Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday to Mike!

Have a great day! Try to get Nathaniel to dance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I have a lot of opinions- opinions about matters of discernable importance and tangible consequence, and other matters of less gravity, such as the fact that the maker of Oreo cookies has the appropriate cookie-to-cream filling ratio entirely backwards.

I decided to take a few days, observe my own insights about products that I encountered, and generously share them with their respective corporate entities.

Thus, I give you: Lara's E-Mail Harrassment of Corporate America and their predominantly humorless responses.

#1: Jelly Belly Candy Company

Dear Jelly Belly,

I would like to tell you that I admire your beans and their delightful flavors greatly, with the exception of the "buttered popcorn" flavor, which weirds me out.

I am wondering if you have considered making beans in the flavors of salsa, cucumber/melon, or margarine. It might also be mildly amusing if you had a "bile"-flavored bean, but called it "mojito", just to mess with people.


The Response:

Thanks for sending me your suggestion. It’s nice when people care enough to take the time to write to us about our products and programs.

We’re always looking into new ideas, and have looked at literally thousands of them in the past, including the one you sent. So far, we haven’t found the right way to make it good enough to be a Jelly Belly bean, but we’re working on it!

Currently Buttered Popcorn is our #2 most popular flavor. It was #1 for a few years but Very Cherry has now taken over the number one ranking.

Thanks for writing. We really appreciate hearing from you.

Sweet Regards,

Mr. Jelly Belly

...I kind of have a small crush on "Mr. Jelly Belly now; he was really rather sweet....

#2: Kellogg's.

Dear Kelloggs,

Your Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal is like a disappointing lover.

In previous years, I had come to think of this crunchy, sturdy product as a personal favorite. Having lapsed in my consumption of your breakfast delight (due to the cost-prohibitive nature of said cereal), I recently decided to revisit the tantalizing experience of consuming a bowl, and subsequently purchased a box.

You put some cinnamon or other crap in there, and now it tastes different.

Eating my Cracklin' Oat Bran was disappointing, unsatisfying, and mildly disorienting.

I would like to know why you tampered with perfection. Please remove the cinnamon-or-crap-flavor from your cereal so that it might be enjoyed in its original, preferable form.

The Response: (partial)

"...We value the comments you have shared with us and will report them to our Quality Assurance team for follow-up. The information that you provided will help ensure that our products and services continue to meet the highest quality standards...The cereal has always had cinnamon but if it taste too much that is definitely a quality error."

Note: They are sending me a coupon for a free box of the cereal. I don't know- I'm not certain I can weather much more disappointment...

#3: Capital One (inspired by their obnoxious 'card lab' commercial)

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to posit a question regarding the option wherein I may use my own “personalized image” on a new Capital One card, through the “Card Lab” feature.

I would like to know if I may use a photo of my naked posterior as the image on my card.

Thanks for your attention

The Response:

"...we'll need you to call us to discuss this matter. Please call our Customer Relations Department at 1-800...."

I think *someone* is trying to snag a date....

(A diet product with obnoxious commercial that involves repeated chants of "Eat all you want, and still lose weight! Eat ALL you WANT and STILL lose WEIGHT!" reminiscent of the Head-On commercials.)

To whom it may concern,

With regard to your product: can I eat all I want and still lose weight?

Do I have to rub Akavar on my forehead?

Thank you

The Response:

Akavar would not allow me to reproduce the information contained in their email. I will say, however, that I got a very enthusiastic response not unlike that which I might expect to be exhibited if Richard Simmons had written it. They also didn't answer my initial question.

#5: Hormel Foods

Dear Hormel,

Please resolve a dispute between myself and my best friend.

I recently purchased a can of your Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash. Upon cooking the product, I noted that the consistency was remarkably similar to that of Fancy Feast's "Chicken Feast with Gravy" flavor.

Is "Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash," in fact, repurposed cat food?

Thank you.

The Response:

Regrettably, Hormel has declined response to this pressing question, so it remains anyone's guess whether or not Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash enjoys dual identities.

#6:General Mills

Some time ago, I emailed the cereal company in regard to my jubilation at the fact that they had reverted from fruity-shaped cereal pieces, back to their original "ball-y shaped" Trix.

The Response:

Thank you for contacting General Mills regarding Trix cereal. It was kind of you to share your thoughts, and you have brightened our day.
In 1992, Trix round pieces changed to fruit shaped pieces. These fruit shapes came is 5 distinct shapes - red raspberry cluster, yellow lemon wedge, purple grape cluster, green lime ball and orange ball. All colors were the same fruit flavor.
There is a great deal of time and effort involved in developing our various products. We are glad that you like the change back to the original shapes. We will be sure to share your thoughts with the appropriate individuals.

#7- My Local Super One Grocery Store Re: When Cart Corrals were invented.

This is an oldie; I don't have a copy of my original e-mail, but I had contacted the store to settle an inane dispute between Nathaniel and I regarding when cart corrals had first been used in parking lots. I was *that* intent on proving myself correct.

The (impressively thorough) Response:

Thanks for taking the time to e-mail. I actually worked in the first grocery store owned by Miners' Inc in Cloquet. I don't believe the first store, which was located on Avenue F and 14th St. (1977-1982) did not have any cart corrals in the parking lot. That first store was a real "no frills" operation; they probably wouldn't have been included in the equipment budget. The cart corrals probably first started appearing at the company's second location which was at the Lumberjack Mall in 1982. Unfortunately, the company wouldn't have any purchase records for these anymore. The early 1980's would be my best guess. I hope this has been of some help to you.

Have a great day!

#8: McKee Foods Corp.

I am writing to inquire whether or not your "Little Debbie Nutty Bars" in fact contain crack, as my son recently consumed an excessive quantity of the product to the point of near-vomiting and then professed that he "still want[ed] to eat more of them, even though [I] feel like throwing up."

Thank you.

The Response:

The makers of Little Debbie products ALSO neglected to respond to my query. Well... silence is consent, isn't it? Or agreement? No more Nutty Bars for Noel.

Nothing will ever top the blistering email response I received from a big-name pasta company, upon JOKINGLY suggesting that they were being subsidized by the ricotta cheese industry, after I encountered a recipe for lasagna on one of their boxes that called for a ridiculous FIVE cups of cheese. FYI: don't fuck with the green-box lasagna people. They have NO sense of humor!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FYI- I'm working on something...

Update in the next week or so....