Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Grey Poupon, Kraft, Tobacco, Beer, and Boycotts

This post started with the following message, which I attempted to post in the General Discussions forum on the Kraft Foods webpage: * * * * * Grey Poupon -- The Nozzle Is Huge -- You're Drowning Me! Well, I started with the simple desire to send Kraft a brief e-mail, asking them to make the hole smaller on their Grey Poupon mustard squeeze bottles. It really glops on the mustard, much more so than has been the case with other brands' squeeze bottles in my experience, and I don't appreciate what seems to be an effort to get me to use as much mustard as possible. I'm actually able to make that decision for myself, and often I will do so without having to dig a giant glob of excessive mustard out of my sandwich. It's a little late, and I'm tired. I really only had the simple ambition to convey that idea to Kraft. But now I've spent ten minutes clicking on various links, attempting to log in, discovering that I had apparently registered at their site sometime in the distant past, going to my e-mail account to retrieve the login information, etc. And then, after all that trouble, it was irksome to find that they still were not interested in what I might want to tell them. When I clicked on the "Contact Us" link, there was not really any means of contacting Kraft; there was just a knowledgebase with FAQs that did not address the topic about which I intended to write. The Kraft website on which I am attempting to post this message looks pretty snazzy, and I hope it provides lots of benefit to a variety of users. But there still needs to be a way to convey a grievance, whether justified or not, directly to Kraft Foods, without having to post it on a discussion board and bother lots of other people with something that may or may not matter to anyone other than me. That basic courtesy, anyway, is what I generally encounter at other companies' websites. Even if they say they cannot take the time to respond personally to each message, that's fine; a mere "Feedback" link would have been sufficient for this purpose. That was going to be all I was going to say in this message. But now that I have attempted to post it, I have received an automated reply stating, "Your post can not be published because it contains content that violates community standards." When I click on the link contained in that reply, I see a list of standards, none of which have been violated here. I am attempting to post on the "General Discussions" forum, so I don't believe the content is off-topic. So it seems I have been inveigled into wasting yet another ten minutes on this foolish website. I thought that a message board was a place where you post messages, and in good-faith reliance on that general concept, I did take the time to write up these views. But OK. That's not going to work. So instead I will have to look for other places where I can post this message. No problem! I'm sure I can find something ... A quick search tells me that there are some people out there who are boycotting Kraft because they, purveyors of wholesome foods, also happen to enjoy owning Philip Morris, marketer of cigarettes that kill thousands. That's probably why they've instituted a gag on communications from consumers -- they just don't want to hear it. It is a corporate mentality. They want to be left alone to sell cigarettes to kids, and we should respect that. Except that I will ultimately find someplace to post this message; and now that I am attuned to the Philip Morris thing, I will certainly try to buy other brands of cheese and generally avoid Kraft products for a while -- perhaps until the next time I try to contact them about something. Now that I am a little more motivated, I am looking to see what else Kraft and/or Philip Morris (now known as Altria, I think) own. A webpage dating from 2001 tells me that, as of that time, they owned Breyer's Yogurt, Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal, Miller beer, Cool Whip, and a number of other products that I have sometimes purchased. It seems that I will have to pay more attention, henceforth, to who owns what. I will probably still buy some Kraft products sometimes; but if there's a reasonable alternative, I do think it would be appropriate for me to lean toward a competing product. * * * * * After all this trouble, when I went back and did some more poking around Kraft's website, I found a page where they will let you e-mail them after all. It's not actually e-mail: it's one of those "send us a message" pages where they require you to provide all kinds of personal information before they will listen to you. It's not appropriate for this purpose, and in any case I really don't know why they didn't include that link on their Contact Us webpage. I'm done with Kraft Foods for tonight, but I do appreciate the heads-up regarding Philip Morris, and I intend to see if I can't be just as happy with less exposure to Kraft products.


Tod Gimbel

Kraft was spun off by Altria last year and is now 100% public. No relation to Altria, Philip Morris or Miller.


Thanks for that comment. I've verified you're right. No need to blame Kraft anymore for a Philip Morris connection. So I'm back to just being irked about Grey Poupon and the Kraft webpage. I'll try to remember to post any reply I receive from them on those points.


Much ado over mustard, my friend. Switch brands. And happy belated birthday. I never forget your day, I'm just too lazy to mail a card, and who can keep track of where you're living this year, anyhow?