Monday, October 27, 2008

Before I Was A Food Blogger...

...I ate a lot of TV dinners and on a lark, I wrote a stupid letter to Con Agra Foods.

Obviously I was inspired by such humor books like Idiot Letters
and Letters from a Nut.This was the first and only one I sent out. I stumbled upon it recently and thought I'd share it with you, my readers.

Although after re-reading it, I'm glad I got into blogging.

A preface: The circumstances were all true, though the point of the letter was just to get a funny response back, not so much to complain.

I did get a reply from Con Agra a few weeks later, but it was a boring, boiler-plated letter that I have since misplaced. Included with it, however, was a coupon for a free Banquet frozen dinner!

ConAgra Foods
Consumer Affairs, Dept. B
P.O. Box 3768
Omaha, NE 68103-0768

April 3, 2002

Dear Sir or Madam:

I have been a Banquet Frozen Dinner consumer for quite a long time. Needless to say, I buy your product because of the value. That is to say, I expect that I will get what I pay for. However, when I recently purchased your Fish Stick meal, I discovered that there were only FOUR fish sticks in the package and not the FIVE that is shown on the box photo, which, coincidentally, has a prominent label proclaiming that the meal now contains “24% More Fish”. But because there were only four fish sticks when five was promised by the photo, this means that there is actually 20% LESS FISH in the meal! So your company should either:

- Put one more fish stick in the box to match the number of sticks in the box photo;


- Change the photograph on the box to show one less fish stick to match the number of fish sticks that are actually in the box;


- Change the label to say that there is 20% LESS FISH than the photo shows.

Also, how did you come up with such an odd statistic as “24% More Fish”? Why not a rounder number like 20% or 25%? It doesn’t seem that such a specific percentage could be something that an average consumer would be able to quantify or detect on an individual fish stick, especially since the sticks seem to shrink in size the longer it is cooked in the microwave.

E. Goei

P.S. This is an extra post for this week; amends for the fact that I was late in posting my regular review. Hope you enjoyed it.

*Special thanks to Monster Munching reader Julie. She e-mailed me today, just to check that I was okay when she didn't see a new post this week.


At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, I found this very amusing, actually... I'm surprised no one has commented yet. 24% more fish?! I guess if they don't do anything about it, we can...
1. Stay away from their fish sticks.
2. Cook our own fish. (Probably 68.87942% more fish than their sticks.)

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

I actually thought it was a good letter. I get sick of deception in or with advertising.

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm rolling after reading this letter, it's starts off fairly serious then veers into snarkiness towards the end. Loved it. I actually sent a complaint letter to Cathay Pacific Airlines a few months ago for losing our luggage (they eventually turned up). Long story, but they didn't even send me a response letter telling me they weren't going to do anything about it.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Bill said...


20% screwed not too bad ;-)

I myself write companies too.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"*Special thanks to Monster Munching reader Julie. She e-mailed me today, just to check that I was okay when she didn't see a new post this week."

I find it interesting that you (apparently) went to Asia earlier this year, but Monster Munching didn't skip a beat.

Just like the "Peanuts" comic strip, i.e. having a few pre-scripted posts in the can before you go away on vacation, so as not to disrupt the continuity.

[Factoid: David Letterman tapes his Friday night shows on Mondays (after taping the "Monday" show).]

So yeah, when you don't post on Sundays, we all start calling each other, worried about you. :-)

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Wandering Chopsticks said...

Ha! I recently did the same thing to Taco Bell. I ordered a grilled stuft burrito for $2.19 and a gordita for $1.59 from the drive-thru menu. Pulled up and was charged $2.29 and $1.69. I mentioned that wasn't the price on the menu. They said prices had gone up but hadn't changed the menu yet. They should only charge me for the listed price. So I emailed them to complain that that was deceptive. I got a coupon for any one item of my choice. So I went back and got the most expensive item on the menu - the taco salad. Even free, it was blech!

At 9:02 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


My friends thought it was amusing too. I sent it to them and they sent it to their friends. Before it went viral (I doubt it), I figured I'd post it here too.


Why thank you! Now, on re-reading it, I wish it was more tongue-in-cheek. I must have written it when I was hungry and in need of that extra fish stick I was expecting!


Yeah, my co-workers were busting after I showed to them. One of them actually remembered it from 6 years ago. It was he who said to me, "Hey didn't you once write a letter about fish sticks?". Then I went and dug it up. But I can see myself writing a very angry letter to airlines. I bet their customer support department doesn't see much in the way of humorous letters like the one I tried to write.


I'm just practicing for when I'm retired and have nothing else to do.


Man! I wish I had a prize for you! So astute! :-) Although I had no idea I was following the Charles Schultz and Letterman playbook, I did, in fact, write two posts ahead of time and set them to auto-publish during my trip to Asia. These aren't hard to pick out: the Souplantation Cookies and the "The Greatest Pork Dish in The World". Two post, which, I might add, drew the most ire out of at least one commenter! Mission accomplished, I'd say! HAHA! ;-)


I'd have strong words for Taco Bell as well! Although it would primarily be focused on who is responsible for the Crunch Wrap Supreme and why that person still has a job! Actually, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the letter, because The Onion skewered them on this, and in a way that I never could.


At 11:40 PM, Blogger imjustatree said...

This was a great post, and I love the way you wrote the letter. Hilarious. Maybe the fish sticks were thicker?

If you have the time, please check out my blog, and let me know what you think. I've been reading yours for some time now, and enjoy the work that you do! Keep it up!

At 10:25 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I like your blog! And yay on Taco Nazo. I'm sad that the one in Chino Hills is gone, but I'm glad there's still a few left. I added you on my blog list!

At 2:06 AM, Blogger joanh said...

that is hilarious. so specific. I wonder what the person reading it thought, or if they get a ton of letters like that. do you find you get special service when you bust out your camera or get recognized, or not really since there are so many food bloggers in LA/OC?

At 6:11 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


It seems everyone's taking food pics nowadays. Most of them are probably Yelpers...but it's all makes me less conspicuous.


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