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Do you ever contact the manufacturer?

Very recently my son opened a frozen dinner we had purchased. This dinner was supposed to contain a meat, a vegetable and a dessert. I contained only the vegetable and the dessert. I called the manufacturer and explained what we found. They were very apologetic, and promised free product coupons.

Even more recently, son #2 opened a jar of pickles for the first time. Ate part of a spear, and told me it "tasted weird". I took a taste, and there was a very metallic taste to the pickle. I sent the manufacturer an email this time. I got a snail mail reply with two free product coupons.

I like the idea that Customer Service from these two firms have made me whole on my purchase. But I'm wondering if the complaint resulted in any type of recall of the lot numbers I provided.

Have you had any similar interactions with food processors?

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  1. I certainly do.
    Compliments or complaints.I get coupons or free product vouchers 95% of the time.
    I feel as a consumer..the company should know

    1. I contact for positive and negative feedback.
      I haven't come across anything worrisome that I thought might result in a recall.
      Most appreciate the feedback and for your time, sometimes you get a coupon or two.

      1. I find it highly unlikely that they would do a recall based on a single complaint from an ordinary customer. One can expect that from distributing thousands of pickle jars, one or two will be "imperfect"; they are not going to recall the whole lot based on one complaint. Now, if they get multiple complaints about the same thing, or if the caller is a medical professional representing herself/himself as such to report a genuine medical issue, that would be a different story. Though I can't imaging that in the case of a genuine medical problem, a doctor would simply dial the customer service center and leave that complaint to the customer service rep.

        Many years ago after a friend and I had many too many glasses of wine, for whatever reason we called the number on the back of a box of Barilla pasta to ask what one would use that shaped pasta for. We got a recording, but the next day, they called back and left a message giving us suggestions for using that shape (er, in cooking, not what we could go and do with it). I must have killed those brain cells as I have no idea what the shape of the pasta was.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MagicMarkR

          "Hello, Mr. Barilla, what do I do with this bowtie thingy?"
          "Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp"
          "Hiccup"

          1. re: monavano

            Yeah, that's why I was so surprised they actually called back!

            1. re: MagicMarkR

              Ha, drinking and dialing can be a crap shoot!

        2. Several years ago my father bought some fresh, not frozen pierogis, from Costco. They were terrible. My father e-mailed the manufacturer with his complaints. My father described the pierogi filling as looking like 'chicken fat' but did not taste as good. They sent him coupons for more free crappy pierogis.

          1 Reply
          1. re: John E.

            "Hi, your product sucks."
            "Great, have some more, on the house!"

          2. Many more years ago than I care to count, I spent a year in France as a student. I was terribly homesick, yearning for a taste of America (in the land of wonderful food!). A fellow student gave me a Mars candy bar and I cried. Instead of high-end chocolates, this tasted like heaven to me. I wrote to the Mars Candy Co telling them of this magical experience and what "a taste of home" meant to me. Not too long afterward, a huge box arrived on our doorstep. Yep. Boxes and boxes of candy bars from Mars with a lovely letter accompanying. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mars and can still get misty thinking about how much this meant to me. That single positive customer service experience made me a believer in sending "attaboy" letters to companies when they have done something noteworthy.

            3 Replies
              1. re: Sherri

                Mars is a closely held LLC. That means the family still owns Mars. They can still do things like they did for you. 

                1. re: John E.

                  It just goes to show you have far afoot we have gone in this country. Customers used to be important, now there's just dividends.

              2. I have a few times.

                Most recently, one of my sleeves of Nespresso pods arrived (sealed) with several pods missing. I shrugged it off and used them anyway, but they brewed up tasting awful. Metallic or rancid. I sent an email with the batch # just as a "head's up." They overnighted me a new sleeve with a very nice email apologizing and promising to look into it. Who knows if they did.

                Conversely, I wrote an email to a non food product company years ago after a somewhat traumatic experience... their product helped me through that time. I'm not sure why I sent the email, just felt compelled to do so. It is a brand owned by Johnson & Johnson and I never expected in a million years for a real reply.

                Two weeks later, I got an email from some higher up at J & J saying my email had nearly brought her to tears. She thanked me profusely and shared a personal experience of her own. She also said she'd printed my letter and read it aloud at some kind of staff meeting, and that they do appreciate hearing how their products affect people.

                I thought that was sweet.

                Last story: When I was a kid, my brother developed a severe and life threatening allergy to sesame seeds. My mother scoured the labels of hamburger buns at the grocery store and could only find one that didn't have them, and wasn't produced on shared equipment. Those were the only (MEDIOCRE AS HELL) hamburger buns we ever had. Then one night over dinner, my brother picked up his bun and flicked a sesame seed off of it. He hadn't bitten into it yet, thank god.

                My mother called the company and left a fuming but intelligible message just "letting you know" what could have happened.

                Come Monday morning, two men showed up in black suits with sunglasses and briefcases. At our front door! They were both lawyers, coming to talk mom down from a lawsuit (which she didn't intend on). I was maybe 12, and stood outside the kitchen eavesdropping as they offered money, coupons, etc. and my mother just kept laughing at them. She said "I don't want your money OR your shitty buns, you just need to put a warning on your label so you don't kill children."

                My mom's awesome.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nothingswrong

                  You're mom is a real gem.
                  Great stories, all.

                2. Absolutely. If I purchase an item that is clearly suffering from a manufacturing problem, I let them know. The most recent example is some soup in the refrigerator case at Costco. This soup was ready to serve, just needed to be reheated. However, the potatoes were crunchy. Not just a little too firm for my taste, but raw in the middle. I let them know, and they sent me a Costco card. I wasn't looking for that (and, in fact, did tell the manufacturer that I had returned the item to Costco). I have always found to compensation to be more than my direct cost.

                  1. About 35 years ago my uncle's coffee maker shorted out and damaged their range (remember when a stove had an electric outlet?). Anyway, he contacted the manufacturer of the coffee maker, with a copy of the receipt for the repairs to the stove and photos of both the stove and the coffeemaker, to no avail. My dad wrote a letter for his brother to Joe DiMaggio and my uncle received a check from Mr. Coffee within a couple of weeks.

                    1. Some years ago, a friend of mine made a project of writing to food companies with bogus complaints. Most sent coupons for free products. Only one sent an actual human being to his door to investigate the complaint: Campbell Soup.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mwhitmore

                        Your friend is an idiot. I hope someone discovered the fraud and did something about it.

                      2. Found a rubber band like thing in some chips once.
                        Sent it to the manufacturer with a note. Got back a big bag of snacks and a letter telling us they identified the belt it came from and were redesigning the machine.

                        1. Not really a "contact" but have taken a few things back to store where purchased. Bought a bagged, salad mix... romain and arulaga that LITERALLY has so few pieces of arugala that I could count on 2 hands and BARELY registered on scale... cost significantly more than just pre-washed romaine.Didn't want a replacement so got money back.

                          Maybe a month ago, bought pre-made, frozen burger patties (SR brand). I KNOW how to cook them but they came out as HOCKEY PUCKS... again got money back.

                          Had heard that Calphalon had a really good policy for replacement of their cookware. Decided to take them up on policy by returning 2 non-stick skillets and FAVORITE NS sauce pan. Only used wood or tools meant for non-stick surfaces. They were still usable but just NOT as non-stick as they used to be. Cost a few $$ to send them back but got BRAND NEW replacements in a little more than a weeks time.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I complained once about yogurt that exploded (well not quite so dramatic as that but it projected itself out of the container when I opened it). I got an apology, and coupons, but they only replaced the value of the yogurt.
                            Recently I wrote Nature's Path to ask why their Hemp granola had puffed rice in it, because I hate that. I was honestly puzzled by the ingredient list, the only thing that mentioned rice was "brown rice flour". I explained that I had my husband buy their granola rather than another cheaper brand because I was trying to avoid puffed rice (I think manufacturers add it to make the product cheaper and lower fat/calorie, but I like regular old oat-based granola, TYVM). I got a formulaic general "apology" and then a one sentence explanation that the puffed rice was "from the brown rice flour". I wasn't trolling for coupons, but they would have encouraged me to try another product. Now I'm turned off.
                            I do suspect Canadian companies/branches have a lower budget for appeasing customers with coupons, probably just due to scale. I had a business student friend who started sending a lot of complaints in university - genuine complaints, but definitely with intent of getting free stuff. It worked once. Then she started getting 1)phone calls to ask about the expiry date on that case of bad pop - yup, expired indeed, grocery store should not have sold it and 2) letters back from manufacturers explaining that low-fat granola would never taste the same as regular, etc. It's interesting they did have the budget to address her complaints seriously, but no will to appease her with coupons (not that I think they should have necessarily, but these were big companies like Quakers and Sprite).

                            1. Very rarely, but I was such a fan of Celentano eggplant parm for decades and then it took a turn for the bad.

                              The problem is, I got a pile of coupons for more of it. And for pasta based stuff we don't eat in our house.

                              I've been trying to hunt down mgmnt for Gosling's diet ginger beer, which is the best, cloudy, fresh ginger filled thing I've ever tasted, to ask for glass bottles instead of BPA lined cans. And I called cat food companies not long ago about a medical issue and questions about a harmful ingredient change to carageenan.

                              1. Several years ago my dad bought some pierogis from the refrigerated case at Sam's Club. They were supposed to have a potato and cheese filling. The yellowish glop that was the filling was terrible and the dough was tough. He wrote a letter to the California manufacturer telling them what he thought of their pierogis. He wrote "the filling looked like chicken fat but didn't taste as good." he recieved a check for $10 and had not even paid that much for the pierogis.

                                1. Only about TWO days ago, tried to find manual for my (yard sale) Hoover bagless vac. It work GREAT for quite a while but recently kinda dusting itself while vacuuming?? Easy enough to figure out the bagless part and clean filters, but when vac is "dirty" that's a bit of an oxymoron to me.

                                  I go to Hoover's web site and section for customer support and manuals simple to find. BUT couldn't find my model number... NO idea how old the thing is, so thinking discontinued? When I had no luck, clicked on "contact" spot, put in minimal info I had and then clicked "send"... thinking THAT email is gonna float around out there forever. BUT within LITERALLY maybe 2 hours, go response sending me right to exactly what I needed.

                                  1. About two years ago I bought a can of Wegmans chocolate covered peanuts. It was sealed with thick aluminum foil that left sharp edges around the perimeter of the can after it was torn off. I managed to gash my finger pretty good. After closer inspection, I saw that the can had a printed warning about it.

                                    I wrote them and said that if a package is dangerous enough to need that kind of warning, maybe they should look to redesign it. I did it through their website. It asked if I required a response, and I answered no. As such, I never heard from them.

                                    1. Last year I hosted a wine and cheese tasting and one of the cheeses was a Lager Kase Brick made by Widmer's. Everyone agreed that the cheese was significantly flawed because it was intensely bitter and had a strong metallic taste.

                                      I sent an e-mail to Widmer's and inquired about our experience. The owner replied and basically said they cannot help it if a store mishandles their cheese and too bad so sad.

                                      None of us with be purchasing any of their products again.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Fowler

                                        What was the response from the store where you bought it?