How to get free shit by complaining.

Gotta say thanks to Edy Piro over at for running a neat little story about Iron Horse Clothing on his blog.  It’s always reassuring to get a positive response to our products and website.

I am one of those guys who has favourites- if you know my favourites (and my backups) then I am very easy to please.  In order to settle on a favourite one needs to try most of what is available in any given product area, right?  So that means according to me, if I have a favourite, I deem it to be the best in that product space available.  I do this with everything I eat a lot of.

The muesli bar shelf is literally jammed with all manner of options, and without elaborating too much, most of them are just full of crap.  Loaded with oils, nasty fats, too much sugar, made in Malaysia, 400 ingredients, 300kcal, covered in a gross yoghurt substance.  Believe me when I say that the only muesli bars worth putting in your shopping basket are Carman’s.  A cracking list of just a few ingredients, only 150-200kcal, made here in Aus, very tasty, yum, yum, yum.  I buy them in bulk.  Oh, and the packaging and story is superb.

I almost took a hungry bite out of this!

I unwrapped this apricot bad boy, pretty stoked I had remembered to bring some nosh for the road, but had to give it to Chops instead.  There’s a good boy!  Lucky I had the good cam on me, too.  When I got back to the office, this is what I wrote to Carman’s:

‘Hi Justine,

I am one of your biggest supporters- you’ll have to take my word on that.  A couple of boxes a week of these and a carton of your oats.

Confidence knocked somewhat when I open a muesli bar and someone has beaten me to it.

What do you think?

They are well in date, too.



It was very, very easy for me to find Carman’s contact details, they are so confident that their staff are in for the long haul that they have put the customer carer’s (did I just make that up?) name on the packaging- wow.  Here’s what I go back, roughly 24hrs later:

‘Hello Brodie,

Firstly let me apologise for taking so long to respond to our email, however it was a public holiday here in Victoria yesterday.

Thank you for your email informing us of this unpleasant incident with the Muesli bar you purchased.  This will be passed onto our Quality Control Manager and Head of Manufacturing immediately.

I can completely understand how upset you would have been to discover something like that, and am grateful to have the opportunity to try and explain just how this occurred and extend my most sincere apologies.

Weevils are a natural bug that affects our industry across the board, particularly in the warmer months.  Their eggs are in most grain-based products.  Eventually the eggs will hatch and this process is expedited in the warmer months.  We have no control over when they will eventually hatch which normally is well past our use by date.  The cobweb like structures you noticed are a sign of the presence of weevils. We maintain special pheromone stations in our factory so we can monitor if any raw ingredient has had any developments whilst in our hands but unfortunately we are at the mercy of nature as to any growth after the product leaves here.  We have been told that there are chemicals that can be added to stop weevil growth but we do not believe the majority of our customers would support us doing this, so I am glad that I am given the opportunity to explain the situation as I am now.

We are very particular about the condition of our factory and have the highest level of health department approval, ‘HACCP’, but unfortunately every year we have a couple of customers like you who will experience a problem and I would like to apologise again and enclose some replacement products with my compliments.  I can appreciate that you might be hesitant to eat our muesli again but as this replacement product is fresh I can guarantee it will not have any weevil development.

Thank you so much for contacting us. As a small company we rely on customer feedback and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to explain just how the weevil got in there. I’m so sorry that it happened; I truly can only imagine just how awful it would have been for you.

To help me complete my report, could you supply me with a few extra details please?

1.       Where the bars were purchased from
2.       The best before date
3.       Your postal address.

Brodie, I would like the opportunity to send you out some replacements products – please email me your postal address so I can get some out to you.

Once again please accept my sincere apologies and I thank you for taking the time to let us know of your experience.

Kind regards,


That’s a pretty mind bending response if you ask me.  Shit, I have trouble getting many companies just to respond to an enquiry about buying one of their products.  I was truely blown away by this, and it’s evident that they take their products seriously.  Check out what arrived in the mail 5 days later:

"Our heart and soul in a box" written on the outside of this sweet little package-impressive.

Thanks Justine.  You listened to me.  My two favourite flavours, plus a handwritten note(!), plus a little bit of info on what you guys are all about, plus a bit of health info.  This is easily the best customer experience I have ever had.  And the thing is, there was no way I would be switching brands anyway.  Thanks for keeping me sweet, guys, I’ll keep on telling everyone that your stuff is the best, like the loyal customer I have been for over 2 years.

Got any worthwhile customer experiences you’d like to share with us?



About Buddah Brown

Let's have fun!
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One Response to How to get free shit by complaining.

  1. Pingback: A nothing label or nothing customers? Clothing brands that succeed for reasons unknown. | ironhorseclothing

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