A complaint to the good people at Kellogg

Now I shall be honest with you (well it’s only fair) and inform you right away that this is my recollection of an event that happened many years ago, long before “blogging” became the national preoccupation. Back in those days, I had a friend and we’ll call him Peter, since that was actually his name. Peter was a nice chap, an ordinary chap. The sort of reliable friendly chap to whom nothing really remarkable ever happened. Until that is, the day he visited the local corner shop. His purchase, on that otherwise unnoteworthy of days, was a Mars bar. You’ll remember that those are the confectionery items which William Dagnall (writer of the famous slogan as a competition tie breaker in 1966) and the Mars Company marketing people (rather optimistically I always thought) heralded would help us to “work, rest and play“, but only on the very specific condition that we bought one every single day. The exact science behind the claim was never fully explained to us, certainly not to the degree which say, a shampoo would have been.

Well. Not two bites into the aforementioned work, rest and play aide and things took a nasty turn. For there, lurking within the soft nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate, was a “foreign body”. Now sadly, age, years of naturism and a debilitating addiction to the music of Abba, render me unable to accurately remember the exact object that Peter found within his Mars bar (and if you’re ever starving in Ely, there’s one buried behind the stonework of the Cathedral) but I believe it was a bit of glass, or a nail or possibly a trombone. It matters not though really. The point is, that he read the small print on the wrapper and complained by sending the half-eaten chocolate complete with non-confectionery ingredient, back to the Mars company complaints department, stating when and where he purchased it. At this point surely we should spare a thought for the people who work in those departments who regularly receive half-eaten products, complete with dead mice, masonry items and the odd musical instrument. I’d like to think that they have some sort of Wall of Shame where these foreign objects are displayed, presumably behind thick, odour-proof glass.

Anyway the point is that the Mars company were very sorry for his unfortunate ‘find’ and by way of compensation, they sent him a wholesale box of 48 Mars bars. Oh yes, there was certainly no stopping either his working, his resting or indeed his playing for at least seven long calorie-infused, sugar-fuelled weeks.

“Well that’s all very fine and dandy and possibly quite tooth decaying, but what has that got to do with ‘Kellogg’?” I hear you demand forcefully as if your very lives depended upon it. And as you’ve been good enough to read this far, I think that you deserve to be told straight away.

I love Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Always have done since I was a little boy. Corn Flakes with cold milk in the warm months for breakfast and porridge in the winter, with just the occasional foray into the snapping, crackling and popping world of Rice Krispies on holy days and birthdays. And as any Corn Flakes connoisseur will tell you, you occasionally get a burnt flake of corn within your breakfast bowl. But one day, not long after Peter’s calorie-laden delivery from Slough (where apparently they make 3,000,000 (three million) Mars bars every day) I had the most shocking of breakfast experiences. For there, within my Tony the Tiger bowl (one free with six coupons from special packs) was not one, but TWO burnt Corn Flakes. This was unheard of. I first of all checked to see if they fitted together – for surely this was simply one burnt Corn Flakes that had broken in two. But no. There were TWO distinct and separate burnt flakes of corn.

And I had an idea.

I would write to Kellogg. Not only that, but I would send them the evidence and no doubt within a matter of days, they would send me a whole truck laden with pallets full of the largest size boxes of Corn Flakes. I’d never again have to queue in a supermarket for my breakfast cereal. Oh sure I’d probably have to build a special shed to store the lifetime’s supply in, but it would be well worth it. So my letter to the good people of Kellogg, went something like this :

Dear Kellogg’s complaint department,

Firstly may I take this opportunity to say how delighted I am to finally correspond with your excellent company. I have been a devoted fan of your Corn Flakes ever since I was a little boy when we had Corn Flakes with cold milk in the warm months for breakfast and porridge in the winter, with just the occasional foray into the snapping, crackling and popping world of Rice Krispies on holy days and birthdays.

Yours is a most excellent breakfast cereal and it is always a pleasure to start the day with a bowl of your delicious golden flakes of corn. I am particularly impressed with the very high standards of quality which you obviously insist on throughout the manufacturing process. Every box seems to be have made with individual care and attention to detail. You must all be very proud of your most famous flagship product. So imagine if you will, my immense disappointment recently when I rushed down for what I expected to be a bowl full of golden sunshine cereal, only to discover not one, but TWO burnt Corn Flakes falling into my bowl! As everyone knows, there is the occasional burnt flake in a box, and we expect that. It’s not something to get excited about. But TWO?? Well that’s just unheard of. I cannot imagine how your normally high standards of quality and care slipped so far as to enable these two offending items to make their way into a box bearing your company name and logo. I felt sure that you would want this highly unusual slip to be brought to your attention immediately. This shocking event was very upsetting and totally spoilt my breakfast experience that day.

You will find that I have enclosed, a matchbox, lined carefully with cotton-wool, within which are the TWO offending burnt Corn Flakes. I imagine you’ll want to forensically examine them and conduct an internal quality audit. But please remember that everyone is human and entitled to a second chance. I’d hate to think that any of your employees were dismissed for what is I’m sure, a very rare slip indeed.

Yours most faithfully,
Mr. James McCann Esq.

And as explained, I carefully wrapped the TWO burnt Corn Flakes in cotton-wool, popped them into a matchbox and sent them off to the good people at Kellogg. Now I’m not saying that my excitement was growing, but I remember asking a couple of neighbours not to park their cars outside as I was expecting a very large truck to make a delivery within the next few days. I cleared the driveway and made space for the pallets of Corn Flakes boxes to be off-loaded, although of course I had no idea exactly how many tons they would send.

Well time passed and after a week i still hadn’t heard anything. And then I received this letter :

Dear Mr McCann,

Thank you so very much for your recent kind letter. It is a real pleasure for us at Kellogg when loyal customers such as yourself, take the time out of their busy day to write to us.

You are right in that we do take great pride in the quality of our products, particularly our flagship product, the Corn Flakes. You cannot imagine how truly upset we all were to learn of your most unfortunate and distressing experience at the breakfast table on the day when you had to suffer, not one but TWO burnt Corn Flakes. We simply cannot imagine how this could have happened. We can completely understand that this shocking event must have been very upsetting and would I’m sure, have totally spoilt your breakfast experience that day.

On behalf of the entire company, may I take this opportunity to offer to you … {here it comes I thought – clear the driveway} … our most sincere and deepest apologies and to send to you with our compliments TWO replacement Corn Flakes which I hope will add to your next breakfast experience.

Yours sincerely,

Kelloggs customer services.

You guessed it. I got my matchbox back, carefully packed with cotton-wool, containing two replacement Corn Flakes!!


About Words of Little Relevance

Freelance stage manager; software and web tester; Excel and map geek; Tweeter; Blogger and Cake Eater. Often back-stage in and around Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire where I move scenes, or play with lights or sound.
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3 Responses to A complaint to the good people at Kellogg

  1. harry haithcoat 10 fond du ln fenton, mo, 6302611 says:

    I injoyed your comments and I must admit I have never had problems with the product itself and still don’t unless you count either eating off the floor or just sweeping them up and throwing away, well it was the latter with me, for the bottom of the bag leaked allover my floor and counter so I just put some packaging tape on it and bingo problem solved but then the next bag same problem so I decided to check the other 2 boxes and they had the same problem, so thus is the complaint I have 4 family size boxes and all of the bottom seals are barely touching and are not in the middle at all, so I’m not looking for coupons or nothing like that and just making you aware of the problem that others might be experiencing and thus making you aware of the problem, thank you for litening to me problem, harry

  2. Thank you for your comment Harry. You should probably contact the good people at Kellogg who I’m sure would be delighted to address your concerns. Their contact details for the USA can be found here.

  3. Pingback: My default state is ‘shall_i_cook=no’. But then I had a beer! | Words Of Little Relevance

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