When it’s *Okay* to Complain

All my life, my father has been probably the biggest complainer (for lack of a better term… sorry, dad!) I’ve known. Sending back meals at restaurants, calling the front desk at hotels about a noise he may or may not have heard, asking for someone’s supervisor or manager if anything wasn’t to his liking or expectation… these are just a few of many examples I’ve witnessed in the past 26 years! (I imagine m mother has more!)

I was always mortified by this, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to do these things myself. Once I did call the front desk of a hotel because my neighbors were making loud banging noises (no, not sex-related!) at 3am on a weekday while watching a movie way, way too loudly. I call my landlord if something that is his responsibility isn’t being done. Even so, it takes a lot for me to get to the point of complaining; I’m just not the kind of person to sweat the small stuff! I eat steak if it’s medium and not medium-rare, or an egg that’s soft-boiled and not hard-boiled. I’ll deal with a table with one leg that’s too short. (I swear I always end up with that table or chair when I eat out!)

Last week I decided to buy a few Larabars while they were on sale at my local supermarket. I’ve had one or two before and enjoyed them, so I figured I’d give their other flavors/mixtures a try. Given that I was going to be traveling again for work the whole week, I’d need some snacks to bring with me anyway… win-win!

Go figure the first one I decided to eat would be awful!

I opened up my Banana Bread bar and immediately saw a white film on most of the sides. It wasn’t fuzz, but just a thin layer of white. I wasn’t sure if this was bad or not, so I took a bite…

…and couldn’t swallow it.

It smelled like alcohol (a sure sign that the banana in it has begun to ferment or rot, as this has happened to bananas in my own kitchen) and tasted sour and bitter. I stood up, walked to the nearest trash can, and spit it out. Upon further inspection, the expiration date wasn’t until June of this year… what gives??!!

Well, I went to the Larabar website and used their “contact us” form to tell them what happened. I put in the UPC code, expiration date, etc. that it asked from me, and that very day I got an email back!

Thank you for contacting Lärabar about Lärabar banana bread bars. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate the time you have taken to share your experience with us. I will be glad to send you replacement certificates which should arrive within 2-3 weeks.

If there is anything else we can do concerning this matter, please let us know.


Kristin Wynn
Consumer Services


Well, it’s been exactly one week since I received that e-mail and look what arrived!

Another letter and four coupons: one free Larabar coupon, and three 50 cent off coupons! They don’t expire until next March, too.

I didn’t do it for the coupons, but I know that they need this information. Maybe they’ll let the store I bought them from know that the Banana Bread bars are bad so nobody accidentally gets ill from them. Maybe they’ll fix a formula or a machine that resulted in the bars going badly so quickly. I’m an engineer, and I know user data is very important to maintain quality control!

I’ll happily use these coupons in due time. And, in case you were wondering, the other bars I purchased were just fine and delicious!!


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