked frantically in Waitrose cold storage but no seafood platter to be found.

Here follows the greatest repudiation for any past comments I may have made about lack of service in Britain. Waitrose has got it right. The manager refunded the full price for the seafood platter and then asked me to accompany him to the prepared seafood counter. He then selected every possible seafood item left in the counter. We had smoked salmon, Tsar Earl Grey Smoked Salmon, salmon mousse, crevettes, small scallop shells with prawn mousse, prawns and salmon tartare, tiny Hebrides dressed crabs, classic prawn cocktail and multiples of each.

Arranged on my new Cath Kidson platter, the seafood sparkled. Five adults sat down to Christmas Eve splendour. We ate every morsel.

Waitrose has won a customer for life. Why can’t Canadian supermarkets deliver like this?

Terry Milne is principal, with Lloyd Evans, in The Case For Wine, an Ontario wine agency.