I am really tired of how difficult it is to get information from certain companies.

  1. Eg. Duncan Hines. I would like to know if there is any store in my area that sells DH Orange Supreme cake mix. It used to be that if you called DH they would suggest a few stores or chains that might have it. Now they, like many other companies, tell consumers who call "Ask the manager at your local grocery store to order it." Where the hell are they coming from? Don't they ever go shopping themselves?

    First of all, try to find a manager in a large grocery store. You have to go to the customer service desk and wait in line.

    When it's your turn the clerk asks you why you want to see the manager. If you tell them why, they will say "I can take that request for you." They write down what you want on a slip of paper. You then ask "When will the item show up on the shelf?" They will give you some arbitrary number (eg. a week).

    Soooo... next week you check. It's not there. There's another line at customer service. The following week it's not there. Basically, it never shows up.

    Well, what happens if you do manage to get a manager? They look at the master list of "All Products That Are at Our Distribution Center." It's not on the list. They can't/won't order it. End of story.

    Repeat this for every idiotic company that wants you to do the marketing for them.

  2. Now a lot of consumer-product companies have 800 numbers printed prominently on the item, welcoming customers to call and get information. Others have Web sites with e-mail addresses. That's great. But some companies make it difficult-to-impossible to get ahold of them.

    For example, in the drugstore travel-size product bin I picked up some Alberto-Culver shampoo that I like. You would think that the real reason companies would produce little containers like that would be to let customers try the product and entice them to buy the full-sized item. But I can't find this damn shampoo anywhere. Nor can I easily contact Alberto-Culver by phone or on the WWW. Noooo, apparently I have to write to the vague address on the side of the bottle probably only to be told, if I get a response at all, that the company no longer makes this shampoo.

    Thank you for letting me vent. I feel better already.

    Comments or questions? Write to me at suemaster@interport.net. ( NOTE: remove "master" from the address)

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