We recently wrote about Whole Foods’ response to allegations that the company sold items at New York stores with labels indicating inaccurate weights. Their apparent strategy was to apologize. Yawn! Let’s see what Costco did in a similar situation… We have received a copy of a letter sent in a Canadian Costco envelope from a company called Chelton House Products, Inc. The letter, dated July 15, 2015, says:
“Costco Wholesale records indicate you may have purchased Simply Natural Organic Pasta Sauce produced by Chelton House… It recently came to our attention that the net quantity of the product as shown on the label does not accurately reflect the declared quantity of the product on the jar…”
The letter goes on to explain that the overcharge was $0.80. As a gesture of “appreciation” the letter included a voucher for a free hot dog and soda pop at Costco. It also offers the alternative of returning the product for a refund. As we are always about helping companies out, here are 3 questions that arise from this story… 1. Whose idea was it to offer a free hot dog and pop to people who bought natural organic pasta sauce? Is there anything more the-opposite-of-organic-pasta-sauce than sugar-filled water and a hot dog even for sale at Costco? This would almost be like Netflix telling us: “Because you watched Gone Girl and Argo, you’ll love Gigli!” But it wouldn’t totally be like that, because those movies all contain the main ingredient Ben Affleck, whereas we’re certain there’s minimal overlap of ingredients in hot dogs and organic pasta sauce. Especially the company’s vegetarian sauce. 2. Did this letter really merit the all caps, bold use of “IMPORTANT NOTICE” at the top of the page? Imagine receiving such a letter and reading it’s about the food you recently consumed. “Oh no! Is there a recall?,” you may think to yourself, “Was there something in my food? Oh dear God, I hope there weren’t hot dogs or soda pop in my spaghetti sauce, as my Vegan dinner party guests will think I’m lazy and a bad host when I have to explain this!” We suggest in the future, if a company is in such a situation, a better title may be “Honest And Wonderfully Entertaining Notice.” 3. How are people supposed to return pasta sauce they may have consumed between April 17 and June 11, 2015, months after the fact? We suspect the authors of the letter have not thought that one out, but we suggest not showing up at Costco with a blood sample.