In which I write a complaint letter to Pascall for the unfortunate pink/white ratio in a 500gm bag of marshmallows

To whom it may concern,

I love Pascall’s Marshmallows. Seriously. Our two person household probably powers through a 250gm bag of those bad boys a week. They’re almost fat free. They’re delicious. And they’re magical. I love the easy tear corners on the bags. Somebody over your way has obviously put a lot of thought into the optimal packet design.

When I say I’m your biggest fan it’s probably a little bit exaggerated. I don’t live in a house made from, or even decked out with, your product. But I consider myself at least in your top #7, and I would challenge anybody who suggests otherwise.

They are great in hot chocolate, they’re great by the handful, and they’re amazing just slightly toasted and consumed while hot (but not on fire). I can’t get enough of them. Pink or white. To me. It doesn’t matter. I’ll take either…

Which brings me, somewhat dramatically, to my point. Earlier this week I purchased a 500gm bag of your delicious marshmallows. I don’t think I’d ever noticed 500gm bags before, my local supermarket must have just expanded their range, which again shows you’re doing something right. Incidentally, how do you actually make marshmallows? I read on the Internet that marshmallows, in their original form, were some sort of sweet plant growth and what we buy and eat by the handful are artificial replicas of these original products. Amazing. Is that true?

I purchased a mixed bag. 500gm. Pink and white. Now, you would expect in a bag with only two flavour options, statistically speaking, to find roughly a 50/50 split of pink to white. I would think. Is this the case? Or are you aware that one particular flavour is more popular than another. That would be the kind of market research and knowledge I would expect from a subsidiary of the Cadbury company. So nothing would surprise me more than to learn you hand pack these bags, or at least use trained animals. I’ve seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know about the squirrels. I bet that put a downer on things for you guys when Hollywood blew the lid on the confectionary industry’s biggest secret. Trained squirrels. Brilliant. You’d think an Australian animal would suffice, but I’ve heard koalas are suckers for marshmallows and kangaroos are rowdy and hard to pin down.

So in my mixed bag, thus far (I probably have 150gm to go), I’d say I’ve had a 90/10 ratio of pink to white marshmallows. I assume this isn’t normal. It’s like the old conundrum about picking out two different coloured socks from a drawer. If you’ve got ten socks that are red, and ten that are blue, after three socks you will definitely have a pair, and after ten socks you’ll definitely have one of each sock (you may have ten red, and one blue, or vice versa – but in this case the next nine socks will all be the same colour). Eventually. Over time. The two colours will become evenly represented in your outside-of-drawer collection. Imagine my surprise when this didn’t happen. I wasn’t expecting socks from my marshmallow bag. I’m not an idiot. No. I was expecting to eventually see a normalising of the ratio of pink:white. But it didn’t happen. That’s a statistical anomaly that I think we’ll all agree you should be made aware of immediately. Hence my writing to you.

Now, I’m not just being a good citizen of the world who passes on feedback to companies simply for their edification. I have a bone to pick. Metaphorically, if I’d found a bone in my marshmallows this would be a very different letter, and would probably involve the police. No. My metaphorical bone is this. My wife does not like pink marshmallows. If marshmallows were people she’d be a racist. She’s not a racist, because they’re not… but she doesn’t like the taste. Which means I’ve eaten lots of pink marshmallows from this packet and she hasn’t eaten many at all.

So, from one marshmallow fan to another, or more correctly, from a marshmallow fan to the creators of delicious marshmallows, I would ask you to lift your game a little bit, or, at the very least, fire the squirrels. They carry all sorts of lice and disease anyway. It might be time to move on.

Yours in confectionary,

Nathan Campbell

How I write complaint letters

You may, if you’re a regular reader, be wondering what became of my complaints to Cadbury and Jetstar.

Well.

Cadbury sent me a voucher for $5 to spend on Turkish Delight and Jetstar sent me $100 to spend on my next flight.

This complaint letter thing is fun and rewarding.

Here are my six tips for writing a complaint letter that gets read…

  1. Establish a connection with the company – tell them that you’re familiar with the product you’re complaining about. Being a regular customer who is sold on the brand will give you credibility with the reader – and make them want to help you out.
  2. Find the right person to contact – for the Cadbury one I phoned Cadbury rather than using an anonymous web form, for the Jetstar one I emailed it directly to the Customer Service manager as well as posting it. The more senior the person you address the letter to the better.
  3. Give good details – tell the reader exactly what your experience was from start to finish. Set the scene. Help them to pinpoint the nature of your complaint.
  4. Use the right tone – be polite – don’t complain about rudeness by being rude. Try using humour – it’ll make your letter different to the hundreds of other letters they receive. Be memorable.
  5. Have a call to action – give the company some recourse – let them know what you expect in return for your letter. Do you want a reply detailing what went wrong and what they’ll do to fix it? Do you want a refund? You won’t get exactly what you want without asking for it.
  6. Be contactable – give good details for follow up – you won’t get free stuff if the company doesn’t know where to send things.

Those are the things I do – how ’bout you? What are your tips for writing complaint letters that bear fruit.

Did somebody say “free chocolate”

I received a reply today. From Cadbury.

Dear Mr Campbell,

Thank you

We have received your email and will be in touch via the post.

Kind regards
CADBURY PTY LTD

Life is like a box of chocolates

Below is a complaint letter I just sent to Cadbury. Lets hope something comes of it.

Name of Product: Favourites
Weight of product: 600gm
Best before date and batch number: 12/07/10 N 01:50
Where did you purchase this product: Gift
Subject for your Email: Favourites box comes without favourite chocolates

Dear Cadbury Chocolatiers,

I am a long term fan of your product. I consider myself a chocolate aficionado and believe that Cadbury’s quality is unmatched on the supermarket shelves – and indeed is on par with the expensive stuff you can only buy at fancy chocolate shops.

A box of Cadbury’s Favourites is one of my favourite gifts. It’s much better than one of those Whitman’s Samplers or other generic chocolate box.

Cadbury’s Favourites are a yardstick for quality.

But you might notice I checked “complaint” when submitting this feedback. And I have a complaint, just a small one (though not about the reduced size of the chocolates in your Favourites selection – but I did notice the Cherry Ripe squares seem to have lost a centimetre or two… no doubt a casualty of the Global Financial Crisis).

Nay, my complaint is more serious. We recently received a 600gm box of Favourites as a gift. Which was terrific and very thoughtful. My wife is a teacher and you’d be surprised how many students think miscellaneous craft will suffice as a material reward for her year of service. It won’t.

I opened this box of Favourites – as is my due (I do, afterall, contribute to the report writing process and offer general moral support throughout the year), I opened the box and lo and behold there were none of my absolute favourite to be found. “A mistake,” thought I. An issue with distribution in the box due to density… perhaps. But no. I am now at the bottom of this 600gm box of Favourites – and to my dismay have only managed to unearth two Turkish Delight chocolates. That’s two. You can count them on less than a hand. A captured English Archer could still count them (the French historically chopped the fingers off archers captured during conflicts with England). Two. How can a product call itself “Favourites” while offering such lip service to the notion. Well, lip service is a misnomer – I certainly didn’t feel served. I know my wife didn’t eat them – she doesn’t like them. And it seems unlikely (though they are of value) that anybody has broken into our relatively secure home just to steal those chocolates from the box.

I was most disappointed Cadbury. I believe you can do better. Perhaps the balance of chocolate in these boxes needs to shift from the boring “Dairy Milk” squares (which I assume are designed to cater for the lowest denominator of chocolate consumption) to the fun stuff – like the Moros, the Picnics, Cherry Ripes, and of course my beloved Turkish Delights.

You are no doubt sick of hackneyed Forrest Gump references in these feedback forms – but the problem I have with this particular box is that I know exactly what chocolates I’m not going to get from the box. And they’re my favourites.

Sincerely,

Nathan Campbell

Get cremed

Cadbury Creme Eggs are a masterpiece of Eastery goodness. There’s a Facebook group calling for them to be sold all year round – and I’m all for that.

Cadbury ran a pretty awesome “egg death” marketing campaign where fans had to bring about the untimely demise of their favourite culinary creation.

Here’s something special – make sure you watch right until the gooey end.