If you go to the contacts section of nearly any corporate website, they have a comments section where any member of the public can submit a comment or a query to their customer services team. Companies realised they could actually talk to their customers years ago, but it occurred to me that this could be exploited by idiots. Namely, myself.
Firstly, I decided to send an open letter to Kelloggs regarding Special K:
To whom it may concern,
I recently purchased a box of Special K as I was impressed by the claims that it can be a useful aid when loosing weight (as part of a balanced diet I understand).
However, what is so special about this cereal? Being called Special K implies that is distinct or almost unique. Although I was pleased by it's berrylicious taste, it certainly didn't feel that special considering that it is mass produced around the world.
I look forward to your answer as it may help me win a pub quiz should the question ever come up.
Kelloggs were kind enough to answer my question:
Thank you for your e-mail. Kellogg's Special K is special because it is a premium product and a complex
carbohydrate, low fat food. Special K flakes are made from a combination of
wheat and rice which helps you to feel fuller for longer and is a very useful
cereal for those watching their weight as it is more heavily fortified with
extra iron and seven key vitamins.I hope this information helps in answering your query.
Thanks again for contacting us.
Next up, I then sent a comment to Hovis. I decided that I would try a different angle and badger them into giving me a job:
I have enjoyed your products for many years and have accumulated a vast culinary knowledge of your tasty loaves. I have distinctly unique recipes for bread-based products from sandwiches, to toast, to bread and butter pudding.
Due to my wide repertoire of yeasty treats, I was wondering if you had an opening at your organisation for such as me. I could publish my recipes on your website and answer questions from members of the public, such as "how much is too much butter?" and "is black toast edible?". From a public relations standpoint, this kind of service would set you apart from the competition.
Please let me know if my services are required, then we'll discuss a salary.
Hovis must get this kind of thing a lot, because they passed my query over to their vacancies team who had a prepared response:
Unfortunately, at this time we have no vacancies available.
We would like to direct you to the Premier Foods Careers website which can be accessed via the following link: http://www.premierfoods.co.uk/careers/. On this site you will be able to view vacancies in other Premier Food Divisions and upload your CV onto our online database. Vacancies are updated on a regular basis where you can regularly view opportunities within Premier Foods.
We wish you the best in your search for employment.
Lastly, I wondered how companies treat obvious forgery of their products. This resulted in a query regarding Heinz ketchup:
I recently attended a church fair, and was delighted to see a delicious bottle of Heinz ketchup available on the raffle. I bought a ticket, and praise Budda, I won the ketchup!
My initial excitement was soon curtailed upon closer inspection of the product. At first, I noticed that packaging wasn't as striking and vivid as Heniz products usually are, but nonetheless, I promptly spread some of it on a hotdog that I had purchased earlier.
The taste was atrocious. Not only was the taste far short of Heniz's usual standards, it was bitter, vinegary, and downright disgusting.
Here is a photo of the product. Is this a forgery, or have Heinz really let their standards slip?
If this is a fake product, I can give you the details of the church in question in case you wish to sue them or shut them down for ripping off your brand name.
Heinz took this matter very seriously:
Thank you for your recent Email contact. I would be grateful if you could provide us with the quality codes from the product. These are a series of letters and numbers that are normally adjacent to the best before date on the .So seriously that they sent me the same email twice. I expect the Heinz company to effectively destroy religious gatherings by 2015. I sent them a response.
This information will enable us to look into the matter for you.
Dr Mr Heinz,
I'm afraid I could not find any quality codes on the product, apart from a scribbling on the back which said "This tastes great!". Does that count? If not, I guess there are no quality codes. Does this mean that the product is of low quality? I couldn't even find a best before date, which must mean that it never goes out of date.
They wrote back!
Thank you for your request. I am afraid that without quality codes, we cannot guarantee the product standards which our consumers expect of us. We are unable to take this matter any further.
Bah! I guess I'll have to find some other company to bring down organised worship!
Any further responses will be posted in a later update, so fingers crossed, stay tuned, don't touch that dial, and all that jazz.