Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My worst customer experience ever

I'll never forget my worst customer experience ever. I was 1 year into my first job after college, working as a management consultant for Ernst & Young. After a nice lunch with some co-workers I stopped in at a local 7-11 convenience store to pick up a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for dessert.

I got back to my desk, ripped open the package, and upon biting into the first cup noticed that the filling wasn't as creamy as I expected. The consistency of the peanut butter was mealy and granular.

Upon review of the cup, I was HORRIFIED to discover little granular maggots embedded in the half eaten peanut butter cup. Upon further review, I was further horrified to discover that the maggots were actually alive and squirming around in the cup, and that the half eaten portion I'd quickly spit out of my mouth contained yet MORE maggots!!!!

I was, you can imagine, disgusted and livid.

After rinsing my mouth with several cups of water, brushing my mouth 3 or 4 times, and chewing through a pack and a half of gum to freshen my mouth - I proceeded to write a letter to Hershey's (manufacturer of the cups), and to delicately wrap up the half eaten portion of the remaining cup. I packaged up the whole disgusting mess and sent it, FedEx, to the customer support address on the package.

Within 2 weeks I received a sincerely worded response from a nice woman in Customer Relations. She apologized for my experience, assured me that Hershey's has manufacturing, distribution, and retail quality controls and the experience I had is both rare and unacceptable.

I was sent coupons for over $20 of Hershey's products, and a box of Hershey's coffee cups, for my trouble, and was thanked for my business.

I have to admit I was impressed by the relatively rapid response (keep in mind the experience happened in the late 80s, before the advent of internet email and the world wide web) - and in spite of the disgusting nature of my experience, I was willing to give my favorite candy another chance.

I remain a loyal Reese's Peanut Butter Cups eater. But I always break open the cups before I eat them now....


Anonymous said...

My stepmother once ate an entire box of Good and Plenty, and found that the box contained one white piece with all the rest pink.

She wrote to the company, who sent her a box with one pink piece and all the rest white.

This was in the 1970s.

Brand owners often have interesting responses to a variety of customer experiences. She always enjoyed the sense of humor they displayed.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This exact experience happened to me, but in the early 90s. So it appears that despite your letter, they still had the problem. Yuck.

Unknown said...

That was really a horrible experience. I don't know if I can eat again that same product if that has happened to me. Yet, thumbs up for them on giving you rapid response and feeling really sorry of what had happened.


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