Have you ever rung those toll-free phone numbers that food companies put somewhere on the packaging of their products so you can ask questions / give feedback / make complaints? Well, for the first time in my life, I actually rung one of those today: I rang Nestle/Maggi to find-out what happened to their Devilled Sausages Mix.
Devilled sausages have been a mainstay of the family dinner table for as long as I can remember: a meal enjoyed by all with its sweet sauce and soft apple slices, and a meal which I've taken to cooking for myself when I'm out of ideas yet still want to feel good about putting a little effort into preparing my own dinner. Using the sachets provided by Maggi (and yes, that specific brand after some time spent trying-out the others and not liking them so much), my family, and now I, have been able to churn-out a delicious meal within a short time and with almost minimal effort.
I thought I'd make devilled sausages for myself some weeks ago when I noticed some flavoured sausages at the back of my freezer that hadn't been touched for a looong time (let's just say the word 'months' is adequate to describe it; thank God for the refrigeration/freezing process!). Looking to the pantry, I couldn't find any devilled sausage mix, so added it to my shopping list and resolved to buy a few packets of the stuff the next day.
There wasn't any at the grocery either, and all I succeeded in doing was spending countless minutes standing like a statue before the section of the isle dedicated to all of those just-add-hot-water meals and sauces while I looked for something that just wasn't there. A trip to a larger grocery in the suburbs when I spent the next weekend with my family also proved fruitless, and when I relayed my story to my mum, we both started to worry that Maggi had discontinued the product.
Another pass at the local grocery gave me the same results, so I finally decided to ring-up the company and find-out what happened to one of my favourite meals:
"Unfortunately, the site we use to check stock availability is down at the moment, but I can ring-around, find-out if any stores in your area still have some." said the lady on the phone.
"OK, thanks." I replied.
"But don't worry, it hasn't been discontinued because it's one of our most popular products." she assured me.
I left my details with her and hoped for some good news.
Good news came in the form of a phone call the moment I returned to my desk after lunch.
"Hello." I said, answering the phone.
"Hi, is this Emanuel?" said the lady - the same Nestle/Maggi customer services lady who helped me earlier - on the line.
"Yup, that's me."
"Hi. I still can't check stock as the system is still down, but I checked our staff shop and we have some there which I can send to you to help you out in the meantime."
!!! I was excited! I gave her my address, thanked her at least twice, and put down the phone thinking ohmigod they're gonna send me free stuff!!!
I feel almost silly being so happy to receive a few packets of what is essentially powdered ingredients, but it's free stuff, and it's free stuff that I WANT. After all those weeks of trying to find this particular combination of powdered ingredients, and given my recent disappointments, it feels good to end on a high note for once.
I believe the sound I should be making at this very moment is *squee* :)