Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Captain In a Crunch: Cereal Killers & Your Small Nonprofit

Via Mr.Breakfast.com

Creamy or crunchy? I'll always take crunchy (unless it's a See's truffle, then I'll take pineapple). So I like Grape-Nuts cereal. But I guess not a lot of other people in my area do, so my local market has stopped carrying it and its store-branded knock-off version. As Mike Meyers used to say, "I was verklempt." So, being the digital flaneuse I am, I went online to the Post website and asked if the cereal was being discontinued. And this is what I got in reply:


Dear Robyn McIntyre,

Thank you for contacting us regarding Post Grape Nuts Cereal. We are sorry to learn of your difficulty in locating our product in your area and appreciate this being brought to our attention. This product is still in distribution, unfortunately we currently do not have a method for determining where this product can be purchased in your area.


Let me assure you that our sales force does their best to convince retailers to stock as many of our products as possible. However, it is up to the independent retailer to make the decision as to which products they will carry. You may wish to ask your local store’s Manager if they will stock the product you are looking for, or perhaps special order the product for you. Providing them the UPC code on the bottom of your cereal carton may help in your endeavor.
Your request for this product is important to us and although we cannot make promises, I can assure you that information about your request will be forwarded to our Sales team.

Again, thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your loyalty and patronage.

Kxxx Xxxxxx
Consumer Response Representative

~~TLXEA_19136020~~N

Say What, Now?

Yes, it seems like the Mad Men era is alive and well in the Consumer Response department of Post Cereals. I guess I should feel lucky they use email.

The stilted and formal business-speak: let me assure you, your request for this product is important to us (and the incredibly friendly) Providing them the UPC code on the bottom of your cereal carton may help in your endeavor just don't make me feel, well... LOVED.

In terms of communicating information, the first paragraph might seem reasonable until we get to the part where they write that they currently do not have a method for determining where this product can be purchased in your area. Really? I'll bet your sales department has one. If someone wanted to buy my product, I'd be glad to let them know where they could get it. And I'd give them a coupon for a discount on buying it there.

...our sales force does their best to convince retailers to stock as many of our products as possible. I'll bet they do. Right here is where I would expect to see something about my question being forwarded to someone specific in the Sales Team to find out what the deal was. Instead, they ask me to hit up the store manager and ask them to special order it for me. This, of course, was something I'd already thought of, but I think it should have been one of the last things they asked me to do, especially if they thought - as I do after Googling Post Grape-Nuts - that the store manager might say it's because of low demand. Low demand. If the cereal is this unpopular, maybe I shouldn't be looking for it.

We appreciate your loyalty and patronage. If this closing was any more stiff, it would be eligible for real estate at Forest Lawn. Then we get a name, title, and a great coded entry that who knows what the heck it means.

Where's The Beef?

All of the above aside, where is the invitation to follow Post on Twitter or connect with them on Facebook? Pringles is kicking ass on Reddit and Reese's and Oreos have got great social media people on FB.

With all that they have going for them in this chance to deal positively with some inbound marketing, this - THIS - is what Post's Consumer Response comes up with? No wonder Grape-Nuts is hard to find. I'm surprised Post itself isn't.

Maybe they're just not as crunchy as I thought.

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2 comments :

Leslea Tash said...

You had me at See's Pineapple Truffle. ;)

Robyn McIntyre said...

I know, @Leslea - those pineapple truffles are soooo good. Give me some of those and some California Brittle and I'll be a very happy camper.