There is nothing too unusual about my wife’s choosing to enjoy a breakfast of a heart-warming and heart-healthy bowl of hot oatmeal coupled with some antioxidant-rich blueberries. As an added bonus, she’s often inclined to retrieve a bag of nuts from a cupboard and sprinkle some on top.
On this particular morning, what came next was a bit, you could say, outside the bag. Glancing at her modest handful of pecan halves, she noticed what appeared to be a tasteful anomaly.
Somehow a smattering of about a half-dozen milk-chocolate-covered peanuts had infiltrated the aforementioned bag of pecans. More than a little surprised, she called me to the table for added confirmation of her discovery. Quick to discern the potential direction of our investigation, I assured her that April Fool’s Day wasn’t for a month yet, and I had nothing to do with this conundrum.
Though I am a fan of chocolate-covered peanuts, I prefer mine dipped in the darker alternative. Truth is, I enjoy almost anything dipped in dark chocolate, not just nuts!
In short order, I grabbed a knife and performed an emergency dissection of one nutritional abnormality, and our hypothesis was confirmed. A limited number of chocolate-covered peanuts had violated protocol and had taken refuge in our bag of pecan halves.
Such a memorable moment deserved preservation, and I promptly lined up a quick photo of the bag of pecans with selected mutations alongside. Then it struck me.
“This deviation from the norm could require further action,” I posited.
At that point, I examined the packaging of this health snack alternative and scanned the nutritional facts. In so doing, I also uncovered a contact number and e-mail address.
I could not be constrained. A response was in order. They must be informed of this packaging oddity. With all the humorous diplomacy I could muster, I emailed the manufacturer in question. In the memo line I titled my address the “Unexpected Crunch.”
After briefly rehearsing for the Consumer Relations Department the scene from our morning’s discovery, I then expounded of our pecan halves, “I suppose you could say they turned out to be ‘mixed nuts.’” Quickly, I reassured them we would continue to enjoy their flavorful product, “without or without the added bonus of chocolate-covered peanuts.” Of course, I attached the evidentiary photo for their “enjoyment.” Finally, I ended my correspondence with the valediction, “Surprised with you, Ken.”
Low and behold, despite my innocuous attempts at levity, that same day a representative from the company emailed me back with a most sincere apology for our experience. With it they expressed appreciation for us having informed them and an assurance that our findings would be thoroughly investigated by a Quality Assurance Team.
To be sure, we were impressed. In addition, they requested some packaging details including the UPC number, the “best by date” and the retailer from whom we purchased the product. We gladly obliged, but not before their missive ended with word that when this information was received from us, a full-value replacement product coupon would be coming our way! Boom Shakala! Life is good!
Still on the mend from my combination inguinal hernia surgery and colonoscopy in the middle of February, I prepared for my follow-up appointment. Timing was such that it was scheduled the morning of my birthday. Sadly, I was not greeted with a cake, candles or any ice cream.
All seemed to be in good order with respect to the hernia, but then the news came regarding that other invasive procedure. My attending medical professional informed me I had joined the ranks of those suffering from diverticulosis. Some dietary alterations were in order.
More than a little dismayed, I was warned of the potential regarding my digestive disorder. I was urged to monitor certain consumables. I curiously pondered, “I’ve spent the bulk of my 63 years of life eating just about anything. Now they come restricting my menu. I hope they make me give up liver, brussels sprouts, turnips or pickled beet eggs, but heaven forbid, never nuts!”
Due to the bulging pouches along some of my colon and digestive tract, I was being mandated to start putting up the “no vacancy” sign for specific lodgers. The culprits, as I was instructed, were such delectables as corn, popcorn kernels, seeds, and, yes, you guessed it, nuts! My stomach ached when I heard the news. My taste buds were in travail. My palate nearly went into a panic.
Listless, I turned and headed out the exam room, prescripted for a future void of some of my favorite edibles. Home, I lethargically opened the day’s mail and was temporarily uplifted, even elated, with an envelope from that “nutty” consumer relations department. Inside was a cordial letter of follow-up sincerely expressing we remain loyal customers.
Stapled to the stationery was $16 worth of coupons to purchase another bag of the manufacturer’s nuts. And so it happened, and all in one day, that sometimes you feel like a nut, and if circumstances change, sometimes you don’t!
Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org