Monday, 7 November 2011

uncle tobys are "sorry i feel that way"; i oatally understand these feelings

In late October I was quite shaken up by a deeply flawed box of cereal. This week, I received a reply to my concerned correspondence.


Hi [redacted],

Thank you for contacting us regarding UNCLE TOBYS Oat Crisp Almond 415g.

We are sorry that you felt the product was misrepresented on the packaging.

Our company adheres to a strict code of ethics when it comes to the labelling and representation of our products. In this we are bound by the requirements of the Food Standards Code, and the Trade Practices Act.

Our policy in this regard is that we will not make misleading or inaccurate statements or representations about the composition of our products. In this particular case we believe we have complied with the requirements of food labelling law, and the Trade Practices Act.

The other range of our cereals that contain clusters are the UNCLE TOBYS Plus Protein and UNCLE TOBYS Plus Omega 3 Lift.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.




Dear [redacted],

Thank you for your prompt reply. I am glad to hear that you are sorry I felt that "Oat Crisp" was misrepresented on the packaging. Although it may surprise you to hear that I have managed to get myself into a fair share of arguments in the past, I am always satisfied when they end with someone telling me that they are "sorry you feel that way"—when I hear this, I can leave the conversation with a smug smile upon my face, knowing that I have more than adequately won the battle. This is particularly the case with ex-girlfriends.

Indeed, "I am sorry you feel that way" may be one of the greatest expressions of regret and sympathy ever imagined in any human language. I have attached a painting of "Maud Muller", the heroine of American poet John Greenleaf Whittier's tragic 1856 poem of the same name. I have no doubt that the faces of the relevant Uncle Tobys executives are similarly racked with guilt at the way I feel about "Oat Crisp":

If only I had put some f****** clusters in his broth!
Additionally, I fully accept that "Oat Crisp" complies with all the requirements of the Trade Practices Act—because that particular piece of legislation no longer exists. This (as I am sure you are aware) is great news for business; I personally am in the process of setting up a dog-walking company where I don't actually walk the dogs, but simply rent them out to nursing homes for the day as companionship animals. Although I will profit twice while the dogs receive no exercise whatsoever, my business (like yours) will also fully comply with the Trade Practices Act.

Finally, I wish to thank you for recommending other cereals that contain clusters. I will pick one up this afternoon. In return for your recommendation, I would like to leave you with one of my favourite Japanese haiku, composed by the old master Yosa Buson (1716-1784). Perhaps when you receive customer complaints in future, you can just simply send this poem as a reply. It is totally appropriate, as it is regretful, and deals with food:

At the over-matured sushi,
The Master
Is full of regret.

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