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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Post# 263 - Manwich and A Lack of Attention to Detail

Confession time: The lack of attention to detail is on my part.  I misread the label and thought it read "Heat thorough."   In my head, I said, "That's wrong! It should read "heat thoroughly."  Instead it reads "Heat through," which still sounds odd to me.  Anyway, I realized this after I had written the letter, but wondered how they'd react--would they DARE correct the customer?

I sent this on 7/15/2011:
Dear Manwich,

Your delightful variation of the sloppy joe, like all the others, Yip Yip, Yum Yums, Wimpies, Slushburgers, Barbecues, Hot Tamales, Taverns, Sloppy Janes, Steamers, Gulash, Dynamites, Victory Burgers, and Juicy Burgers, are a working class meal.  Something tasty that can be prepared on short notice for a large group.  Everyone who can stomach ground beef, sweet tomatoey sauce, and a bun, loves these things.
Sloppy Joes are popular among construction crews, fire fighters, soldiers, teachers, attorneys, clergy and tennis instructors.  In addition, I’ve seen them being enjoyed by people who tailgate in football stadium parking lots and on Nascar infields.  The tailgater crowd seems to be the stereotype.
Last night, as I prepared my version for my loved ones, I noticed something disturbing.  Your directions state:
1) Brown one pound ground beef.
2) Stir in one can Manwich; heat thorough.
3) Serve on hamburger buns. 

The part that caught me was the adjective, “thorough” used in the adverb position normally occupied by “thoroughly.”   I learned this in Mrs. McNally’s 6th grade English.  I believe you did too, but that “thoroughly” sounds to “hoity toity” for the Nascar crowd

I don’t believe that “heat thorough” would have passed through your art department, marketing folks, proofreaders, label suppliers, to the shelves of the store, and into my cart with me being the first person in the whole world to notice the error.  I believe that you already know about the error.  I believe it’s intentional.  You’re dumbing down your sauce to appeal to the Nascar folks.   You’re fixated on focus group data, marketing trends, and perhaps an irate 800 call or two from somebody with a thick accent?  You should be looking deep inside your soul.  I believe these outside factors had more to do with the odd use of “thorough” than anything else.

The thing is, this may make the Con Agra shareholders wealthier.  It may bring more jobs to the sloppy joe factory, and a self-serving Food Network spot in the future.  Somewhere, a little kid is going to read that and start misplacing adjectives as verb descriptors.  You’re perpetuating the dumbing down of the next generation.  You’re simultaneously filling their bellies with nourishment, and their heads with bad grammar.  Grammar isn’t just someone you take to Bob Evan’s once a year on her birthday!

What’s the story?  How’s my aim?  If I’m wrong, and I’m the one who discovered this typo, certainly I should be entitled to some sort of prize or medal of distinction.  Am I wrong? 



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Subject: Consumer Affairs Email Response (Case#: 60275828)
Date: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 11:46 AM
Dear Mr. Herman,
Thank you for your email concerning our Hunt's Manwich.

To clarify, the instructions do not state to heat "thoroughly" but to heat "through".
Your comments are extremely valuable, and they help us make the food you love even better.
Thanks again for your feedback. We're listening!

Consumer Affairs Representative
ConAgra Foods
Case: 60275828

1-877-CONAGRA (1-877-266-2472)
Subject: Re: Consumer Affairs Email Response (Case#: 60275828)
Date: Sunday, August 7, 2011, 10:35 PM
Dear Sarah,



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