I’ve talked about brand values and somewhere along the line I sure I said that I choose to shop at Waitrose instead of Tesco or Sainsbury’s. Since Waitrose is part of the John Lewis partnership I have had one of their credit cards for a while (my local Waitrose was one of the first where you could scan your own shopping as you collected it, but you needed to have one of their cards to logon to the scanning system).

We have a project in the office for which needs some large hard disks, and I got approval to go out and buy them and expense them back. For at least the last 10 years been using Scan for this sort of thing, and they had the right disks at the right price; so yesterday after I had finished my part of the unplugged , I went on-line and ordered them. I was impressed with what happened next… before Scan’s website had sent displayed the order confirmation page my phone started to ring. I grabbed it and ran out of the session which was going on. It was the fraud prevention people at John Lewis checking that the transaction was legitimate. HSBC – who run the card for them – must have a team who just get fed with one transaction after another which needs checking: that sounds like a pretty miserable job to me, but the person who called me was friendly and looked after my interests with the minimum of fuss and bother. I talked about the HSBC’s first direct subsidiary being “people ready” a little while ago and it’s another example. And as for Scan … well they mailed me with progress of my order as the picked and despatched it – and I know it’s waiting at the parcel depot a few miles away for delivery on Monday. That’s pretty people-ready too.