Corporations, Little Ripoffsby
Maggie Van Ostrand
you come across a woman sitting there counting the nuts in Rocky Road ice cream,
that'd be me. I'm getting cynical about how big food corporations are cutting
back to save money. I want to "unfriend" them, same as we do on FaceBook, MySpace,
and Twitter, when the social networks are now often used to hawk products, solicit
political contributions, and strangers can even stalk you. Since I never invited
them to be my friend but they get on anyway, I want to unfriend them. If Ben &
Jerry are even one nut short in their ice cream, I'm unfriending them, too. |
I'd like to unfriend some of the corporations that seem to be behaving in a manner
that's not consumer-friendly. You could even say they are betraying their own
customers. We're the ones who have supported them all these years, and loyally
continued buying their products, forgiving them for the occasional price increase,
and not minding too much that the price increase probably went for expensive television
commercials aimed at seducing us into buying even more. Here are a few companies
I once thought of as necessary but if they keep on doing what I suspect they're
doing, I'm unfriending them:
I thought I was losing
my mind when a bar of Dial soap got finished off more than a week earlier than
it used to. I don't keep a graph or anything but I know my soaps. As luck would
have it, I suspected the indentation in the bottom of my Dial soap was deeper
than usual, leaving a considerably smaller bar of soap that looked the same in
the wrapper, but wasn't. So I found an old bar of Dial soap in the pantry and
sure enough, there used to be a slight indentation, not such a deep one. Henkel
International owns Dial Soap and, since their motto is "A Brand Like a Friend"
it should be easy to unfriend them. With all the other products they make (http://www.henkel.com/index.htm)
it shouldn't be too difficult to turn that deep Dial dent back into a slight nook
instead of a recess you could park your tractor in.
With a name like Mother's, you'd expect first-rate treatment, right? I don't know
about their other cookies, but I buy their Taffy cookies, the ones they call their
"... famous toasted cookie with smooth, sweet creme." Sounds like they're the
same cookie as always, but no, a betrayal by my own Mother's. Check out the filling,
which once went corner to corner and now is a dollop in the center which has been
squished flat and doesn't touch all the edges. The word is "filling," meaning
that it's supposed to "fill" the cookie. Thanks, Kellogs. Find another way to
satisfy your investors. Take a look at their products: http://www2.kelloggs.com/Product/Product.aspx
Yes, you can get coupons, but they must think we won't go to the trouble. Otherwise,
they could simply lower their prices. Stop underestimating your customers Mrs.
I buy 3-ply Kleenex by the case to save money
and always have enough for the nose-blowing allergics in the family. But lately,
only some of the boxes in the case are 3-ply, while others are 2-ply. Now I'm
not saying you can't use two 2-ply Kleenex and blow your brains out if you want
to. What I am saying is that we're not getting what we wanted, what we ordered,
or presumably, what we paid for. Besides, you have to put two 2-ply tissues together
for a good blow if there's pollen in the air. It seems deceptive and I don't like
it. I'd be lying if I said I understood what their label means when it reads:
"Manufactured for / Fabrique pour : Kimberly-Clark Global Sales, LLC...Neenah
WI...Made in the USA from domestic and imported material / Fabrique aux E.-U.
avec des matieres americaines et importees." Thing is, if they say it's made in
the USA, what's with all the French? And how come they put periods after E.-U.
for European Union, but no periods in USA? Is there some town in a foreign country
that's called "Usa?" and they mean to mislead us? I remember when that was tried
before, and failed as soon as the American people realized it was another con.
SUNMAID RAISIN BREAD
Ever since the huge corporation, Sara Lee, took
over, I'm sure there are fewer raisins in my favorite bread. Granted, sometimes
I luck out and there's an abundance of the little brown critters, but most of
the time in the last few years, there are very few per slice or at least nowhere
near as many as there once were. I love raisins, and I love Sunmaid, but Sara
Lee? Not so much. With a name like that, we picture our grandmother or aunt baking
in her kitchen and we get the warm fuzzies. But it is now just a massive conglomerate
known as Saralee, and here are just a few of their products: Sara Lee, Ball Park,
Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Aoste, Douwe Egberts, Hanes, Hanes Her Way, L'eggs,
Bali, Playtex, Bimbo, Senseo, Earth Grains, Champion, Coach, Dim, Sanex and Kiwi.
For a full list, including shoe care, body care, detergents, air care, meats,
beverages, and bakery, most of them familiar names, go to their website: http://www.saralee.com/OurBrands/AllBrands.aspx
PAM COOKING SPRAY
Very useful stuff instead of buying expensive
non-stick pans. However, I seem to be going through cans of Pam much faster than
I ever did before, and the size of my family is the same. To be on the safe side,
I thought I'd check their website to see if Pam's can-content weight has decreased.
To my surprise, I found that, even though they maintain a separate website, if
you read the itty-bitty print at the bottom, you see they are now owned by ConAgra
Foods, which also owns Swiss Miss, Hunts, Wesson Oil, Reddi Whip, Crunch & Munch,
Blue Bonnet, Banquet, Hebrew National, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Peter Pan,
Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher, Chef Boyardee, and a bunch of others.
Another big corporation with offices all over the map, and it's not a map of America.
Good for them, bad for us. If a product offers a rebate, I
ask the seller to apply the rebate to the purchase price, or I won't buy it. When
they get tears in their eyes and blubber on about how it's not them, it's the
company, I walk away. They invariably go to their supervisor. If they refuse to
bypass the rebate and take that amount off the price, I simply say no and leave.
We have power in the word "no."
Beware of your old favorite products in
new packaging, containers of different shape than before, and weight change. Have
you noticed things like these in your daily life, things that seem smaller, bottles
narrower, contents lighter? I've seen cereal boxes made larger to disguise that
the contents are smaller.
As soon as I finish counting the nuts in this
Rocky Road, I'm gonna start counting the nuts in corporate offices.
Maggie Van Ostrand
April 12, 2010 column
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