I just received the following text message from Tesco Direct:

From Tesco Direct. Your order, 10163572 is now ready for collection in LEYTONSTONE at the Tesco Direct Collection Point. Check desk opening times online.

It seemed a bit odd, as I haven’t placed an order with Tesco for about two years. It’s so long since I ordered anything from Tesco, that I don’t use the same email address anymore. Actually, I don’t even still live at the same address either. I logged into my old account and saw an email from Monday:

Proof of purchase for your Tesco direct order- please keep this email

Dear Mr Ward

Thanks for placing your order 10163572 with Tesco direct on Monday 13 June 2011.

PLEASE KEEP THIS EMAIL – YOU’LL NEED IT TO MAKE A RETURN
This email confirms your order – it’s also your proof of purchase. We won’t send you a separate receipt or invoice. You’ll need this email if you want to return any items in your order – you might want to print a copy.

COLLECTING YOUR ORDER
Please collect your order after 4pm on Wednesday 15 June 2011 from Leytonstone Tesco. The full store address is:
Gainsborough Road,
Leytonstone,
London

To check when the collection desk is open at this store, visit http://www.tesco.com/storelocator

To check when the collection desk is open at this store, visit http://www.tesco.com/storelocator

If you don’t collect your order within 14 days of the initial collection date, we’ll cancel your order and refund your payment.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING
If you paid for your order using a payment card, please bring the payment card with you.

If you paid for your order by any other means at a Tesco direct desk, then please bring this printed order confirmation email or till receipt as ID.

If you have lost the order confirmation email or till receipt, then please bring a recognised form of ID with you to collect your goods.There’s a full list of our recognised forms of ID at http://www.tesco.com/helpdirect.

YOUR ORDER SUMMARY:
===========================================
1 x Wham Crystal 110L Underbed storage box with lid, 2 pack blue*
Catalogue No: 901-6922
Our Ref (TPNB): 63837521
£29.00 (1 @ 29.00 each)

===========================================
Subtotal of all items:
£29.00

——————————————–
Delivery included

Total: £29.00
——————————————–

What was going on? Had my account been hacked? And if it had been hacked, why did they only buy a £29 storage box, rather than a laptop or something?1 Even if they didn’t have the ambition of buying a laptop with my money, wouldn’t you at least go for a pair of the Woodbury Under Bed Storage Boxes in antiqued pine for £80 rather than the blue Wham Crystal 110L Underbed storage boxes?

I phoned Tesco Direct. The automated voice gave me a selection of five options. If my call was relating to the iPhone, I should press 0. If my call was about placing a new order, I should press 1. If I was awaiting delivery on an order, I should press 2. If I wanted technical help with the Tesco website, I should press 3. For anything else, I should press 4. I pressed 4.

I was given four more options. If I was enquiring about delivery to non-mainland UK, I should press 0. If my call was about furniture delivery, I should press 1. If my call was about electrical goods, I should press 2. For anything else, I should press 3. I pressed 3.

I spoke to a man with a slight Scottish accent.

“Hallo, I just got a text message saying that my order was ready for collection at Leytonstone” I said.
“OK” he replied.
“I didn’t actually place an order” I said.
“Oh” he replied, “do you have an order number?
“Yes, it’s 10163572” I said.
“And can I take your surname? he asked.
“Yes, it’s Ward” I replied.

I gave him my postcode and he typed my details into his computer. “There was an order placed on Monday, could it have been placed by your wife, Cheryl?” he asked.
“I don’t know anyone called Cheryl” I replied.
“Ah, can you give me your house number?” he said.

I gave him my house number. “It looks like there’s someone else who lives in the same road, who has the same postcode and the same surname” he said.
“What? Really?” I asked.
“Yes. It looks like they paid cash. The item had to be delivered to the store, and they must have given their name and postcode and it was linked to your account by mistake”.
“What? Really?” I asked. “Can you check when the last order was made from this account?”
“In March” he said.
“March? What was the order for?”
“Storage boxes”
More storage boxes?”
“Yes” he said.
“What, really?” I asked.
“Like I say, I think it was just a mix up” he said.
“Oh, OK” I replied. I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping for something more exciting. This was just a fairly banal coincidence. Ward is quite a common surname. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that someone with the same name could live in the same street.

Of course, I do still have the proof of purchase email.

If you paid for your order by any other means at a Tesco direct desk, then please bring this printed order confirmation email or till receipt as ID.

If I went to the Leytonstone branch of Tesco with the email and collected the underbed storage boxes, would that count as stealing? I don’t actually want any underbed storage boxes, and if I were going to buy anything from the Wham storage range, I’d probably go for clear rather than blue, but these storage boxes would effectively be free. Should I get them anyway? Surely I should at least be entitled to the Clubcard points.

——
NOTES
1 Actually, on Monday, I wouldn’t have had enough money in my bank account to buy a laptop, so that attempt at fraud would have failed at the first hurdle, although I got paid on Wednesday, so it might be worth a second attempt now.

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