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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Post # 301 - Skittles Loses the Lime

Letter sent 6/14/13.

Dear Skittles,

For years, folks have loved the classic mix of Skittles.  Sure, you introduce a whiz-bang special mix here or there, and they're neat for a little while.  Then, it's back to the original.  The blend of flavors is perfect.  Grape, Strawberry, Orange, Lemon and Lime.  It's worked for years, and people loved it.

Now you yank Lime and throw in Sour Apple.  Are you kidding me?  Apple doesn't "go" with orange and lemon.  It doesn't blend with grape and strawberry.  It turns brown in fruit salad.  On it's own, it tastes fine.  In an ensemble candy, it's overpowering.  Lemon is already sour.

The Beatles were John, Paul, George and Ringo.   At the height of their success, you don't swap George for Tiny Tim.  Tiny Tim changes the mix.  Tiny Tim fans would be delighted, but the other 95% are left wondering: "What were you thinking?"

Sodium Borate is Na3BO3.  Always has been,  It's worked very well as is.  Chemists don't suddenly change it willy nilly because some wacked out focus group consisting of children of apple growers decides they like Potassium better than Boron.  The potassium changes the mix.

My golly gosh what were you thinking?  People are upset.  There are a few happy people.  The mass public is upset.  Some may not realize it yet.

Change it back.  Admit you were wrong and change your ways.  It wasn't broken.  Why eff with my Skittles?  Taste the Rainbow?  All I taste is rotten apples now.


No Reply

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Post # 300 - Softsoap and Their Nozzle Booger

Dear Softsoap,

I recently threw a holiday party, as a strategic ploy to win favor with potential clients. You see, the artificial maple syrup business is cut-throat.  There are several "players" in the game, and a limited number of restaurant owners willing to change things up.  My house was in tip-top shape.  My butlers on guard, to provide the most delightful appetizers, entrees, and drinks.  A guest list of 50 restaurant owners, suppliers, and local investors, along with their wives, girlfriends, or "other."

Dinner was progressing nicely.  Men in tuxes and women in little black dresses sipped imported wines and craft beers, enjoying bacon-wrapped scallops, listening to a local jazz trio.  Conversation was light, and prime rib was ready to go, with cherries jubilee waiting in the wings.  Things were going great--several deals were in the works.

Then, one of the big time owners emerged from the bathroom with my hand soap bottle.  He pointed to the part where the soap comes out.  He loudly proclaimed, "I cannot buy imitation syrup from someone who has a booger in his soap nozzle."  He then claimed he was unable to wash his hands.  I frantically searched for another bottle of hand soap.  A new bar of soap, ANYTHING!  I emerged empty handed to a crowd of disappointed on-lookers.  He said, "No luck?  Maybe you should pick the booger."  Silence fell over the group.  If I don't pick the booger, I'm a bad host.  If I pick the booger, I'm forever known as the one who picked the booger, my name forever etched in holiday gathering lore.

I picked the booger.  I picked it so others could have clean hands.  In picking it, I became a pariah in the restaurant circle.  No one would look me in the eye.  People quickly left, barely touching their prime rib, scalloped potatoes, green beans almondine, or cheesy garlic toast, and leaving me with a lot of leftover Cherries Jubilee.

This is a design flaw.  Why does your soap congeal on the nozzle in such a way?  Can you make the soap less "congealie"?  Can you make the nozzle less "nostrilly"?  I need to understand the Softsoap plan going forward.  How do we fix this, so no one ever has to "pick the booger" again?


Their response, sent June 12, 2013:

From: Colgate-Palmolive Consumer Affairs
Subject: Response to Your Email

Dear Jerry:

Thank you for telling us about your experience with our Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap. We’re sorry it did not meet your expectations.

We are sorry to hear that the bottle of Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap dried up in the pump. Colgate-Palmolive is widely recognized for thorough and rigorous quality control procedures. Every package is checked by electronic scanners as well as Quality Assurance staff who watch the filling processes. Despite all our safeguards, on rare occasions a damaged container can be shipped from one of our manufacturing plants. Also, sometimes a package can be damaged during shipping or storage.

As part of our Consumer Satisfaction Policy, we are sending coupons to your postal address. We hope you will be satisfied with the next Colgate product you buy.


Consumer Affairs Representative
Consumer Affairs

My response, sent 6/13/13:

Dear Heather,

What if this wasn't a quality control issue, but rather, a design flaw.  I was in a restroom in a mon and pop restaurant yesterday.   At the sink, I found two of your Softsoap bottles.  These were the clear soap with the fish tank scene on the bottle.  Once again,  boogers in the nozzles.  

Maybe it was the oysters I had just eaten, but the sight of thay concealed soap matter on the nostril of the soap dispenser made me sick.  I vomited.   The fellow who walked in behind me, smelling my vomit, started his own vomit.  The next fellow came in, same thing.  By the time I left, there was a chain reaction of six barfers in there.  ALL because of a little soapy deposit on a couple of nozzles.

I think this is a design flaw--not quality.


No Response.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Post # 302 - Beano 2.0

This was submitted on the Beano website on 3/4/13.

Dear Beano,

So often, I eat something without planning ahead.  As I enjoy my chili, my shrimp ring, my garlic pesto, my  tamales, I don't think about the cramped elevator, the crowded airport shuttle and bumpy roads, the lengthy meetings where one could hear a pin drop.  The quiet confessional with the elderly archbishop in the tall hat.

Finally, in frustration, I screamed at the top of my lungs, "There has got to be another way!"

I'm calling for the development of a quick fix--something I can take after the fact, rather than at the scene of the crime.  Something I can take as I seek shelter and refuge from the mighty storm-a-brewin'.  A life raft of sorts, in a sea of embarrassment.  I'm calling for a "Morning After" Beano Pill.

Thinking ahead, this pill will be a "storm chaser."  It will need to travel faster than the thing that it's chasing.  OR, we could approach this from another direction.  A pill "taken another way."  To borrow from the Fonz, the slogan could be, "Beano 2.0: Sit on it!"

Let Me Know What You Think.

No Reply.

Follow-up sent on 3/13/13

Dear Beano,

You never replied.  I submitted a proposal over a week ago.  Maybe you're still digesting it.  (See what I did there?).

To review, my proposal is a "morning after" Beano pill--something to be taken in hindsight, but before the onslaught of fireworks and fragrances.  In the past week, I've made arrangements with a local judge to allocate some "criminal-on-the-mend" types for a community release project.  Rather than pick up roadside garbage, these fellows ingest crock pots full of my chili, and then ingest my early prototype pills.  We then measure their gas output using a stopwatch, a ruler, a balloon, and a special "fitting."

There are two approaches that I've been exploring--these were both covered in my previous correspondence.

1) What I call a "storm chaser" --something to travel faster than the brown squall.  My early work has shown that any medication that travels faster, doesn't "know where to stop" and ends up passing the problem area altogether.

2) Against the Wind.  A suppository.  I trialed three different versions. Illustrations are attached. Version A, Yellow Dynamite lacked any oomph.  Version B, Green Silencer, did little to make things quiet.  Version C, Orange Obstruction, did exhibit some success.  I believe this was in part, due to its' size and cork-like geometry.  Several testers noted that Version C, while effective, was somewhat "intrusive."  One tester asked if it could be made larger, and if I had more chili.  I need to go back and find out what his offenses that lead him to my program.

In any case, I'm wondering if you want in.  Wanna go halfsies on a new product?  Your name, my know-how.  Beano 2.0.




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Friday, April 5, 2013

Post # 299 - Banquet - Crumby Chicken Nuggets

Dear Banquet,

I am a loyal and lifelong customer.  When it comes to parties, festive occasions, wakes, and everyday meals, I count on Banquet.  One might say that I'm 54% composed of Banquet Chicken.

When I decided to host a Super Bowl party, what was on the top of my shopping list?  Several guest suggested boneless buffalo wings from Buffalo Wild Wings.  One guest's wife works at Hooters, and could have gotten me the famous Hooter Wings at a discount.  I said, "Nope.  I'm a Banquet Man."

I purchased your 15 ounce chicken nuggets --delicious breaded nugget shaped chicken patties.  The serving size on the box is about five servings of six nuggets each.  Just enough for me and my five guests.

Except, when I opened the box, I found 24 nuggets and a VERY big pile of crumbs.  My guests grew hungry and left before halftime.  My party was labeled a dud.

What gives with all the crumbs?  Are crumbs cheaper than chicken?  Is that your game?  Short change the loyal customer to save a few pennies and make the stock rise a quarter point?  I'm very disappointed and discouraged.  I may just try one of those fancy chain restaurants with the busty female servers and the 86 different sauces.



P/S. - Your code you'll be asking for is 5008 2332 000106 29P107.
Subject: Consumer Affairs Email Response (Case#: 61494169)
Date: Monday, February 4, 2013, 2:36 PM

Hello Jerry, 

Thanks for your email. I appreciate your purchases and your loyalty to our Banquet brand!

I am so sorry to hear you had this experience with our Chicken Nuggets! I am thankful you emailed us so I can get all of the details you supplied over to our Food Safety and Quality experts. Jerry, please know this isn't the experience we want you to have with our products so those details will be very helpful for us.

I am sending coupons your way via regular mail. Please give us another try.
I hope you have a great day!

Consumer Affairs Representative
ConAgra Foods
Case: 61494169
True to their word, a set of coupons arrived with an apology.  The primary coupon was redeemable for a Conagra product up to $8.99.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Post # 298 - Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios -- Strange Breakfast-Fellows

Dear General Mills,

I am a huge fan of your products.  Each morning, I enjoy your Cheerios.  To keep life "interesting," I alternate boxes--standard issue Cheerios, a fixture American breakfast fare for generations, and Multigrain Cheerios.

The other day, I was running a little late for work.  I poured my standard Cheerios, but there was only enough for half of a bowl.  A fresh box of Multigrains was waiting in the wings.  Time was short--the clock was ticking away.  I needed to catch my bus in ten minutes.

For a moment, I pondered adding some Multigrain Cheerios to my standard Cheerio breakfast bowl.  What would happen?  Would it pleasure my palate?  I was dealing with a lot of new feelings and notions about my normally "traditional" breakfast bowl.  I immediately stopped myself in my tracks and just enjoyed the remaining standard Cheerios.  I then poured, in a new and clean bowl, a half-portion of Multigrain Cheerios. I made myself late, but felt better about myself.

For the rest of the day at work, and ever since, I've been preoccupied with these thoughts.  I've wondered if a bowl was meant to be shared by such strange "breakfast-fellows."  Had it been tried before?  Were these feelings a mere gateway to other things?  Kix and Trix?  Porridge and Lucky Charms?  What was next?

I need to ask you.  What happens if one mixes standard and Multigrain Cheerios?  Does the earth burst open, revealing a lake of fire and pointy-tailed demons?  Has this been tried in the past?  Maybe by forward thinking college kids, looking for a cheap thrill?  Multigrain Cheerios came after the '70's so we know the swingers never tried this.  Does it have a name?  I checked Urban Dictionary--no results.

Any information that you can provide is greatly appreciated.



Hello Jerry:

Thank you for contacting General Mills with your inquiry.
The Cheerios and Multi Grain Cheerios are good together.  The Multi Grain Cheerios has regular cheerios in it.  So mixing them would be a treat.  We are sure this has been tried before.

Please let us know if we can help you again.

Thank you,

Customer Care Specialist

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Post # 297 - Subway No Longer Serves the Cheese With The Holes In It - 9/22/12

Dear Subway,

I see you've finally done it.  You have eliminated the cheese with the holes in it from your selection of fine cheeses.

I used to enjoy the nice "almost-barrier" that the cheese with the holes in it provided between the meats and the vegetable matter.  As I bit into the sandwich, a symphony of flavors came into play.  Meats on one side of my pallet, veggies on the other side, and cheese in the middle.  Then, as I would chew, some of the meat would mingle with the vegetable matter.   Some of the vegetable matter would mingle with the meat.  Boom!  Flavor explosion.

This was all made possible by the cheese with the holes, that you have stopped carrying.  So now the meat stays on one side, the vegetable matter stays on the other.  Like a divorced couple who refuses to vacate their  house.

Please bring back the cheese with the holes.




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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Post # 296 - Mr. Sprinkles 10-27-12

Dear Mr. Sprinkles,

I am an impressionist artist.  I use your confections in my artworks.  I am currently working on my interpretation of Betsy Ross sewing the first United States Flag.  However, I am stalled.  My art show was invaded by ants who quickly dismembered my prized works of art.

I am 80 percent done with "Betsy and Old Glory" and completely out of rainbow sprinkles.

Can you help?



PS - is there a Mrs. Sprinkles?
Subject: RE: Mr. Sprinkles, Contact us
To: "Contact Mr. Sprinkles" 
Date: Friday, November 2, 2012, 10:32 AM
Dear Jerry,
There are store listings & ordering options on the website. Click "find Mr. Sprinkles". 
And NO, there is no Mrs. Sprinkles!

With Kind Regards,
PANOS brands
Consumer Services

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Post# 295 - Alamo Car Rental - 7/15/12

Dear Alamo,

My brother brought this to my attention when he came into town and rented one of your fine automobiles.

He rented a Nissan product, which raised some controversy, especially since he was headed into Big 3 country.  This vehicle used the keyless "FOB".  Your keys happened to come attached to one another on a cord.  The keys were basically inseparable, unless he were to cut the cord.

What's the point of giving him two keys if they're attached with a cord that he would have to cut?  If he's supposed to cut the cord if he wants the keys separated, how would he do this without making a special trip to the store for a sharp object (scissors, a knife, etc) that he wouldn't be able to carry on to his airplane when he leaves?

I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from.  It's puzzling.



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Post# 294 - Arby's - What's With The Right Hand Drive Through?

Dear Arby’s,

I was extremely disappointed with a recent visit to one of your restaurants.  As I drove through the drive through, I realized your window was on the right side of my car, some five plus feet away.  With my foot on the brake, it’s virtually impossible to reach your cashier with my $6.83 in small bills and coins, without putting my car in park, unbuckling my seat belt, and straddling my shifter—HAY-OH!

Let’s look at it this way.  I’m smart enough to put the car in park before taking my foot off the brake.  I’ve an Arby’s customer fill an entire 16 ounce cup full of Horsey Sauce.  When I asked him why, he said, “I’ve got family flying in from out of town.”  Let’s say I pull up after our little transaction, and Horsey Sauce Guy is behind me.  He takes his foot off the brake to reach your cashier.  I’m sitting there, seat belt still off, sorting through my food items when….WHAM!  Rear ended.  You just put me at risk.

Are you trying to put people at risk?  Are you more concerned about the aesthetics and flow of your restaurant than the safety and convenience of your drive-through patrons?  Are we, your loyal customers, collateral damage in a war against convention and logic?

By making us reach, are you trying to evolve the human species to have a much longer right arm for some future purpose?  Maybe a longterm plan to convert all of your restaurants over to the more cost effective Righty Drive Through, all so your stock rises a quarter point?

Please Explain!

Their response, dated 6/1/12:

Dear Mr. Jerry,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the problem you encountered with your recent visit to one of our restaurants. We share your concern and frustration with the incident you encountered, and sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.
Please be assured that, at Arby's, quality and consumer satisfaction are our highest priorities. Thanks to consumers like you and the information you provide, we are better able to trace the source of a problem and take any actions that may be necessary to resolve it. We have shared your comments with our Facilities Management team so that this could be taken into account for future consideration. We are going to mail you 2 VIP cards (each valid for a free combo meal) to invite you back to one of our restaurants.

Once again, our apologies for your inconvenience and I hope we can continue to consider you a valued customer.


Arby's Customer Relations 
Soon after, I received in the mail, two coupons for free combination meals.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Post# 293 - Hungry Howies Went All Cajun on My Kids' Pizza

Dear Hungry Howies,

Last night, my wife brought home the family meal deal. Two large pizzas, a salad, and a two liter jug of Pepsi.   She rationalized the extra pizza because "I can give the kids pizza for lunch."  She ordered a kid-friendly (pepperoni) pizza, and a grown-up (green pepper and mushroom) pizza.

On the pepperoni pizza, intended for the kids, she ordered butter/cheese ranch crust.

You made half of it cajun.  Look--I like cajun crust.  To rectify things, I would have traded pizzas.  My kids really don't like green pepper and mushroom.  So, besides burning their mouths with that first bite of spicy crust, we had to waste what is, to my kids, their favorite part of the pizza.

Flavored crust is a great thing. Wrongly flavored crust is a very, very bad thing.

My wife, who ordered this at the counter and waited, believes that our order was confused with another order, placed around the same time.  Either way, we're not very happy.


Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 15:07:11 -0400
Subject: Message From Hungry Howie's Pizza

HH Logo

Hello Jerry Herman:

I want to thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience at Hungry Howie's with me. Your feedback is very important to us as it allows us to better understand how we can improve our service to you.

I want you to know that I have already taken action on your feedback. After reading your email, I immediately shared the information you brought to our attention with the local franchise owner of the restaurant you visited. Additionally, I notified our regional Hungry Howie's consultant who works with this owner for follow-up.

Again, Jerry, thank you for sharing your feedback. We appreciate your business and we hope to have the pleasure of serving you soon.



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Friday, January 4, 2013

Post# 292 - Alphabits - It's Time for a Font Change - 7/15/12

Dear Post,

The time has come for a change.  For years, kids have been waking up and staring at their 48 point Arial Font Alphabits.  On one hand, they're learning the value of letters, of reading, reading comprehension, and eventually their chosen vocation.

On the other hand, their creativity is being stifled.  They get up and see Arial font in their milk, and head to school and see more Arial in their text books.  If they're "lucky," maybe they see a little Times New Roman.  Studies showt these fonts when seen ad nauseum, stifle creativity.

Why not change it up?  How about a nice Helvetica font?  Are you worried about the shareholders?  They'll get by.  They'll thrive.  Let's worry about the children for a change, instead of the bottom frigging line.  They are the future.  They are the ones that need to be shown all the beauty that they possess inside.

Why not try Helvetica Alphabits on a limited basis?  Maybe a focus group?  Why not?  Are you afraid of change?  I heard you shot down Number Crunch, which I thought was an awesome idea. 

Let me know what you think.



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