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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Post# 237 - Hey Nabisco - How About a Peanut Allergen-free Nutter Butter

I sent this note to Nabisco on 9/5/2011:

Dear Nabisco,

I'm an enormous fan of Nutter Butter cookies.  As with all things that I love, I obsess about them.  One year I went to a Halloween party, dressed as a giant Nutter Butter.  My girlfriend at the time, Nina, dressed as an E.L. Fudge, tried to remove my cookie coating, but that's a story for another day.

The end result of that night was a love child, young Carlton.  His mother and I aren't under the same roof anymore, but we set aside our animosities for the love of Carlton.  And when he turns 18, I'm gonna tell her off.  But that's a story for another day.

Young Carlton is a chip off the old block.  He's smart as a whip, agile as a mountain goat, and at his age, almost as sweet with the ladies as I was.  But that's a story for another day.
Here's the deal.  I love Nutter Butters.  They're part of  my life that I can't sacrifice.  On some level, I feel like Carlton deserves to try and enjoy the very cookie that played such a vital and unusual part in his origin.  However, you see, Young Carlton is allergic to peanuts.

I'm asking you as a passionate cookie fan, loving father, and spiteful ex-husband, to commence work on a peanut allergen-free Nutter Butter.  It would just be a Nutter Butter, but without the harmful peanut allergens matter.

Look, I'm not asking for results tomorrow.  Just come up with some prototypes within my lifetime.  Name your year.  2012?  Fine.  2016?  Perfect.  2024?  I guess that'll work.  How about sometime between now and 2041?  That gives you about 30 years.  I just want to share a Nutter Butter with my boy.

Is that too much to ask?

Please get started.  Only positive attitudes from here on out.


Nabisco response, receiced 9/13/2011:

Thank You for Contacting Us!

Hi Jerry,
Thank you for visiting

I appreciate you taking the time to let us know how much you enjoyed NUTTER BUTTER Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. We take great pride in providing high quality products that are convenient, taste good, and add nutritional value.

I also wanted to take a moment to address the idea you shared with us. Kraft's policy is to encourage innovation in terms of new product and packaging ideas from consumers. Our Innovation Team is always happy to hear and consider such ideas. The Innovations Team does not, however, consider unsolicited ideas for product line extensions, packaging changes, advertising, promotions and recipes.

We want you to know that comments shared by our consumers can be very helpful to Kraft. Various Kraft teams do review comments such as yours, which help us identify consumer trends, preferences and needs.

Again, we appreciate you contacting us and applaud both your creativity and loyalty.
If you haven't done so already, please add our site to your favorites and visit us again soon!
Kim McMiller
Associate Director, Consumer Relations


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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Post# 236 - Audiovox Car Alarms and Their Sexist Slogan, "Stop Him!"

My letter to Audiovox, sent 10/22/1996:

Dear Audiovox,

Your slogan, “Stop Him!” implies that only men steal cars.  This misleading statement disarms people from the potential of falling victim to a female thief.

As a psychologist who works in an all-woman half-way home, I rarely come in contact with other males.  What if I told you that I inadvertently left my alarm off in the half-way home parking lot because there isn’t another living man for miles?  What if I told you that a woman stole my ‘89 Beretta (and several other cars) and was caught six (6) months later stealing Bisquick and maple syrup at the Piggly Wiggly.

Your slogan implies that only men cause problems.  Men are pigs.  Men are worthless.  Men leave the toilet seat up.  Men eat all of the pretzels out of the Chex Mix.  Men caused our deficit.  Men invented P.M.S.  A man shot Lincoln.  Men raised our taxes.  Men are the root of all of our problems. 

“A woman would never think to do it.”  Remember--a woman caused our “game misconduct” in Eden.  A woman took a shot at President Ford.  A woman tore up a picture of the Pope on live TV (and went as Right Guard roll-on for Halloween).  A woman broke up the Beatles.  A woman invented those disgusting Raspberry/Coconut Zingers (Dolly Madison) and served them to the men as they prepared our first Constitution.  Woman are no better, or worse than men.  Always judge people based upon who they are--not their gender.

I think that you should change your slogan to “Stop Him, or Her!”  This would open everyones’ eyes.  This would eliminate the blind sight that you have created.  Maybe then, we could clot the crime that bleeds from the arteries of our society.  Let’s think about it.  Besides, your slogan is a slap in the face to the entire male gender.

Lastly, for all of the trouble that you have caused me, how about a free car alarm.


Response from Audiovox,

Dear Audiovox Customer:

This is in reply to your recent letter in which you outlined
difficulties you have experienced.  I tried to contact you via
telephone and was unsuccessful.

I would like to address this situation as soon as possible and attempt to restore your faith in Audiovox products and service.
May I suggest that you call me directly at
1-800-645-4994 or 516-436-6326.

I appreciate your bringing such problems to my attention, as
we constantly strive to improve on the products and service we
provide to our Audiovox customers.

Carl L. Peters
National Service Manager
Follow-up sent 12/3/1996

Dear Mr. Peters:

I appreciate your prompt response to my letter.  I was impressed by the fact that you attempted (unsuccessfully) to get in contact with me by phone--the personal touch.  The problem lies in the fact that I canceled my phone service and flushed my phone (bit by bit) down the toilet.  It seems that my job (at the woman’s half-way house) often followed me home in the form of 3:00 AM phone calls. I am afraid that we’ll have to resolve this matter by mail.

My car was returned, and the female thief apprehended.  It seems that her pregnancy cravings of Bisquick and Maple Syrup got her into trouble.  As Lila left the Piggly Wiggly, she tore into that box like an angry grizzly.  The security camera identified her, and the police were on their way.  As she inhaled the powder, she would “swig” on the syrup.  The syrup dribbled down the bottle and adhered to her hands, and the powder found its way onto the syrup.  As she drove off, the police met up with her, and a high speed chase began.  She shook the officers, and ditched my Beretta in the woods, only to be found an hour later with a big ol’ Bisquick Goatee.  It seems that she “tarred and feathered” herself.  The Bisquick people keep calling me because they want to sponsor some sort of after-school special about the whole charade. 

Lila was sentenced to three to five years in the state penitentiary, with the Bisquick/Mrs. Butterworth goop on my steering wheel as the smoking gun.  To this day,  my car smells like a Sunday morning pancake breakfast at St. Patrick’s Church.  I think that the best way for you to resolve the problem is simply to change your slogan.


Audiovox reponse, dated 1/10/97:

Dear Jerry:

I must say I appreciate your letters pointing out our misguided belief (or implied belief) that men are
the only ones who steal cars, and are “the root of all of our problems.” For this reason, I am going to pass your letter up to our division vice president, who will in turn pass it onto our corporate marketing vice president to view on your well taken constructive criticism.  Should I mention that our marketing VP is a woman?

However, I am pleased to hear that the pregnant bisquick maple syrup eating fool was apprehended and
your Barretta returned relatively unscathed.  In closing, I would like to say that our auto alarms systems, as sophisticated as they are, cannot guarantee your automobile not be stolen.  They are intended only to deter
thieves as I am sure you already know.  Additionally, you indicated in your letter that you did not arm the car.  Needless to say your car was stolen.  For this reason, we cannot replace your alarm system at no charge.

 Your point or constructive criticism relative to our slogan “Stop Him” has been taken into
consideration and is greatly appreciated.  However, no change is anticipated at this time as we are well into production.

I have attempted several times to reach you by phone and would like to discuss this with you if you
would like.  You can reach me at my direct line number 516-436-6326 or 1-800-645-4994.

Carl L. Peters
National Service Manager
Audiovox Corp. Automotive Division

Response to Carl Peters, sent 1/14/1997:

Dear Mr. Peters:

Today was difficult.  I scolded Peggy for “holding back” during group.  I said some things that I wish could be taken back.  I only hope that I have not upset the chemistry that I have worked so hard to build.

Thank you for your response.  You seem like a caring man--one who seeks to find the answer to a problem or concern out of a sense of duty.   However, I am alarmed by the fact that my alarm cannot be replaced do to the fact that I “did not arm the car.”

In graduate school, I performed my thesis on Advertisement and the Human Response.  My conclusion:

“Advertisement is effective because of one basic and undeniable principle: it drives a slogan into ones’ head until it alters the thought process altogether.” 

In this instance, the result is a false sense of security around the feminine gender.  Lila’s theft resulted from my unarmed alarm system, that resulted from this “Achilles’ Heel Effect,” that you caused with your (sexist) slogan!  In a sense,  Audiovox disarmed my car.  You should feel some sense of responsibility.  I certainly would.

Carl, I would like a letter from the person who came up with that silly slogan.  Group brainstorm or not, “Stop Him” came from someone’s lips--presumably a bitter woman (let’s call her “Helen”), consumed by the feelings of inadequacy that result from divorce/break-up complications.  These feelings toward the former partner (let’s call him “Chad”)  manifest themselves in the form of bitterness toward Chad’s entire gender (e.g. “All men are filthy pigs who leave the seat up and fly to Acapulco with their 23 year-old secretary--Miranda”).  Helen often finds strength, not in the arms of another (let’s call him “Pedro”), but in groups comprised of people with similar stories.  That is, until the Pedro comes along and promises something new.  Then, Helen will just as soon stab each group member in the back with a dull knife and hop on a plane with Pedro, for Aruba. 

I would like to help Helen overcome her feelings of inadequacy.  She must feel good about herself before she can ever expect to feel good in the arms of Pedro, who is just a short term band aid for a larger cancer that, if not treated, will result in insomnia, chronic depression, alcoholism, and possibly suicide.  Of course, I am assuming that a woman would feel this resentment, but if it is a man (let’s call him “Spartacus”), I have some background in male relationship behavior.  Still, I would like to know for my own sake, why you have that slogan. 

Locking My Doors and Using The Club Since I Have no Alarm,

Carl's reponse, sent with a brand new Audiovox Alarm System, dated 1/31/1997:

Dear Jerry,
You wore me out.  My sympathy overflows - anyone who can survive the riggers of an all women
facility and still keeps his sense of humor deserves a free alarm system.  That is not a sexist remark and please no more analytical dribble.  You won!!

 Enjoy it and keep the faith.

P.S.  I am also worried about the damage (possibly irreversible) you have done to Peggy.


Carl L. Peters
National Service Manager
Audiovox Corp. Automotive Division



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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Post# 235 - Kellogg: Lego My Eggo

I sent this to Kellogg on 6/24/2011:

Dear Eggo,
Have you given any thought to a cross-promotion with the Lego Folk? 
I am proposing a “Lego-shaped Eggo”.  Have one side "female" with tiny, buttery syrup-filling crevices, and the other side "male" with tiny "knobby nipples".    They would taste like Eggo Waffles and contain the wonderful nutritional value of an Eggo Waffle, but they would look and behave like an actual Lego.

Perforate the waffle in "2 knobby nipple by 2 knobby nipple" sections, so they can be separated into smaller Lego’s, and quickly assembled into make-believe homes, forts, spacecraft, and places of worship.
Imagine this: spoiled little kid asks his parents for three waffles for breakfast instead of one.  Why?  Is he hungry?  Nope.  It turns out, he wants to build a bridge over syrup river.  You just sold three waffles instead of one, pardner.
Studies conclusively show that children who are engaged in crafts and projects perform higher on standardized testing than children who follow a “hands-off” approach. 
Kids could collect UPC symbols from discarded packages and send away for real Lego kits.  Photo contests, where you give a subject and kids send photos of their completed projects could stimulate imagination.

What do you think?

Subject: Consumer Affairs 025055913A
Date: Monday, June 27, 2011, 9:32 PM


Thank you for offering your assistance in the creation of a cereal product to support our business. We certainly appreciate your enthusiasm for our brands and company.

We receive almost 10,000 unsolicited proposals each year, both from our consumers and other business concerns. The Kellogg's® GR-R-REAT™ IDEAS portal allows these proposals to be reviewed by our company in a fair and consistent manner. We encourage you to visit to properly share your special idea.

We appreciate your patronage of throughout the years and your offer of assistance. It is because of the support of our consumers that we have remained successful in what has become a very competitive environment. We hope that our products will continue to meet the needs of you and your family for many years to come.


Consumer Specialist
Consumer Affairs
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Post# 234 - War on Celiac: Kellogg and Gluten Free Cereal Round 2

Last year, I sent a letter to Kellogg regarding their lack of presence in the gluten-free arena.  The feedback was non-committal.  I sent this to Kellogg on 7/15/2011 after reading the press release below.

Part of Press Release, May 11, 2001:

“Kellogg is pleased to announce plans for the launch of our first-ever gluten-free cereal – Rice Krispies® Gluten Free – which should start hitting store shelves by early June,” said Doug VanDeVelde, senior vice president of marketing and innovation at Kellogg. “We heard the strong desire from people within the gluten-free community, especially parents, for more affordable foods that they can serve their families, and we are helping to fill that need.”

Dear Nikki,

A while back, we exchanged email regarding the possibility of gluten-free products from Kellogg.  The options were very few.  While shopping last Thursday, on my grocer's shelf, what did I see?  Gluten-Free Rice Krispies.  Nice work, guys!  It's about time.

There's still a ways to go--Corn Puffs are really close--lose the wheat starch and we're in business.  How about some high-fiber options?  People just get tired of pushing.  Your competition made Chex Gluten-Free.  Why not go after Crispex?  For Celiac sufferers, it's Crispy times zero.

From your press release back in May, it sounds like you received a lot of feedback.  Unfortunately, I didn't see the press release.  I had to find out the same way the others did.  Here's a question:  when a company has something that generates a lot of inquiries, and you solve the thing that they're asking about, why not keep all of those email addresses and send them a quick note.  "Dr. Jerry--just a quick note to tell you we have Gluten Free Rice Krispies coming, thanks to your awesome idea."  That took literally 15 seconds to type, and doggone it, I felt pretty important typing it.

It's just a thought.  You run your shop the way you think it should be run.  Now enough reading letters--get back to more gluten-free development!


Dr. Jerry

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Post# 233 - Frito Lay Ruffles and the Bearded Chip

I found an unusual chip.  I sent the note below to Frito Lay on 7/17/2011:

Dear Ruffles,

As a traveling shoe salesman, I rarely get a hot meal.  I rely on snacks and lots of foods that have a long shelf life.  Jerky, peanuts and crackers fill my day.  I eat dried apples and figs for roughage.  As a latenight snack, I look forward to Ruffles Brand Potato Chips.

Years ago, a friend advised me to "Get My Own Bag."  This was some of the best advice I had ever received.  I've been getting my own bag ever since.

However, I have recently endured a disturbing snacktime mishap.  As I was enjoying my Ruffles, I noticed that one of your chips had a "beard."  It's a fuzzy section, brown in color, on the outer edge of one of my chips.  It's quite disturbing and intimidating.  It reminds me of Mr. French's beard.

I've seen the Food Network.  I know you people have folks sorting the chips as they come down the line.  I also know that visual inspection is, and can only ever be 80% effective.  Sometimes shoes come in missing eyelets or soles.  It's embarrassing.

Is it normal to have bearded potato chips?  Is it even safe?  If it's normal, maybe you should add one of the bearded ones to the front of the package, to "forewarn" the customer.  Maybe you should also add a disclaimer on the back--"Warning: some of the chips in this bag may have beards, and it's okay."

I can try to hold onto the chip, if it helps.  I've taken a photo, if needed.  Freshness info from the bag: Aug. 9, 3191 15210. Barcode: 28400 033756.

Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated.


Subject: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082A
Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 9:15 AM

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for writing. I'm sorry your potato chips were not what you expected and apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this caused. I'm sending coupons to you which should arrive in about a week.

The brown or burnt-looking chips actually are made from potatoes with high sugar content. The sugar caramelizes when the chips are cooked, which causes them to turn brown when fried. We have a system in place to remove these chips before packaging and we’re sorry these were missed.

Quality is a top priority at Frito-Lay. Thanks to the information you provided, we are better able to investigate and take any actions necessary to prevent a recurrence.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.
Best regards,

Frito-Lay Consumer Relations
Note sent 7/19/2011:
Hello Natalia,

The darndest thing is, the chip wasn't discolored, except the ridge, which had a fuzzy beard.  It had no mustache, making it resemble, in some small way, our 16th President.

If you want a photo, I snapped one.

Thanks for responding,

Subject: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082B
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 10:15 AM

Hi Jerry,

Thank you for writing. We certainly understand why you would want to share your photo with us.

All of us at Frito-Lay have a great appreciation for pictures such as these.

If you'd like to send the photo to us, we'll be glad to post it on the "Star" board in our Department. Our address is: Frito-Lay, Inc. PO Box 660634, Dallas, TX 75266-0634.

We appreciate your interest and look forward to your continued satisfaction as a loyal Frito-Lay consumer.

Happy Snacking!


Subject: Re: A Message from Frito-Lay Consumer Relations - RE: Ruffles, Reference #011577082B
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:28 PM

I think we have a misunderstanding.  I was intending to send a photo of my chip, not to gain acclaim in your hall of freaky chips.  Rather, to help you investigate what exactly went wrong.  To help you investigate whatever freak of nature potato, or whatever process step was missed, to allow for me to wind up with a frightening chip in my bag.
Abe Lincoln is fine, if he's on a $5 bill or in the Hall of Presidents.  Abe Lincoln in the food industry is a frightening proposition,  No Abe Lincoln waffles.  No Abe Lincoln pierogi, and no Abe Lincoln potato chips!


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