(Third of three parts)
My call to the Yoplait Trix toll-free number was answered by Matt, a customer service representative. Trust me, this call was not outsourced. Matt was the epitome of Generation Y, seemingly more interested in texting his friends than speaking with me.
I began my interrogation by asking Matt what made the Strawberry Punch, Raspberry Rainbow and Wildberry Blue varieties different, being that their ingredients, including the colorants, were identical. (What follows is actual dialogue.)
“I would think the only thing different is the colorings,” Matt said.
“But the colorings are the same,” I replied.
Perplexed, Matt put me on hold. There’s a good chance this may have been just a stalling technique so he could vote for an “American Idol” winner. His answer didn’t quell my suspicions.
“They are all the same; the only thing different is the flavoring,” he said.
“Well, what’s the flavoring?” I asked.
Silence from Matt.
“What does natural and artificial flavor mean?” I prodded.
Matt stammered, and then said he’d have to consult a product specialist. “I don’t have that information. He would know.”
I passed on being put on hold again and moved on to my next line of questioning.
“Wouldn’t it be better if you put two actual fruits in every cup instead of two fruity colors?”
“So you want actual fruit. That’s a new suggestion; I will pass it on.” Matt spoke while he typed: ”Putting . . . actual . . . fruit . . . into . . . yogurt.”
“You know,” he continued, “we have other yogurts that have fruit in them.”
“So who is this product for?”
“A lot of kids like it,” Matt said. “Yogurt is also good for babies, who can’t have the fruit bits, but this has the fruit flavor.”
“But the sugar, high fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch are good for the babies?” I asked.
“Well, it’s extra flavoring and they are FDA approved.”
Ah, the veritable and venerable FDA seal of approval. I am sure that customer service representatives throughout the world are trained to answer in this fashion when there are no sensible answers to a question. After allowing myself a laugh, I asked Matt if he had every eaten the yogurts.
“Yup, it’s pretty good. We have to do a whole tasting before we start working here.”
“What’s your favorite flavor?”
“I like the Cotton Candy.”
“What? Cotton Candy? I didn’t see that flavor!”
“Yea, it’s really good.”
I found out I also missed Strawberry Kiwi (packaged with the Cotton Candy), plus Very Berry Watermelon and Berry Bolt.
I had one more question and I was curious to see how Matt would handle it. Nonchalant and with aplomb, he did not disappoint.
“Don’t you think this product is better suited for a Toys “R” Us than a supermarket?” I asked.
“I can see where you are coming from, but I’m not sure. I will make a note.”