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Poems are made by fools like me
but only you can the WHOLE turkey.
(Result: Knutson received within 10 days a letter of apology and three $2.00 coupons.)
8) What have you done to my chewing gum?
May 29, 2009
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
As a loyal Extra® Peppermint sugarless gum chewer for the last 14 years, I am dismayed by two changes that have recently been made to the Extra® product line. The first, and less egregious, was the switch from off-white gum, to blue. Normally, a cosmetic change such as this would have little to no effect on my chewing gum purchasing preferences. However, it appears that the coloration has altered the flavor somewhat. I may be mistaken, but from my most recent package, it seems the taste does not last nearly as long as it once had. As early as last year I can recall recommending your Peppermint chewing gum to a good friend, lauding its long lasting flavor. Alas, I can no longer stand by that recommendation, as your recent changes to the makeup of the product have rendered it a shadow of its former self. The new blue concoction lasts only a fraction of the time, about an hour, if that, and dissolves quickly. I may be incorrect in saying that the chemistry of the gum has changed, it could very well be that my taste buds have simply aged, and that the gum has remained the same after all these years. I hope the latter is the case here.
The second, and much more objectionable alteration is the new packaging. The five stick multipack was the perfect size. They were readily available in bulk at the local supermarket, provided enough gum for myself and a few pieces given away during a normal day, and fit comfortably in a pocket with keys and chapstick. The new packaging scheme is, and I regret I must use such a harsh word, an abomination. At no time in my life have I ever needed 15 pieces of gum in one day, much less at one time. I have never been in a situation that has warranted me chewing nor distributing among friends, such an enormous quantity of chewing gum. The box is large, heavy, difficult to operate and an inconvenient shape. It is similar to carrying a second cell phone in a different pocket, which I assure you I have no intention of doing. Were I a female, a purse would provide ample space for this new larger sized container. Unfortunately, being a man, with pocket space at a premium, I simply do not have the capacity to be carrying around such an ungainly object, in addition to my regular compliment of keys, cell phone, wallet and chapstick. One may argue that a front shirt pocket is the perfect size and shape to carry gum of this dimension. Unfortunately, not all of my clothing has a front pocket, and on those days when I am without, I would prefer not to overload my already burgeoning pants with excessive accessories.
In conclusion, I would like to say this. I have encountered many people in my life who have been loyal and stalwart Extra® gum chewers. We have remained with Extra® through all the new trends, fancy packaging, upstart companies, and gimmicks. I would very much like to stay with Wrigley's and continue enjoying your once fine product, however, given the circumstances, it may be time for a change.
Very truly yours,
Benjamin D. Brooks
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.
Illustration by Robert Neubecker.