Monday, October 13, 2014

It Pays to Speak Up . . . Literally.

Back in the ‘80s I took a college class that taught the pros of being an advocate. It seemed a silly assignment to me at the time, but I dutifully followed this particular homework instruction and wrote a letter to the organization of my choice about something I believed in. That was about as constricting as the assignment was. Full range of options there. Seemed no way to fail but to not write the letter. I wish I could remember that teacher’s name, because she did me a good service. I did indeed learn that if I had a strong feeling about something, it was probably worthy of a letter and the input more valuable to the company than I realized.

About 15 years ago, the hubs and I moved onto our 40-acre slice of heaven and began gardening on a very small scale. Still, we had surplus food so I taught myself to can. As one who cans (and is a rather obsessed recycler), I covet glass jars, especially those that can be used for canning. And so developed my allegiance to Classico pasta sauce. 

I had been using Classico pasta sauce long before I canned, but I had noted way back then that the jars they used were an official canning jar. I always thought that was trè cool. So it made sense that I would purchase their product when I wanted a quick and easy pasta sauce that was in all actuality quite good. (This is Not Yo’ Mama’s Pasta Sauce! Ugh; I remember those paltry, pitiful, barely palatable offerings of yore. Bleeyuck.) Well imagine my shock and horror when they changed their jar after lo’ these many years. WHAT? A standard canning lid will no longer fit this heretofore perfectly usable canning jar???! Removing fractions of an inch from the neck of the jar and the cap probably saved them tons of money, but in this day and age of “recycle, reuse, repurpose,” what the Heck were they thinking?!

So, I wrote them. I fussed and fretted and explained that they had effectively in one swell foop lost me as a customer and added dramatically to the landfill.  I was truly shocked at what seemed senseless to me.

Weeks later, I got a letter from Classico with free coupons for my anger. Sorry, guys, I ain’t that cheap. I tore up the coupons and threw them away.

Well much to my surprise, some months later, I received another letter from Classico. And guess what they told me? They were changing back to the old style of jar with the standard canning lid neck! How awesome is that?! Plus, they sent me another coupon for a free jar of pasta sauce.

Power to the People! :)
I’m guessing I was not the only customer they were doomed to lose due to an idiotic change that probably seemed brilliant at the time. Their executives are smart. They tried. They failed. They listened to their customers and they changed. That’s a pretty decent company, if you ask me. 

And now . . . I get to use that coupon! 


  1. Thanks for posting, Cindi. This is relevant for anyone, but especially to me and my technical writing classmates. Do you mind if I share it? Also do you still have the letter you wrote to Classico?

    1. Hi Kallie! I'm glad you found this useful. And I would be honored to have you share this - please do. As for the original letter, I'll have to check my computer at work and let you know.


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