- Posted January 8, 2014 by
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Chris Riedel 1 - PepsiCo 0
I woke up one Saturday Morning about a year ago and like usual, I decided to have a Warm Bowl of Instant Maple Brown Sugar Quaker Oats (with Milk...I mean who in their right mind uses water?!!). As I poured the milk into the oatmeal I stirred the bowl, anticipating its oatmealy goodness. I took my first bite. WTH!!! This isn't the Oatmeal...MY Oatmeal...that I grew up with as a kid. It was horrible!!
I took the box down out of the cupboard to check it out. I was sure that I must have bought the "Light" Sugar Free version by mistake. It wasn't. You can only imagine my shock and dismay when the box read "New and Improved Heart Healthy, Better Tasting Recipe". I screamed in horror! How dare they change the Oatmeal that I ate these so many years.
I immediately went to Big Lots and bought every box they had left on the shelf of the old recipe. I hoarded it like it was gold and month after month it became more valuable until I was down to my last box...then my last 3 packets. I saved them for a month savoring my last breakfast with my childhood friend. I ceremoniously opened the packets, pouring them slowly into the bowl...watching the milk pour over my oatmeal. I stared into the bowl. I looked a little closer. What is that??? OMG...THERE ARE BUGS IN MY OATMEAL!!! I waited just a little too long, I guess. Should I eat it, anyways?? I could pretend I didn't see it and just eat it real fast...who would know?? Me. I would know. I couldn't do it.
That is when the depression set in. Well at first I was depressed…but then I was just angry. I wasn't going to take this!!! For the first time in my life I was going to do something about a horrible injustice. I wrote them a letter. I told them of my youth and my memories associated with their product. And I even used an analogy about a little company called Coca-Cola and how they thought they would make their signature product “New and Improved” and we all know how that worked out for them. (At the time I didn't know that Quaker Oats was owned by Pepsico) I told them at the end of my rant that I would NEVER EVER buy their product again.
A few weeks later a letter came from them handwritten and addressed to me. In it they said how sorry they were that I felt that way but they had taste testers and studies done and that people wanted a more healthy choice. And the best part? They gave me a $5.00 coupon so I could buy more of their crappy new Oatmeal. Really????
I had been bested. Six months went by and just about the time I was through mourning this tragic loss, something happened. I came into work and a co-worker that sort of shared my passion for Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal told me. “HEY!! Guess what?…they changed the Oatmeal back…there are two kinds now…the good stuff is called ‘Classic Recipe’!” I did a little dance right there on the spot and ran to the store that night to get more. I had been redeemed!!
It was short lived, however. Several Months later the Classic Recipe disappeared from the shelves. At first I thought they just stopped calling it ‘Classic Recipe’ but it was still the old oatmeal that I craved, like a crack addict. I bought a box…it wasn't. It was that vile creature that they, once again, tried to pass off as my favorite breakfast since I was a small boy. Are you kidding me?? I couldn't go through this again…so this time I just blew it off and acted like it was no big deal. Oatmeal?? Pffft…who needs Instant Maple Brown Sugar Quaker Oats (with Milk...I mean who in their right mind uses water?!!). There was Malt-O-Meal…in Chocolate..and MAPLE. Every time I was in the cereal aisle and bought my replacement drug…I made it a point to parade past the Quaker Section waving my box of Maple goodness in front of it as if to say “See…I don’t need YOU!! HA!”
Well…that was until a week ago. A week ago I get a random text from my daughter. She says “Hey Dad…when you made instant oatmeal, you always poured the boiling milk into the oatmeal instead of cooking it in the milk…just curious…why did you do that?” Well…forgetting the fact that this is a total oatmeal rookie question…I mean it is called INSTANT OATMEAL…not cooked in milk for 3 minutes Oatmeal…but before I could even answer, Quaker was calling my name. It was like I never stopped eating it and I wanted a bowl…right now. I forgot all about Malt-O-Meal Maple.
I sat down at the computer and fired off another letter to Quaker, this time asking them if they finally pulled their head out and realized they ruined the best Oatmeal ever invented…oh and by the way…Don’t SEND ME ANYMORE $5.00 coupons for your crappy new and IMPROVED garbage!! I couldn't wait for their snarky reply. You know…the form letter you get when you complain to a big company. You can tell it is a form letter because it doesn't even answer your concern. I knew they were going to send me another coupon which I was going to laugh at maniacally when I opened the envelope. But that didn't happen.
Instead…it came in the form of an email…but not the email expected. This is what came back.
Thanks for reaching out to us about our Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal. We did stop offering the classic recipe last winter; however, our loyal consumers are passionate about their oatmeal and we've heard their feedback that they liked the “Classic" recipe the best, so we will be returning to it.
The classic recipe should be back on all store shelves nationwide within the next several weeks. Both formulas might be on shelves at the same time for a little while, but you'll start seeing boxes in stores marked "Classic" on the front.
Consumer satisfaction is our ultimate goal and drives everything we do, whether introducing a new product or finding ways to optimize existing ones. We hope you'll enjoy having our Classic recipe again.
Thanks for checking with us. We appreciate the opportunity to help.
Quaker Consumer Relations
A Division of PepsiCo”
It was like I won the lottery. I ran through my office like an idiot shouting “The Old Oatmeal is Back!!! The Old Oatmeal is back!!” For some reason everyone just looked at me like I had lost my mind. I called my daughter in Colorado. I told my wife at lunch. I forgot I told her at lunch so I told her again when I got home from work. She told me I already told her that and that I was old and my memory was terrible…but I was so excited I wasn't about to get drug into a fight!! It was then I knew that I had won. I had stood up to the evil corporate giant like a modern day David and Goliath. Like Erin Brockovitch but without the movie and about something not so important…Oatmeal.
When you see me on the street…you do not need to thank me. Just think of me every time you eat your Warm Bowl of Instant Maple Brown Sugar Quaker Oats (with Milk...I mean who in their right mind uses water!!)
I am happy to report that I just went to the grocery store and in a special section on the end cap I found the Holy Grail of Oatmeal, the box glowing in all of its glory and have attached a picture of it…right before I ripped it open and devoured half of it on the spot.