A Very British Complaint Letter to Cadburys Chocolate

The below complaint letter got me a £2 compensation voucher. I mean sure it took a bit of time to put together and yes the postage stamp was close to the value of the voucher. Plus the fact the snack bars themselves cost £1. So technically I’m actually working at a loss right now. Hmm, note to self; you cannot make a career from witty complaint letters.

 

Cadbury UK Consumer Relations,
Bournville, Birmingham, B30 2LU

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

I’ll keep this simple and to the point (because as riveting as complaint letters are, we’d all rather be somewhere else right now). I recently bought a box of Chocolate Chip Brunch bars and they are a bit pants.

As I know ‘pants’ can be used to describe a variety of situations from cold tea to literal pants, let me diversify. I bought a six-pack box in Poundland in Swindon (bear with me, that’s not the pants bit), however upon biting into the first bar at work I noticed the snack didn’t quite taste right. I opened the bar fully to discover it had gone off. I checked the sell by on the wrapper but the Brunch Bar appeared to be well within date. This is what it looked like:

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You can imagine the disgust and horror when I realised my hard-earned pound had gone to waste. I need my chocolate hit so very badly, it is often the only thing standing between me and a terribly put together advertising campaign. Imagine if, instead of a Gorilla, Cadbury had decided to use a dancing Stingray reading a recital of Keats for the iconic advert? Besides making for a difficult display in Cadbury World it wouldn’t quite make the mark. That is how crucial a mid-morning snack is to both me and my company’s marketing strategy. It’s ruddy big stuff.

All things considered I think you’ll agree that these Brunch Bars are of a pretty pants standard. Please can you check standards of production and do whatever needs fixing, pronto.

 

Yours Faithfully,

Alice E. Bennett

A Quick-ish Review: Topsham, Exeter (Devon)

Speedy Summary

The website says:

Topsham is an attractive town on the Exe estuary, Devon, in England’s Westcountry. Now part of Exeter, it nevertheless maintains a distinctive identity. Loved by its locals, and savoured by those who visit, Topsham offers river walks; wildlife; a Saturday morning market; many characterful shops, restaurants and inns; and quiet space to sit and watch the sailing boats go by.

I say:

A former town now Exeter suburb, Topsham is a quaint little place to visit. Boasting independent retailers and several side streets, you are never more than a few steps away from undisturbed views of the quay. Be prepared to spend £15+ a head if you’re planning to stay for ‘proper’ food and arrive early to secure car parking in high season. Small, pretty and close to the buzz of Exeter city life, there’s a reason why it’s one of the more expensive places to buy/rent in the region.

Top Sights

If you’re a typical tourist looking to cover the main elements of the town in a short space of time plan your visit well in advance. Although the town has several car parks Topsham is notorious for its summer crowds as visitors flock to see a ‘quaint Devonshire community’. Even if you plan to visit outside of school summer holidays, then aim to visit on a weekday and early-ish in the morning to secure the best parking. It’s also best advised if you want the luxury of being able to stroll up the relatively car-free one way high street.

As a small town things to do are limited, but a must are the shops. Most of these are independently run and stocking a range of pretty items from interiors to clothing, wine to flowers. Just don’t expect to walk in and find a multitude of pocket buys. These traders operate in a well-established town with the clientele to boot. You won’t find sniff of a Poundland or Card Factory here.

If you’re like me however then you’ll find great joy rummaging through the multiple charity shops dotted up the high street. The wealthy resident effect, the keen eyed bargain hunter can pick up a number of star buys from high-value items donated by former owners. On this visitation alone I bought a beautiful 1960s retro tea pot to compliment my own property and a pair of mint condition retro curtains to be either reused or turned into cushions (I’ve yet to decide). Total spend: £7. My sister, a devil for vintage books, made a couple of sound purchases also alongside my cheeky purchase of a 1949 Ladybird book, all for £1 a pop. I’ve seen similar books retail for eye wateringly high prices. The money also goes to charity which is never a bad thing.

Also worth a look in is the Topsham Quay Antiques Centre, located right on the quayside at the far end of the town. Three floors of antiques, vintage and retro memorabilia gives much for the curious collector to look at and if nothing else is great for starting conversation. “What was this used for?”, “Did people find that fashionable back then?”, “Where could we put this?”, “Can you even legally display that nowadays?” etc.

Walk up the side streets to be filled with envy at the delightful houses of various periods before grabbing the chance to take in visually (and photographically) the quayside. This part of the river Exe is dotted with sailing boats yet has remained undeveloped on the opposite side, giving a pleasing vision out across the landscape whilst sitting down with a pint on a pub bench.

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A Note on Food

It’s not the cheapest place to eat. If you want coffee and a piece of cake then the choice is endless, however if you’re looking for a light lunch the cheapest you’ll be looking to spend is around £12 and upwards. This is based on looking at a range of menu boards placed outside various eateries in the town. As a result we unfortunately found ourselves looking elsewhere to satisfy our rumbling stomachs. That said, I am aware that for some people this might not be an issue and for others the price tag marks the sign of a carefully and well made meal, but when there are four mouths to feed it may be something to take into account.

Three Word Conclusion

Unique little shops.

The Devil in Carb-ate

This evening I was reintroduced to a world of vice and nutritional sin. My old foe reared its ugly, cream filled, head and called to me from across the supermarket floor. Standing at the reduced bread stand I heard it whispering to me and made the fatal mistake of making eye contact. It was at that point my destiny for the evening was sealed. My poor body never stood a chance. The name of this dastardly snack? Custard creams.

A whole pack of custard creams now lay decimated on my bedroom floor, the empty wrapper and a string of pale crumbs serving as the only reminder that here once stood a tall stack of heavenly sin. The scrunched up wrapper of a product once fulfilled and bulging, now hollow and useless.

I dare not study the custard cream wrapper at length, the nutritional values which once seemed hidden from view now laugh at me in mockery, inspiring those inner feelings of guilt and shame. “You’ll remember this one moment of weakness for years to come!” it cackles. In frustration I reach out and grab the snack wrapper with such aggression that the orange skin lets out a rustling squeak. I thrust my hand into the bin and release my prisoner there to join the rotting carrot and greasy pizza boxes, before walking out of the room and switching off the light.

Wrapper dealt with I thought the guilt and ill feeling of consuming 50,00,000 calories in one sitting was removed from my life. I pick up a book and start reading in a bid to distract my mind.  A little voice pipes up from deep inside me, it is coming from my stomach. It says “you thought you could dispel me so easily? You fool!” And the self loathing begins again.

The devil lives inside me and he is not red, nor is he a horned beast. He is a custard cream.

Nablopomo Day 16: A Messed up Food Diary

Typical Dietary Routine on a Weekday

(08:00 – Wake up)

(08:45 – Get into work)

09:15 – Water/breakfast tea/coffee

10:30 – 11:00 – Breakfast (porridge oats in water, aka gruel)

11:30 – Frusli (cereal bar)

11:45 – Herbal/breakfast tea

12:30 – (On a bad day) additional Frusli bar or pack of Cadbury Mini Animals (because I’m a big girl)

13:30 – Whole carrot

(14:00 – 15:00 – Lunch break)

15:05 – Eat lunch (cheese sandwich and apple squash)

16:15 – Yoghurt

(17:00 – Home time)

17:30 – Cheap coffee and crisps

18:30 – Chocolate snack bar

20:30 – Assorted dinner

22:00 – Chocolate/dessert and breakfast tea

23:00 – Half a Frusli bar (on a bad day)

(23:30 – Bed)

Typical Dietary Routine on Weekends When Visiting Family

(10:30 – Get up)

10:45 – Nice coffee

10:50 – Croissants

11:30 – Chocolate

12:30 – More nice coffee at home/out and about with cake

14:00 – Biggest roast in the world

14:45 – Breakfast tea

16:00 – Dessert/cake (forced consumption on account of the large lunch)

20:00 – Dinner

21:00 – Ice cream/dessert

22:00 – Breakfast tea

(00:00 – Bed)

How am I not morbidly obese? How? I tell you what, if I stop my exercise routine I’m stuffed, quite literally.

Don’t Touch Me Tomatoes

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “An Odd Trio.”

In my quest to post more stuff on this blog in the intervening time while my mind concocts amazing ideas for longer pieces (keep you eye out for a Christmas shopping themed post – Working title: “Christmas confessions of a Grimgrad shopper, well, not confessions because if they were confessions I wouldn’t be putting it on a public blog for all to read, nor would be I be casually whipping my phone out in shops to photo products while staff watch me uneasily from behind the till.” That, but a little bit shorter. Also a little bit more interesting. And grabbing. Basically everything this working title isn’t. Hmm…

Stay tuned!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, I’m doing this daily prompt thingy. I have three items I have to mention, but can you guess what they are? (What do you mean you clicked on the link above and know already? That’s cheating! Be honest, was it prompted by the paragraph above? Ok, noted.)

New readers – this is my style of writing. You get used to it, like a toy soldier riding a cat. It’s weird and not normal, but you can’t help but look at it anyway.

I’ll be honest, this is not a fabulously amazing evening. My knee is still not great (see http://wp.me/p5kuli-je for the background), in fact I actually believe that doing no exercise has somehow made it worse. Classic Alice. As such I’m spending the evening in the house as opposed to hitting the fitness classes. Nice cosy night in I thought. That was until I realised I have nada food in. All I have in my cupboard is Ainsley Harriot couscous and a tin of Sainsburys basics soup. Let the battle of the medicore foodstuffs begin!

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With my knee I’m not taking any more chances so I’m facing the choice of a bowl of soup or a pile of couscous. If this was live TV I’d get people to vote on what I should eat, but the BBC has yet to approach me with a broadcasting deal so I’ve had to make this decision for myself. After a long hard think (over 20 seconds), I’ve gone for the soup. Why? Because a) with my leg I’m still classing myself as ill and b) I’m still trying to get over watching Ainsley doing the salsa on Strictly Come Dancing:

Looking at the packet of couscous all I can think about is him telling me to not touch his tomatoes. Couscous also involves water which will indefinitely mean I spill at least half of it on the floor, resulting in me dragging out the floor towel to mop it up. Once upon a time it may have been a beach towel, it’s certainly big enough to have been one, but years of washing and mopping up our sorry excuse of a kitchen has just killed it. You know the Wizard of Oz? Our floor towel went through the reverse affect. Was pretty, now bleak and dead.

So soup it is!

“Waiter! One can of sad soup for one if you please! Oh and can I get some extra frozen, reduced-price, bread and a glass of orange squash to go with that?”

Don’t you just envy the lie of a Grimgrad?

(Ps, the three items were a cat, a bowl of soup and a beach towel. And you thought it was going to be Ainsley Harriot’s tomatoes.)

Pps, all of the above is true.