Taking a store snafu with a grain of salt (x 100)

Questions? Comments? Call (800) 555-1234.

You recognize the small print seen on product packaging. I’m an ardent proponent of utilizing consumer numbers to express pleasure or displeasure with a product or service when there’s cause and reason.

That includes the taste buds spitting out a blech!

Recently I bought a box of seasoned Spanish rice, the store brand, at Alberton’s, a U.S. grocery chaiin.

The spices aren't terrific but no big deal, they're going into a pot of fake Mexican stew.

What knocks my socks off is the salt. Woooowweee!! For its punch, I might as well open the skinny cabinet next to the stove, reach in for Morton, flip up the metal spout and let it rain directly into the mouth.

Now, for some perspective, I’m not salt-leary; in fact more often I need more of it than less. Both my sister and I barely register on the blood pressure cuffs. All our lives nurses have jokingly inquired whether we’re actually alive. So salt is off my radar until my body signals a sharp craving for it, usually a bag of chips.

Back to the rice mix. Between puckers I check the box. Sodium amount something like 500-600 mg. Perhaps that's a lot, perhaps not; my palate tells me so and when it comes to food, my palate is my guide. Also I look at the sodium percentage of total ingredients. It tops out at 26%. That explains why it tastes like:


So on the horn I get with the 800 number the next day. Get a customer service gal who’s nice enough but not entirely rowing with both oars in the water.

She takes notes of my comments. Then asks for the contact info to send a coupon of equal value.

I respond that I won’t use the product again so there's no need to go to all the trouble and paperwork.

She replies the coupon can be used for any product in the store long as it's the Albertson's brand.

Any? So I could use it for like half-and-half?

Yes, any product, she assures.

All righty, I say, reiterating that if it's not for the rice, I'll accept graciously.

Today the mail brings the coupon. A coupon for a free box of Albertson's rice mix!

Uhhhh, helloo??

With it comes a letter that closes with: “If you have any further questions or comments, please call me at (800) XXX-XXXX during our working hours …” and signed by a certain Mimi in Consumer Relations. Mimi in Consumer Relations will be receiving a lighthearted call about a certain snafu next week.

Enclosed too is a colorful brochure of rice recipes including for Rice Pudding Brulee with Gingered Berries, Shrimp & Rice Patties with Creamy Cilantro Sauce or Sushi di Italia. If any of those tempt, let me know.

Also if you desire a coupon for free rice mix.

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