Prostituted Customer

I feel like a company has tried to buy me off. They did so quite generously too I might add. Is this the new way of doing business?

I am a Celiac. I consume more than a ‘normal amount’ of a certain product because of the limited number of manufactured foods I am able to eat. The product in question is an oatmeal based snack bar. Over the last year, the bar(s) in their individual wrapper have been shrinking. The price remains the same.

I started thinking about what a waste this is. Shrinking product size makes excessive landfill waste because the packaging is over-sized for the product. Plus I get hungry faster – less calories per serving. The idea started to bother me.

Products that are grown such as vegetables, fruits, and meats do not shrink if the cost of farming and ranching go up. Why do manufactured products need to shrink? Can’t they be real, or is it falsely believed consumers do not notice?

Because I do not mind having my opinions heard, I emailed the company at their customer service email address. Unfortunately for the company and myself, the person who was assigned to help me, appeared to have limited reading and comprehension ability and seems to be inexperienced in public relations.

I wrote in my email, over the past year their product has shrunk. I would prefer they return the product to its original size and raise the price. Sounded reasonable to me. I am willing to pay a little more for the original product size.

The first reply stated I was mistaken, and the product size has not changed in the last year (Ok, the last months maybe?). The last year was the time frame I used. I am reading the reply and thinking, ‘I eat a number of these each and every week. The open space in the package has grown by almost an inch, or about twenty percent over the last year. I get hungry sooner after eating them than before.’

Ok, I thought, perhaps there is an understanding gap between what I wrote and what was read on the other end. I decided to rephrase my email comments. I explained perhaps I was not clear in my first email about my concern and here is a rehash.

The product is a food, and therefore a major part of my diet. Because it has shrunk, I now have to eat something else to replace those calories that are missing when compared to your product from a year ago. I would prefer, you raise the price, and keep the product size the same.

The second reply echoed the first reply. The product has not changed in size. Also a check would be sent to me for my time and my emails. This email was a little frosty, imo.

This reply generated a third email from me. I stated I did not want any coupons or money from the company. All I want is to make the company aware of the idea, that shrinking product may not be the best answer in all cases.

This last email was ignored. Within a week or ten days, a check showed up in the amount of ten dollars addressed to me from the company I traded emails with. Really?

In defense of the company and the person who was unfortunate enough to have to respond to my email, I am sure they did their best, and I am sure they followed company policy.

The tone of the replies was a little brusque, but I lend that to the apparent inexperience of the person handling my email. A customer may not alway be right, but it helps to actually read and understand what is being said, before writing a flip reply.

So now, instead thanking a customer for making a suggestion to their business on how better to market their product, I feel like I have been prostituted. Ignore the customers concerns and suggestion.

Send the whiner a few dollars (against his wishes) to shut him up.