Would You Offer a Five Year Old Coke? Hungry Jack’s Does.

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A rant follows. Be prepared.

Soooooo … a few weeks ago we headed off to a sixth birthday party at Hungry Jack’s. The children spent an hour or so racing around the play equipment and sneaking loads of the sweet treats the party host had laid on, before lining up to order their lunch.

There they were – these little people – almost all of whom were five and six years old. After choosing their food they were offered a choice of … Coke, Diet Coke, two more fizzy drinks (I think it was Fanta and some kind of lemonade) and finally water.

You read that right – the first thing the children were offered was Coke. Coca Cola. Chock full of caffeine and sugar. And colouring. Diet Coke. Still caffeine and colouring. (And, depending on your position, artificial sweeteners).

I absolutely understand that some of my opinions about food can be a little … um … shall we say? … militant. So I thought I’d canvass opinions from parents at another six year old’s birthday party a week later.

But guess what? When it comes to giving a five or six year old Coke, it would appear I’m not that mother. OK – my sample size was small and most definitely not random but no one thought it was appropriate. NO ONE.

I called Hungry Jack’s out about this on Facebook. The response was swift and asked me to send in my feedback through the website. I was impressed at the rapid response and did so.

And then I got the response.

It opened with platitudes thanking me for providing feedback and giving the company the opportunity to improve.

And then …

The drinks you were offered for your child at the birthday party you attended at <redacted>, 
are the standard offerings for our birthday parties. 

Water is of course offered as a healthier choice for the children, as we understand 
that not all parents like their children to consume soft drink. 

For your future information, you can also request juice as an alternative, but this 
comes with an additional charge. 

I will pass your comments onto our Marketing Team, and I thank you for your feedback.

Of course, I’ve heard nothing from the marketing team.

I get that a child’s birthday party is a fun time, full of sweets and treats – including chocolate with its share of caffeine. I have no problem allowing my son to eat all sorts of stuff that would never make an appearance on the dinner table at home. I’d actually be (kind of) OK if Hungry Jack’s beverage options were Fanta, lemonade and water.

But Coke? That’s where I get ticked off.

Not only is caffeine is chemically addictive, Coke is laden with sugar. Given that 1 in 4 children in Australia is clinically overweight* just maybe Hungry Jack’s has a corporate responsibility to not serve small children addictive, sugar laden fizzy pop.

Or maybe not. Maybe I am that mother, after all.

*2011-2012  Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey

 

News & Other Places You Can Read Me

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At the moment I’m busy working on a variety of ‘things’. In mid-August last year the small company I worked for ran out of cash (the second time this has happened to me!). I finished up regular paid work just a few weeks before we were due to go on holiday so I didn’t invest too much effort in pursuing more work.

Before going on holiday I pitched a few story ideas around the place – I enjoy writing and it is obviously something that fits in with the somewhat erratic life of the primary aide of a pre-schooler. A lot of attitudes may have moved on but when it comes to small children and kindy and school hours the system very much favours having one parent who can do a lot of running around unfettered by things like a 9-5 job and, say, an hour commute each way.

I was very fortunate to pick up a few freelance writing gigs at the end of last year … some of which are now just hitting the press.

The current James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine contains a wine/travel feature I wrote about Kangaroo Island. Some friends and I celebrated a joint significant birthday there in early December and while I’m yet to blog about my adventures (and given the backlog don’t expect that to happen in a hurry!) you can just buy the magazine and enjoy my words and the stunning pictures (not mine).

I’ve also been lucky enough to be doing some work with the team at SA Life which has been great. It has covered quite a range of topics so you should by picking up the current issue of SA Gardens, watching out for some features in issues of SA Life AND absolutely you should be signing up for the new SA Life food and wine enews, which comes out monthly.

What is particularly pleasing is that all of these ventures have involved celebrating our fab state. No one needs the UK’s Times to tell us that Adelaide and South Australia are amongst the best places on the planet!

In between these things, I’m actually still cutting code (which I enjoy, so that’s a good thing), teaching wine courses and generally succeeding in keeping myself out of mischief.

I was also stoked that in March Eating Adelaide was named Winerist’s Best Food Blog for 2015. Winerist is a UK based wine travel website that helps wine lovers tailor their trips to wine regions. I met one of its founders, Diana, last year and I have been lucky enough to do a little work with them (test how much you know about Australian wine). If you’re planning a wine focussed holiday it’s definitely a site worth checking out.

For the foreseeable, I am planning on blog posts once a week. This won’t address the scary backlog but it will be achievable and keep me sane while working with so many great people and organisations.

However, the Eating Adelaide Facebook page will continue to have very frequent food related posts and if you follow me on instagram you’ll enjoy a sneak peek of all the eating I’m doing!

Have a happy and safe Easter!

How To: Customer Service

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Note: this post is NOT sponsored in anyway, and in my communication with the company I used an email address that did not give away that I am a food blogger.

I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that customer service is important. Wait, let me correct myself. Large retailers who have stores devoid of staff think it’s insignificant and prefer to place all blame for falling sales on “THE INTERNET”.

You may be aware that “THE INTERNET” is going to be the death of retail in Australia. As Australians realise they don’t have to pay inflated prices they purchase their goodies from abroad. Of course, the idea that Australian retailers might offer fully stocked online stores, perhaps even with web only specials, or cheap/free delivery, is anathema to the retail dinosaurs. And so the Australian consumer finds it easier and (often significantly) cheaper to shop abroad.

But just because you’re shopping on line DOESN’T mean you are shopping overseas. Plenty of Australian retailers have embraced the internet, and some have no high street presence at all. Some even manage to offer competitive pricing.

Some things, you need to see in a shop – I understand that and my own attempts to shop for clothes on line are usually disastrous. But in the world of kitchen goods, you often don’t. A picture of a palette knife, or a baking dish, or a cake tin, along with dimensions, tells you everything you need to know.

In late 2011 I decided I finally needed to buy a rotary grater. My Microplane does a great job on hard cheeses but can’t handle soft cheese (like cheddar). A few weeks out from Christmas I wasn’t going to start trawling department stores, so I turned to the internet and quickly found a Zyliss grater that would do the job, at a discounted price, with a moderate delivery fee. The store was Everten.

The grater arrived and did its job for almost 2 years. The other day, finishing off some quesadillas, the handle on the coarse barrel snapped off (see the picture above), rendering it useless.

A bit of swearing was followed by a bit of googling, mainly to see if other people had had a similar problem. And then I came across some other Zyliss products that had a 5 year guarantee.

As I couldn’t find my model of grater listed anywhere I couldn’t check what its guarantee was, but as I’d bought on line I still had the receipt (hidden away in a cleverly named “Receipts” folder – yes, I really am that OCD). I thought about it for a couple of days and figured I had nothing to lose by getting in touch with Everten and asking if the grater was covered by a similar guarantee.

I fully expected that the answer would be no, and, if I’m brutally honest, I half expected that my query would end up lost in the ether.

However, in less than a week (photographs of the damaged product duly shared), a new grater, of my choice (for the record, a Cuisipro), arrived on our doorstep.

If I’d bought the original grater in a shop it’s unlikely I’d have had the receipt. Even if I had, I can imagine the kind of response I would have received: at best it would have been to tell me to deal with the manufacturer.

Everten provided a great example of how customer service should be done. The lady I dealt with, Lorraine, answered my emails quickly and she was always detailed in her responses.

You can shop on line and support small Australian business. And when things go wrong, it can be a fantastic experience. Well done to Everten!