Anyone for salt cod patties?

The Fish Society | 18.08.2021

No distribution system is perfect. If your socks arrive a day late, you probably won’t even notice. But day late deliveries of our highly perishable products are one of the most challenging aspects of our business.

The context

We pack our orders to give them the maximum chance of coping with being a day late. This is an especially expensive challenge for a small order. Keeping 300 grams of sashimi frozen outside a freezer for 40 hours basically defies the laws of physics. Battered product is tricky too. Those delicate flakes of batter go soft well before the product inside them defrosts.

Nevertheless, it usually works out OK. A day late delivery may be a little defrosted but most customers understand it’s fine to refreeze (as long as it’s still cold – see below). We give them a little credit to acknowledge all was not perfect. What’s next?   

A few customers regard a day late delivery as personal affront... "How can you be so incompetent?". They can be very rude. They demand a full refund. We don't normally discuss them in polite company. But they are essential context for this tale of a customer who ordered for his daughter...

This episode (which unfolded entirely by email)

Fish Soc

I am sorry that DPD was unable to deliver your order for Dr Smith [names changed] yesterday. However, we are in contact with DPD and expect this to be with her by 6pm today. [The rest of this email was our standard advice about defrosts and is reproduced at the bottom of this post.]


Good morning Liz. I trust that you are well. Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply. I have forwarded the information to my daughter - this really is not very convenient for her as she has to be at the hospital today, so I don't know whether there will be any one to receive the order. Nevertheless, I hope that the lobster will still be edible when she finally receives it! Kind regards,

Fish Soc
Good Morning Mr Smith. I am well thank you and hope that you are too. We understand that your daughter will need to be away working today and I can see that the note is to leave the fish by the front door which DPD will do. When your daughter unpacks the fish and if she finds that it has defrosted and is warm then please do let us know so that we can either arrange a refund or replacement to be sent if preferred.


Thank you very much indeed for your graciousness, Liz - let's hope for the best! All the very best for a fulfilling and productive week ahead! 

Fish Soc
You too, thank you for being a lovely customer!


Hi Liz  I am pleased to inform you that whilst the lobster was fully thawed out, it was still in good condition and was fine when my daughter used it in a sauce last night. The salt cod fritters were also fully thawed out, and had congealed into a solid mass! (I have attached a photograph for you reference) However, my daughter has reshaped them into patties and has refrozen them, so they should be fine - no harm done!

many thanks indeed for your kind attention to this order,  take care

Fish Soc

Good morning Mr Smith - Thank you for your email and for being so very reasonable and understanding about your defrosted order. Whilst both items will be fine to eat/ refreeze we have given you a £20 refund by way of an apology for the delay and condition of your order.

Kind regards


Hi Kim, great hearing from you. This is indeed extremely generous of you. However, if you haven't already processed the refund, I would be very grateful if you would kindly NOT issue a refund to me please. I hope you won't take offence, but if it is at all possible, I would very much appreciate it if the GBP20 could be donated to a charity or fund associated with the NHS frontliners please. If you have already done so, then I shall ask my daughter to make the donation on my behalf. I am actually in Indonesia, whilst my daughter is a doctor in Wales. warm regards,


Our standard advice about defrosts

We pack our parcels well and they usually cope with the delay.

  • We use dry ice and thermal packaging to keep your fish cold in transit. We use extra dry ice during warm weather. 
  • Most shipments arrive frozen but this is not guaranteed. However your fish should still be at a very low temperature when you open your box and therefore suitable to put in your freezer. 
  • Our checkout warns that some deliveries arrive a day late. Our Terms & Conditions require you to accept a late delivery. If you do not accept the delivery, you will not be eligible for a refund. 



Please recognise that if you would be happy to put our fish in your fridge to eat in the next 24 hours, then you should be equally happy to freeze it. Freezing never makes things worse.

If you do refreeze it and are not happy when you come to eat it, just call us and we will make a refund.

When the parcel arrives, please let us know 

If you have any questions, please place the fish into your freezer and call 01428 687768 or email us at

Kind regards,



PS Regarding refreezing

  • The standard advice about never refreezing a defrosted product has to be simple because it is aimed at 60 million people including many unaware that frozen food degrades at room temperature.   
  • Fish is safe to refreeze as long as its temperature has not exceeded 8 degrees centigrade. In practice, that means, Is it cold to the touch? If it's cold, it's fine.
  • Many foods are routinely defrosted and refrozen during processing. Much of the fish sold on trays in supermarkets is defrosted and yet says it can be refrozen.


Next Smoked fish customer day

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