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Monday, September 28, 2009

Post #25- Frito Lay Four Cheese Doritos--The Big Cover-up

I sent this on 1/25/2009.

Dear Frito Lay,

I spend my days up in the trees hosting corporate team building exercises on rope courses, 100 feet above ground. These exercises utilize peoples’ fears of heights and wedgies, to break down interpersonal barriers, and develop a foundation of trust. Participants must rely upon one another to progress through the course, promoting teamwork and honesty. At the end of the long days, nothing tastes better than a delicious, healthy-in-moderation salty snack from my pals at Frito Lay.

By the end of the course, people know quite a bit more about one another, and hopefully, something about themselves. One of the keys to this entire process is an uncompromised trust in me, their leader. That trust was compromised on our most recent adventure.

Generally, I provide lunch—a party sub, a cooler full of artificially flavored lemon drink, and a big bag of chips. On this particular day, I selected your Four Cheese Doritos from my grocer’s shelf. I thought the four cheeses could symbolize the four characteristics of a good team: Cohesion, Leadership, Obedience, and Trust. Without trust, there is no basis for leadership, obedience or cohesion. It’s one big frigging Rube Goldberg.

As we were enjoying our midday lunch, socializing, learning about one another, I learned that Connie from Accounting was a label reader. With her hair in a tight bun, and gray, shapeless outfit, Connie read the back of the Dorito Bag. In the Four Cheese Dorito ingredients, Connie counted six cheeses: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, American, Swiss, and Colby. Each of these could go solo and carry their own chip flavor. Pardon me, Frito Lay, but where do you get off trying to “slip one by” on us?

Connie accused me of lying to her, which destroyed the trust that we had built all morning. She said, “If you are lying about tasty snack chips, what else are you hiding?” Connie created mutiny in the high trees—the entire team refused to participate in the afternoon activities. She questioned my certifications and the safety of the tree course. At one point, she suggested that my safety wires were fastened to the trees using Elmer’s Glue, and tattled to OSHA, who threatened to shut me down until a formal investigation could take place. I had to issue a letter of apology.

In a society where “more is better”, if the additional cheeses were a good thing, I’m sure your marketing team would want to boast: “Hey World, Our Chips Have Six Cheeses!” What is wrong with cheeses five and six, and why are you hiding behind the number four? Which of these are the second string cheeses?

Also, why do you always make the bag smaller and maintain the price? Are you trying to make me thinner? As a snacker, you have instilled distrust in me. I may have to shift my snacking allegiances to this upstart local company, Better Made. I would appreciate a written explanation regarding this erosion of trust. It seems that someone in your organization has cut the cheese.



Reply dated 1/26/09:
Response from Frito-Lay RE: Doritos, Reference #010449648A

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We certainly appreciate your concern on this important matter. Please know your comments will be shared with the appropriate teams within our company. Frito-Lay is committed to providing snacks of the highest quality and keeping our prices as low as possible. We make every effort to hold our prices, but inflation has increased our costs for doing business. As in all other industries, our expenditures for labor, ingredients, production and distribution all continue to rise. Even though Four-Cheese Doritos is made with six different cheeses, the main flavor notes are from the first four cheeses listed on the ingredient statement. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Thank you again for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Best regards, Linda
Frito-Lay Consumer Affairs
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  1. more isn't always better is it?
    maybe instead of putting more cheese they could take some preservatives out? this would definitely build more trust :)

  2. Kait--those aren't "preservatives". They're "Freshness Enablers".

    They use that orange stuff to paint parking lot spaces and median lines.