Sometimes a package says "New look! Same great taste!" because people would start to hyperventilate if they saw a different typeface, and think "They've added polydextrose 4-D and reduced the amount of hydrolyzed guar gum, I just know it!"
When my preferred brand of peanuts had a New look! I figured it would taste the same. They were probably just emphasizing the Sea Salt aspect. That makes it sound special. Oh! It's salt — from the sea!
Yes, indeed, and where do you think salt usually comes from? It's like saying "seasoned with Earth Air!" A small percentage comes from meteors, but if it were commercially available, kids in the '60s would have begged Mom to buy Space Salt. "Please, Mom? Pllllease? It gives you Astronaut Thirst!"
As soon as I tried the peanuts I knew they had done something horrible to the flavor profile, as I'm sure they call it. Notes of burned oil filter, a hint of squirrel urine. The label had a new ingredient: smoke flavor. Apparently that's an additive for those who like to toss nuts in cigarette ash.
What do you do? Why, to the internet, Robin! First you see if anyone else has complained. What a surprise: Someone else has complained about this thing on the internet. So I went to the company's website and told them, in polite terms, that the new version was like eating roasted hamster feet.
When you send the email, you feel as if you're taking a stand, like Victor Laszlo in "Casablanca" leading the band in the French national anthem while the Nazis sneer. In reality they see you as some old guy with hair coming out of his ears whimpering about nuts. Things change, Gramps. Deal.
Mind you, I don't like to complain.
I love it.
See, I'm smart. I understand things. Everyone else is stupid. Complaining makes me special, and sending sharply worded letters to indifferent corporations sets me apart from the lowing herd who just sit there chewing on their smoke-flavored cud.
Actually, that's not true. No one likes a complainer, even if you're right, because it's work to deal with you. "Pardon me, but there's a hair in my fries. Thought the kitchen should know." The server wishes this wasn't so, but you're now the problem because you might try to get free pie out of this. The bill has to be adjusted. The cook has to be told and the cook's been in a mood all day. The manager has to approve a bill adjustment.
"There's a hair in my food" is a legit complaint, but really, couldn't you have just thought, "Whoa, free dental floss"?
But complaining works. We subscribe to one of those meal-kit delivery systems, and they have screwed up everything. One week the fish packet leaked cod juice, and the fridge smelled so bad we had cats piled 10 deep outside the house like zombies in "The Walking Dead." Next week, judging from the condition of the ingredients, the packer had a mouthful of mayo and someone told a really, really funny joke, and kablooie, it's aioli galore all over the capers. After that, they sent a rotten shallot.
When I complained about that I felt as if I should wear a monocle and top hat. "Dear Sirs, I am writing with regret to inform you of a dodgy shallot. From this you may infer that my life is utterly without worry or strife, and such small things take on oversized importance. Yrs, Col. Archie Higgs-Boson (ret)."
Each time the meal-kit company gave me generous credit, but I felt guilty because the company lost $500 million last year and I'm not helping. When I get an e-mail survey about my experience I'm all 10s: "Best response to a slimy shallot EVER. Would recommend to friends!"
There's complaining, and there's helpful information.
Those new peanuts?
When I checked the Amazon review page for the product, one new-flavor hater said the company had responded to his concerns by shipping him more peanuts, the taste of which had been tweaked to address complaints. I hope that's true. I hope I get some of the reformulated batch. Wish I could wash them down with New Coke.
That stuff was awesome, but some idiots complained.