The Dangers of Anonymous Feedback

February 12, 2011

Some years ago I “rescued” the following from an about to be dismantled Company Intranet Server. A Feedback Form/Suggestion Box had been put up about the Catering Facilities – like many companies, this one had brought someone else in to run them. The company concerned insisted on referring to the place as a Restaurant and got quite shirty when everyone else insisted on calling it the canteen. This was nothing compared to their reaction when they discovered the (unmonitored) Feedback was almost universally critical of their operation – they insisted on it being deleted as you will see from the first message below – however it wasn’t long before even more appeared. To give you a flavour of what was there, messages included suggesting using the beef to repair road surfaces, claiming to have lost a series of yellow frisbees with “mushroom-effect tops” on the day that some exceptionally hard pizzas were on the menu, and moaning about the fact that whatever was on the menu had invariably sold out before 12:30. The name of the company has been changed to protect the guilty….

[Company A] Feedback

From:
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 19/09/01
Time: 10:45:55
Comments
For some reason I am unable to read all the past feedback. Is this because [Company A] have now decided to act on this -( a vain hope I feel), or is it because the number of issues raised and NOT being acted on was filling the page? Oh well – may as well get used to just the 4 miniature meatballs on a mountain of dry rice, served between 12.00 and 12.04, with as much dehydrated brunch as you can stomach- and Tan painted golf balls as rolls.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 21/09/01
Time: 14:30:18
Comments
Well Done ! What an excellent effort on the Burger front !. Fine succulent beef topped with two well cooked rashers of Bacon lovingly covered in melted cheese all served up in a fresh tender bap ! Mmmmmmmmm.

Oh, erm, hang on a minute – I was at the Pub wasn’t I , best ignore this one. Sorry .

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 03/10/01
Time: 10:19:33
Comments
As a conscientious diner , always looking for the healthy option on the comprehensive [Company A] menu, I need some advice as to the chipped ‘potatoes’ served on Tuesday.

Were these low fat chips or not? I ask because the omission of all potato in them may well have at first seemed to be a healthy idea but surely compensating for the missing potato with crispy fat must have made the initial exclusion a waste of time?

In fact it seems that the potato section is having a bad week. Monday’s mash must only have been given the name due to the Modest Attention of Someone’s Hands….As each scoop was actually a boiled potato wrapped in a thin jacket of real mash.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 04/10/01
Time: 11:31:30
Comments
Weren’t todays ( Wednesday 03/10/01 ) ‘Chips’ The very same ones as yesterday ? – with the obvious exception of the few eaten yesterday by unfortunate diners. I wonder if they make their third appearance today?

Is this Bad Spud Week or something???

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 09/10/01
Time: 14:19:03
Comments
Have just had lunch for the second day in the small canteen at [Site in Germany]. On both days the food has been brilliant. Today got a large pork meat balls type thing in gravy with a big pile of fries and a large plate of salad. Washed down with a half litre bottle of coke. All for $3 (that should be three pounds but I can’t find the pound sign on the German keyboard) The canteen is in a small room with only five or six tables and it has no pretentions of being a “restaurant”. It does have the important ingredients of properly cooked and tasty food present in large volumes. I don’t think you can ask for too much more.

Not sure what’s on offer for the vegetarian diner other than lettuce and cabbage but it’s well worth trying to get on a [Site in Germany] based project just to get a decent lunch.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 10/10/01
Time: 09:56:59
Comments
Just ensure you put a towel on your seat early enough to ensure you get a meal.

Agree about the priorities – good fare should be the top of the list , with silly unreachable floral bunks right at the bottom.

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From: Bob the Builder
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 23/10/01
Time: 11:17:30
Comments
After being OK for a few weeks, the chocolate is now white again having been frozen at some point. This renders it inedible.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 24/10/01
Time: 12:48:17
Comments
This canteen is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. In fact – less use. With a chocolate teapot there is at least SOMETHING to eat of your choice, Unlike the canteen after 30 mins serving.( and the chocolate would not have been frozen) Suggestion … When issuing the menu for the day – Append with the line ‘choice of dish applies to first 50 customers, remainder have leftovers’

I am sick of giving this canteen the benefit of the doubt. It is actually rubbish.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 24/10/01
Time: 12:59:08
Comments
As a birthday gift I was presented with the Readers Digest Book of Pointless Treks. Amongst my Favourites Entries are the following:-

Travel up the M6 to the Lake District, visit the picturesque town of Windermere and ask any of the local Swans in swahili where you could buy a souvenir Hindenburg Disaster mug. or Walk to the [Company A] canteen after 30 mins serving time and ask for something on the menu.

I tried both of these and to my delight – I got a mug !!.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 12/11/01
Time: 15:12:07
Comments
Good veggie chilli today – seemed quite popular too.

Thanks.

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From: A NOT VERY GOOD GUESSER
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 14/11/01
Time: 09:28:26
Comments
IS THE CHRISTMAS MEAL FREE IF YOU CAN GUESS WHEN IT IS?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 15/11/01
Time: 15:29:35
Comments
The vegetable curry today was awful. Mushy veg in peppery water (not even a sauce). Undercooked rice.

The helping was miserly too – perhaps a blessing though.

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From: Mr. D. Gloucester
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 05/12/01
Time: 12:44:56
Comments
It was disappointing today to see the cheese & onion pie mysteriously become a pasty. Additionally the said pasty had negligible filling and a ridiculously flakey casing.

The pie is usually excellent, good value and rightly popular. So why not offer it rather than a cheap and nasty substitute?

ps. will the Christmas dinner veggie option really be pie or not?

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From: A Pastie Supporter
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 06/12/01
Time: 12:03:19
Comments
I would like to object to the earlier comment from a Mr D Gloucester which implied that pasties are a ”cheap and nasty substitute”. Clearly the author of this message has not sampled the veritable delights offered by a true cornish pastie (not necessarily the cheese & onion variety offered more locally). Such a cornish pastie consists of a pastry case filled with meat, potatoes and vegetables, which was the traditional midday meal of Cornish tin miners. The thick pastry crust is joined on the side of the pastie not the top, so that the miners, who had no way of washing their hands in the mines, could hold the pastie by the crust, eat the main part of it and then throw the crust away.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 07/12/01
Time: 11:13:01
Comments
Given that [Company A] are making the effort to provide meat eaters with a special meal for the Christmas Dinner, how about doing something special for Vegetarians as well? Cheese and Onion pie is hardly anything different from the usual fare on offer for Veggies – how about something like a Nut Roast?

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From: R. Leicester
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 07/12/01
Time: 12:23:00
Comments
Cornish pasties may well be a tasty snack , both hygienically and nutritionally satisfying when stuck at the bottom of a manky Cornish Tin Mine. But served in an office canteen in the loose guise of a cheese and onion pie, it falls flat on its Pastry backside.

Another difference between the Cornish and [Company A] varieties is that at least with the Cornish you only throw the crust away, not the entire thing.

I agree that it is the poorest option ever on a Christmas Vegetarian Menu.

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From: Mr. D. Gloucester
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 07/12/01
Time: 15:54:14
Comments
Let’s just be thankful that the Christmas veggie option wasn’t that bland, drab pasta bake so often dragged out on days when imagination seems to escape [Company A]. Does anybody (or anything) with even a hint of a tastebud appreciate it?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 11/12/01
Time: 15:37:02
Comments
Not very adventurous on the veggie front this week – veggie chilli sin carne Monday, then 5 bean chilli on Tuesday.

Now I’m fed up of chilli perhaps the curious choice of cheese pie for veggie Christmas dinner becomes more attractive.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 13/12/01
Time: 15:56:17
Comments
Now that is what I would call a Chilli Reception.

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From: Bernard Matthews
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 14/12/01
Time: 15:03:49
Comments
Congratualtions!!! A miracle (no you didn’t produce edible food). You turned chicken curry into turkey curry. It was bad enough eating it first time round now your forcing upon us a second time under the guise of chicken. What have the chickens ever done to you? In a word, it was FOWL (no pun inteded).

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From: M. Gandhi
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 08/01/02
Time: 16:45:11
Comments
Congrats for a good chick pea curry today.

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From: A meat eater
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 10/01/02
Time: 11:13:38
Comments
Just to say that there were only 2 omissions from the steak and kidney pie, dished up on Wednesday. Unfortunately these were , in order of importance, 1-Steak 2-Kidney

I appreciate that substituting Mushroom for Kidney may seem a good idea, and may fool the less discerning carnivore, But imagine if God had tried the same trick during creation. Where would we be now?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 18/02/02
Time: 09:55:19
Comments
Every day at 09:35 the canteen sells its last toasted tea cake. Now I’m no brain surgeon but woudn’t it be advisable to ORDER MORE tea cakes. Just a suggestion.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 12/03/02
Time: 14:41:46
Comments
Whatever happened to the Brunch that seemed to be on offer several days a week? It seemed quite popular so why withdraw it?

Another question – is it possible to use better quality baking potatoes? I know they’re commonly called jacket potatoes but does that mean that they have to taste like the lining of a jacket, ie. dry and fibrous?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 18/03/02
Time: 09:53:08
Comments
Regarding the brunch, the fact that is was popular is precisely why it has been withdrawn. You should know better.

Its good to see that [Company A] read this feedback. I commented on the lack of teacakes a few weeks ago and the very next day the problem was solved. To ensure that there are still teacakes available after 09:35, they only put them out at 09:40 now, INGENIOUS! This has now been further fine tuned, they just dont sell them at all now. Thanks very much.
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From: Alan
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 19/03/02
Time: 10:51:52
Comments
Have you considered cooking the chips before serving them?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 19/03/02
Time: 10:52:44
Comments
Will you be taking euros soon? I’ve got a pocketful and would like to buy my lucnh with them.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 19/03/02
Time: 12:00:33
Comments
On the question of the tea cakes, you’ve obviously got too much time on your hands in the morning. Try working through your hunger

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 28/03/02
Time: 12:09:20
Comments
To the person with the pocketful of Euros. Why not exchange them and invest in a spell-checker for your PC?

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From: Mr Rathbone
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 28/03/02
Time: 12:18:46
Comments
From my PC I am able to print on a printer in another office. I find this invaluable, as do my colleagues. We queue our prints and collect them when we are less busy. Could we not apply the same ( or similar ) technology to a toaster in the canteen? That way we could leave it running, and queue toast orders to it and pick collect them when ready…If many people use this – the toast could have a seperator slice to distinguish whose is whose. You could also send a test slice – so that you can check the quality before sending the main order.

Is this possible ?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 09/04/02
Time: 16:33:41
Comments
I am on holiday next week , so can I just say in advance that the chips next Wednesday are totally undercooked.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 18/04/02
Time: 09:17:42
Comments
Well done! – I see you now cater for all tastes ! I know that being a naturist I am in the minority,but thanks for yesterdays efforts, they were barely edible!.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 24/04/02
Time: 13:11:16
Comments
was Meatloaf included on today’s choices so that only two out of three weren’t bad?

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 24/04/02
Time: 16:46:38
Comments
Not very imaginative from a veggie point of view:

Wednesday 24th – cauliflower bake Thursday 25th – broccoli bake Friday 26th – ??? let me guess, the usual end of week pasta bake?

Whatever happened to the reasonably good veggie chilli, and the veggie curry. I even complimented the chef on these, only for them never to be seen again.

Please be a little more imaginative towards veggies!

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From: Gordon Brown
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 25/04/02
Time: 14:15:25
Comments
Always one to be financially prudent, I can’t help noticing that since last week’s announcement of extra money for the NHS an extra penny has been added on to many prices in the Vending Machine on the 3rd Floor. May I remind [Company A] that I did not announce a further tax on chocolate and this is instead to be raised via National Insurance.

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From: A Bowl of Petunias
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 02/05/02
Time: 15:48:27
Comments
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if [Company A] posted their own messages on here – a sort of “Right to Reply” type thing – from time to time? At least then we’d know that this forum is being looked at, even if no action is taken as a result…. although I have to admit that I for one would miss the comedy aspect of many of these messages from contributors as diverse as M. Ghandi, Bernard Matthews, Bob the Builder, R. Leicester and D. Gloucester, A Pastie Supporter, and Gordon Brown.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 22/05/02
Time: 13:20:56
Comments
I was unimpressed with today’s roast beef. It had been placed under the heat lamps long enough to dry it out and make it difficult to chew, but then placed on the shelf in front of the carvery out with the heat of the lamps long enough for it to go cold. Broccoli was cold too (at 12.15pm!!) Please do better [Company A].

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: None
Date: 30/05/02
Time: 13:11:34
Comments
Todays Chilli. I think someone misread the recipe here. I think the tomato should have been pureed , rather than the actual beef. I have always found a good mincing ( ie shredding the beef in the manner of Julian Clary) , quite sufficient in this recipe . Mind you I saved 10 mins flexi being able to consume the stuff through a straw.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 30/05/02
Time: 14:59:27
Comments
I have been very disappointed with the portions the restaurant is serving and at the price you are charging, oh I must mention the roast chicken the other day what a RIP-OFF at over £2:20,as for the size of the potion I was still bloated two days later.

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From: P. Uke
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 27/06/02
Time: 12:37:06
Comments
Today’s veggie pasta bake (June 27th) was perhaps the most bland, tasteless, nauseating thing ever served in the “restuarant”.

I enjoy cooking but would not know where to start if I ever wanted to make anything worse.

I’m not just a habitual whinger – occasionally I’ve complemented dishes and menus.

Today the chef should be ashamed.

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From: Hungry of Lathom
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 02/07/02
Time: 15:54:34
Comments
I voiced my complaints regarding tea cakes some months back and was even helpful enough to offer a simple solution. There doesn’t seem to have been any improvement however as there are still none left after 09:35 every morning. So, once again, incase you missed it, here is my ingenious plan, wait for it, O-R-D-E-R M-O-R-E T-E-A C-A-K-E-S.

Thank you

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 25/07/02
Time: 09:58:09
Comments
Could I suggest the use of strategically placed commas in the daily menu sheet. Just to help clarify the individual dishes within “CANNELLONI BEEF MADRAS AND RICE MACCARONI HADDOCK MONTECARLO SOUP OF THE DAY- CELERY”

Other than that I think the restaurant bears favourable comparison with any other eatery in the entire world.

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 21/08/02
Time: 07:22:41
Comments
Take advice from Head Office on the chips. Also try and make a stronger curry.

From IT

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From: Korean Mafia
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 21/08/02
Time: 10:26:18
Comments
I agree with the earlier suggestion that [Company A] should order more teacakes, instead of thinking that only four people on the entire site will want one.

I think it would also be a good idea to revert to the old method of preparing them where a toaster is used. As opposed to the latest method where the friction of the knife seems to be relied upon.

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From: Party Animal
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 22/08/02
Time: 13:40:42
Comments
Looking back over this page, it seems we’re fast approaching a year since the last time [Company A] looked at this page. Anyone interested in a Birthday Party? It would have to be somewhere other than the Canteen – I beg your pardon, the (ahem) “Restaurant” – as we might want to eat something….

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From: Mr. D. Gloucester
Type_Of_Comment: Problem
Date: 30/10/02
Time: 10:54:07
Comments
Cheese pie again!?!?! That’s October 28th, 29th and 30th. Are we going for the record to see if it’s edible a whole week after making? Good though it was on the first day, surely the price should be reduced day by day as it becomes drier and stodgier, and as the risk of food poisoning inevitably increases.

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From: Moira
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 08/11/02
Time: 12:09:00
Comments
Yesterday’s chicken and ham pie was appalling. What was the mystery ingredient that made it taste so bad?

Please tell us [Company A]!

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From: D
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 20/11/02
Time: 13:29:39
Comments
Does the chef taste the food at all? Everything today was extremely salty!

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From: Jamie Oliver
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 16/12/02
Time: 14:37:51
Comments
Is it possible to thoroughly cook meals before they are served? For example December 13th’s chips and December 16th’s lasagne were very underdone.

Apart from that, season’s greetings and remember to cook the turkey well enough.

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From: Kapil Dev
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 03/02/03
Time: 12:23:10
Comments
How difficult is it to cook rice? Today’s “stuff” needed at least another 5 minutes. I’d rather wait another 5 minutes for a decent meal than be served this at 12.00.

Off to the dentist to replace a few fillings.

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At this point the contract was passed on to another company – though the staff was largely unchanged. However…..

From: Steve
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 09/05/03
Time: 11:55:00
Comments
On the first day of the [Company B] contract, a lady called Clare came to our table to ask our opinion of the service so far and our ideas for the future. We said we were concerned that we would no longer get curry. She assured us we would and promised that Chicken Korma would be served on 2nd May. It was not. In fact we have not had curry since [Company B] took over. Why not?

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From: Homer
Type_Of_Comment: Complaint
Date: 06/06/03
Time: 13:39:24
Comments
Just a few gripes on the continuing falling standards of the canteen ie. choice, quality and cost.It was accepted grudgingly that a charge had to be made for the carry-out containers,(no discount I notice for the fact that there is no washing up needed), but to charge for a sachet of sauce is the last straw.From now on I shall be joining that happy breed who bring in their own lunch.

PS. I don’t want to cause any trouble, but I found a piece of fish wrapped up in the batter that I bought today. Doh!.

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From: B. Demented
Type_Of_Comment: Praise
Date: 04/07/03
Time: 12:31:10
Comments
Thank you for, What was my first ever vegetarian chicken salad sandwich. Although I was thinking of going veggi, I see no reason in this day and age why I should be given the choice. Thanks!

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From:
Type_Of_Comment: Suggestion
Date: 08/07/03
Time: 10:32:29
Comments
As the menu displayed in the canteen for the week, could it possibly be displayed on the intranet for the week as well? Please can you bring back the Buxton flavoured waters?

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So how bad was this place? Probably not quite as bad as the above makes out. However it was a long way from good especially for non-meat eaters; one time I was forced to leave the site to find something to eat as there was nothing (not even a sandwich) suitable for Veggies after 40 minutes of serving; one visiting group of Italians were horrified to discover the travesty masquerading as Lasagne; and increasing numbers of people gave up on eating there full stop and relied on their own resources. I even went as far as to bring in my own (veggie) food to eat for the Christmas Meal to make sure I had something edible.

If nothing else though, it goes to show that if you have a feedback page you should always remember that it’s not just for show!

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