Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So, I received this wonderful gift for Christmas.

The neighbors sent over a beautiful box from a high-end, specialty grocer in the area.  To get a product from this particular grocer as a gift gives warm fuzzies inside. 

I was so excited.

We received it on Christmas and I decided to prepare the product for dinner on Sunday.  I'm a stickler for dates on products, so I dug in to check everything out before making it. 

Italian dipping oil?  Good through 2012.  Great!

Noodles?  No expiration, but noodles probably don't generally go bad.

Mushroom pasta sauce?  Expired in August.  Actually, the lid says:
Knowing all that, I decided to contact the store. 

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2010 5:08pm
Subject: A gift box question

To Whom it May Concern:

Imagine my surprise yesterday when my neighbors delivered a beautiful box from your store
to us for Christmas. Oh, what an incredible treat!

I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous box today and use the items for dinner. I untied the red and green organza ribbon, placed the fresh sprig of pine in a pot to make the house smell of Christmas pine and cut into the cellophane wrap. In the box was [ - - - ] Italian dipping oil, [ - - - ] penne ziti rigate and [ - - - ] Pasta Mushroom Sauce. Because I'm a stickler about food and expiration dates, I did a check.

The oil? It expires in 2012. The noodles are without expiration, but they do have a [ - - - ] sticker with white out over the price and then there is the [ - - - ] Pasta Mushroom Sauce. Expiration? 8/28/2010.

At first, I thought that we had been re-gifted. My husband and I kind of giggled about it. But then I started thinking. It was undoubtedly a [ - - - ] made box, had the red and green organza and the sprig of fresh white pine.

There is no way that I would discuss the expiration of goods with my neighbors. They would be absolutely mortified.

It brings me to this question. Did you sell pre-packed holiday gift boxes in the description I gave (in a white half box with [ - - - ] stamped in gold on both sides with white shredded paper inside and including the three items) and if so, is there any way that you would consider rectifying the expiration situation? [ - - - ] is synonymous with quality and I was very shocked when I discovered the terribly expired item in my Christmas gift box.

Thank you in advance for your time.


---------- Original Message ----------

Subject: RE: A gift box question
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 09:43:12 -0500 (EST)

Thank you for your question.

Unlike the grocery store, we still put pricing stickers on containers for the benefit of our customers. The date on the pricing stickers is the day we put it on the shelf; it's not an expiration date. It helps us rotate product on the shelf, as many of the manufacturer's dates are cumbersome to read without considerable study. Your pasta sauce was priced on 8/28/2010 and placed on the shelf on that date.

[ - - - ] doesn't have a best by date printed on their containers; I suspect it's because they are a tiny company in [ - - - ] OH with sales small enough that they aren't required to. However, we have good movement on all the [ - - - ] products. Normally a pasta sauce will have a 2-year shelf life, so your sauce should be good for at least another year.

My follow-up e-mail:

I understand the size and pricing of your store. Believe me, I've been to [ - - - ] in the past. I'm also apt to believe that given the photo evidence that I have now attached to this e-mail, you did not take the time to investigate my complaint beyond your expired knowledge.

The jar does say "BEST BY 082810" and it is printed on the lid of the jar.

That is NOT a shelf date. That is an expiration.

It is sad that your company would be willing to sell and defend selling expired goods in gift boxes purchased by customers thrilled to pass your products on for gifts. I tried to be understanding. Mistakes happen. I work at a locally owned, non-chain store myself. I understand that when there is a customer complaint, we resolve it. We don't excuse it away. We also walk away from our counter to do hands-on investigation.

Please pass this on to a manager. I would like to have a resolution to this matter from staff that roams the floor and is more familiar with the product.

- - - - - - - -

The jar of pasta sauce in question? It is a $7.00 jar of sauce. Given that I tend to buy sauce that is $1.39 at the local discounter, it seems kind of spendy to me. It's worth it for good, non-expired sauce, but a little rich for me. That is probably precisely why the neighbors bought it for us. They knew that we wouldn't.

The neighbors don't know and won't know.

This is the day that I go to you. Would you have tossed it or would you have gone further with it. I admit that when I got the response back this morning, I was ticked.

Oh internet, what would you do?

Smiles in my day:
- The childcare shuffle continued, but mom is off today so K- will be going to hang out with my nephews for a bit this AM and hanging out with my mom for the day. Hooray!
- K- doesn't realize it, but we'll be going to have dinner with her siblings AKA her "bamily" tonight.

Have a great day!


Susan said...

Hello, I think your emails were reasonable, to the point, and that their response was disappointing to say the least and certainly frustrating. I hope they resolve this for you and replace the item; if they're smart they will also give you a coupon for some free goods as well.

Good will is a very valuable thing.

I would not have used the jar - I likely would have sent an email, as you did. Or if it was a location near me, and I was in the area anyway, I might have talked it over in person.

Rach said...

I too would not have used the sauce--seeing as it was a mushroom sauce. Eek!

I too would have emailed/contacted the store. The shoddy customer service leaves much to be desired to say the least. Please let us know how they follow-up. It's a $7 jar of pasta sauce, for pete's sake, it's not like it will break them to offer it as a good will gesture. :oS

Good luck!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Do you live by the store? If you do I would have returned it to the store and asked for a more current jar. I really hate when that happens! Your neighbors spent good money on something they thought you would like and it's too bad that you can't (and shouldn't) use it.

Sissy said...

I think your email was reasonable and the photo should have convinced them to rectify the situation. Totally.