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When I was pregnant with my daughter I experienced a great deal of nausea. At times I could barely eat anything. The smell of food would send me retching to the bathroom. I once barfed Blueberry Morning cereal out the car window. I had terrible food at a Chinese restaurant and immediately lost my wonton soup in the ally. I got barf on my new shoes. Me, without a napkin, teary eyed and green looking up to see that I had just emptied my gut under a giant sign that said, “White Heathers Social Club”. I started laughing, imagining a crowd of anorexic white Heathers, making disgusted faces and admonishing me for soiling their territory.

One day I sat down to eat a Budget Gourmet Rigatoni in Cream Sauce with Broccoli and Chicken and discovered a stiff dark hair, about three inches long, embedded in one of the noodles. I immediately lost the half I had already consumed and then called the number on the box to explain my dilemma. I cried on the phone and told her I was pregnant and thought I had just eaten rat hair food. I decided to lay it on a bit thick, kind of as an experiment. I wasn’t mean or rude, just a grossed out, choked up, pregnant lady. The customer service rep was very sweet and properly apologetic.

A few days later I got this in the mail and it made me laugh. I think it might even be a canned response, meaning of course that this is common.

”Dear Ms. Witchiepoo (tee hee, insert real name)

Thank you for telling us about a recent experience in which you found what appears to be a hair in a package of THE BUDGET GOURMET Rigatoni in Cream Sauce with Broccoli and Chicken. Please be assured that the safety of our consumers and your trust in our products are important to us.

We are concerned as you must have been by this experience, particularly because of the very rigid quality control standards and precautionary procedures observed throughout the production of our products. These safeguards are designed to ensure against any extraneous material gaining entrance to our production areas or to the products themselves. As an added precaution, all employees working in the processing areas are required to wear hair nets.

Our reputation is built in high-quality products, and any complaint to the contrary is cause for concern. For this reason , complaints like yours are most important to us. You may be assured that prompt action will be taken on this matter, and every effort will be made to prevent recurrence. (What are they going to do about a hair in my food? Send an employee to de-grossify my experience? Make the rats wear hair nets? Apply the strictest standards to the food going to my town?)

We thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention and have enclosed a product replacement coupon to reimburse you for you’re your product purchase. Because we value you as a customer, we have also enclosed a complimentary coupon for your use. We do hope that you will try our products again (I did not) and that you will find them to your complete satisfaction.

Sincerely,

Shirley Fretwell (What a PERFECT customer service name.)
Consumer Affairs Representative

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