Saturday, September 7, 2013

Vox Populi!

I love how the internet has shifted the way consumers can make their opinions known about companies and products!

Long before Yelp (and I've forged quite a presence on that site since 2008), there were paper responses. People like me could pour out their hearts (kudos or vitriol), but once they dropped the letter in the mail, they were at the mercy of whomever might respond. Now, with well-placed clicks, they can involve the whole damned world in their fight by making it public. It's a terrific way of keeping the corporate world honest.

My first successful David vs. Goliath spar was in 1983. We had purchased a microwave (EXPENSIVE in those days) with an in-home repair warranty from the now late-great Zody's. Shortly thereafter, Zody's folded, and Circuit City took over the warranty contracts. A repair rep came out one day, and took our microwave into the shop, where it disappeared into the abyss. Calls and letters over several months were to no avail, so I wrote to David Horowitz' show "Action 4," and promptly got a response from Circuit City's corporate headquarters. Within days, we had a brand new microwave. Gee, justice was sweeeet!

Over the years that followed, I honed my complaint skills to a razor-sharp precision. My interventions became the stuff of legend among family and friends. Still, typing the letters, mailing them, following up if there was no responses -- all this took time and energy. I have offered my services online, because my success rate has been very high. See, my Vistaprint website.

Today, I took on Kroger, after some recent experiences at Ralphs. I sent them a brief note on their site, suggesting that their Pet Pride cat litter be packaged in heavy duty bags, rather than the plastic containers. Not only would it be more manageable for consumers with arthritis, but I wonder if production would be less costly, and more "green"? All I know is that Tiggy demands this type of litter, and hauling 20 lbs. of litter in their current containers hurts my hands like hell.

Then there's the issue of crushed pineapple. Dole sells it for $1.79 in cans with pull tabs (which I pry up with a heavy knife). Kroger's brand costs $1.19, but one has to use a can opener. I'm in the process of shopping for a suitable electric can opener, but in the meantime, I bought the Dole brand. Grrr....

The pharmaceutical industry has long gotten it. They have their easy-open containers (like my beloved Aleve), so I think other products should follow suit.

Now, I have to get ready for work. I have to earn the 60 cents times the number of cans I bought of the Dole product.
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