Monday, November 14, 2011

The Miracle Continues

Max has reached Red Alert and is running in circles scream-barking. I fling doggy treats in his direction hoping he will shut up. My ears bleeding I stagger to the door and see my friendly UPS man has left a box on my porch.

I carry in the box and Max sensing Something of Interest immediately quiets down. He prances ahead of me into the kitchen. This is the doggy equivalent of the person who says, "Oh, can I help you with that?  Here--right this way. Yes, let me help you," and then does nothing to help.

Holy Hot Dogs! An enormous box of COOKIES from Arran-Paterson the Scottish Cookie Company! Max must have known it was treats from his homeland! I scream-bark and run in circles around the kitchen; do a couple donkey kicks off the counter and dig into the box.

This is a dream come true.

Over cake, over ice cream, over pie, over custard, over hill, over dale, I would take a cookie any day.

I find a hand-written note:
Dear Debra, 
Please enjoy!
From all at Patersons

Oh, my God! WHAT shall I get my new Scottish friends for Christmas?

To refresh your memory: this is the company to whom I sent a complaint message. See post "It's All About the Chocolate" dated, November 2nd, 2011

Here is what they sent (All spelling is just like it is on the package and by "biscuits" they mean "cookies."):

Giant Cookies: Custard Cream; Triple Choc; Bourbon Cream; Fruity Oat. Biscuits: Apple and Cinnamon; Milk Chocolate and Orange; Chocolate Chip and Stem Ginger.  Dunking Bars: Fruit Shrewsbury, Double Choc Chip, Oat and Raisin, Choc Chip and Orange, All Butter. Then there are Orang-U-Tangys, Clotted Cream Shortbread Fingers, and Cheese and Mild Chilli Oat Bites.

As noted in my November 2nd post, many of the packages boast, "No pork, alcohol or palm oil." This conjured up an image of a pig slathered with palm oil, sunning on a beach and drinking a Mai-Tai. Well, there's none of that in these products!

I'm sure Kosher Jews appreciate no pork. No alcohol suits many people. No palm oil?

Well, it turns out that by not using palm oil, they are saving the orangutangs. Vast areas of rainforests in South East Asia are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations and it's threatening their survival.

So I guess the more Orang-U-Tangys I eat, the better for the rainforest! And the orangutangs! Not so much for my thighs.

Wow. I can't get over a big company responding to a consumer--a foreign consumer--this way. A pre-Christmas miracle.

I'll think about sharing .  .  .

Leave On Your Inner Light

Old protective husk

encounters perfect conflict,

reveals inner light.

Lunaria. My friend Annie and I see these plants on our morning walk. The first time I spotted one I said, "Money plant! This is how you make money!" and then I showed her how to rub the dried pods so that the husk comes off to reveal these opalescent leaves. 

She turned 50 last week so for her birthday I wrote the above haiku and gave her a framed photo I took of a money plant--except that now I like to think of it as the "Inner Light" plant. 

Sometimes it takes just the perfect amount of conflict, tension or friction for us to lose our old skins, our old way of being. We all shy away from this. "I don't like conflict!" And yet when we meet it and allow it to show us a new way, our inner light is revealed. 

Most of us are conflict averse but how can there be any life without conflict? What happens when the shovel hits the soil? That's conflict! Without that conflict the soil will remain hard, unforgiving and nothing in it will grow. Except maybe weeds.

The next time Truth sticks in my throat because I'm too afraid of conflict to say it, I hope I remember the Lunaria. If all I get is a headache maybe the conflict will help reveal the other person's inner light!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's All About the Chocolate

You know how you have a complaint about something you buy but never really do anything about it? Or maybe you actually write to the company but never get a response, let alone a personal response? (I'm talking to you, Starbucks.)

Well, miracles do occur! There I was last month on a flight from Amsterdam to Seattle after taking an eight hour flight from Entebbe to Amsterdam. So I was a little tired. A little cranky. A little bored. A bit dissatisfied with my KLM meal, particularly the cookie onto which I had pinned all my hopes of gustatory delight and rejuvenation.

While on the plane, I wrote the cookie company a letter. I've always believed that when you complain you need to at least offer some suggestion, some kind of possible solution to the problem. I then emailed the letter when I arrived home.

I woke up this morning to their reply. I love these people.
I especially love Allan Miller their Sales and Marketing Director of Paterson Arran who not only agrees with me but promises to accept my solution and make a change immediately!

See our correspondence below. Enjoy!

Note: You will need to know that on the wrapper it reads, "Contains no palm oil, pork or alcohol."

Dear Paterson-Arran,

Just ate your Bronte doubly choc chip biscuits which you describe as “bursting with choc chips.” Let’s discuss your definition of “bursting.”

Mine: Dolly Parton in a 34B bikini top, Barack Obama on knowing Osama Bin Laden was dead, but having to keep quiet for a while; King Henry VIII (RIP) in thong underwear.

Yours as evidenced by your “doubly choc chip biscuit:” rocks scattered on a concrete driveway; fingernail clippings on the bathroom floor; hair pins on the floor of a car after a heavy make-out session.

In other words I’m afraid you use “bursting” when you really mean “scattered.” After a meal of chicken w/risotto, half cup salad, dinner roll, butter, Jacob’s cracker, cheese, every one of which seemed to live up to it’s hype—meaning none—we have your final biscuit as dessert and it was such a let down.

Perhaps it was the eight hour flight from Entebbe to Amsterdam. Perhaps it is the false hope I carry for abundance on the flight from Amsterdam to Seattle that makes your biscuit such a crushing disappointment to me.

It is crispy. It is crunchy. “Bursting” it is not.

My suggestion: add more chocolate chips! A biscuit such as yours should be nothing but a vehicle for chocolate chips. And I’m sure you can do this without bringing in any palm oil, pork or alcohol.

If this suggestion is not agreeable to you, perhaps you would consider a name change that is a bit more straight forward and to the point: Super Crunchy Crispy Chocolately Biscuit! Just the facts, ma’am.
Thank you for your time and attention.

Best regards,

Debra Jarvis
KLM/Delta flight #233

Dear Debra,

You are right. Thank you so much for taking the time to write so thoughtfully and wittily. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm so sorry our biscuits disappointed you so, reading your email would have been more of a joy.
After a little reflection I see your point exactly and we'll address this immediately. For this particular product line I can't heap more choc chips in I'm afraid, but the text on the pack will change as you suggest - maybe not in time for your next flight on Delta #233 but it will change.
We do offer a wide range of other products and, by way of thank you, I'd be happy to send you some if you wish - just let me have a postal address. Maybe you could let me know if I've got some other stuff wrong!
Thanks once more.
Kind Regards,
Allan Miller
Sales and Marketing Director
So who knows what will really happen? For now I take joy in the personal response. Hope you experienced some vicarious joy too.

Oddly I now feel the urge for a little nibble . . . on something crunchy . . .