Life is hard when you know what you like. Once I find something I like, I am rabidly brand-loyal. At one time I was this way about my Chips Deluxe® cookies.
I loved Chips Deluxe® cookies. For a while, I had a difficult time getting a consistent bag. Later, the recipe was changed and I lost my favorite cookie forever.
These are the pictures that illustrate my disappointment with the inconsistency of Chips Deluxe® cookies. You may click on any image to view a larger version.
The cookies at the left are basically burned. The ones in the middle were passably edible but somewhat crunchy, and those on the right were very delicious.
Although the burned cookies at the left are the worst I have seen, this is fairly illustrative of the variation I experienced in Chips Deluxe® cookies for about a year.
These three bags of cookies were purchased within two weeks of each other at the same store. Two of them were purchased the same day. All run numbers are visible in the pictures of the bottom row.
Chips Deluxe® were my favorite "store-bought" cookies, but I didn't enjoy the ones that were overcooked.
These pictures were posted on August 5, 2002. On the same day, I submitted the following message at the Keebler® web site:
I don't have the UPC with me. If you must have it, please reply. It should not be difficult based on my pictures to identfy the product. I love Chips Deluxe cookies, but I am disappointed by the frequency with which I end up purchasing a bag of cookies which are overcooked. Finally I received a bag of cookies that is just plain burned and I had to speak up. Please see pictures and run codes, etc. at:
I have enjoyed your products for so many years that I can't help but think you must have some good folks somewhere in the company that care what a consumer like me might think of the product.
I have been getting cookies that are at least somewhat overcooked about 25-50% of the time.
It would be a pleasure to receive a reply from you.
The page that came up after submitting the form said they try to respond within 72 hrs. Sure enough, I received this message on August 6, 2002:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org TO: email@example.com Subject: Response from Kellogg Company Steve, Thank you for contacting us about Keebler Chocolate Lovers Chips Deluxe Cookies. We're sorry that your experience with this product was unsatisfactory. We will be happy to replace it for you if you call our Consumer Affairs Department. Please have the package with you when you call. We will need the stamped-on date codes and the UPC symbol numbers from the package. Providing the dates and UPC stamped on the package will help us report your concern to our Quality Department for their investigation. You can reach Consumer Affairs at our toll-fee number 1-800-962-1413. This line is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm ET. Thank you. We hope to hear from you soon. Consumer Affairs Keebler Company 5077395A
So I called the 800 number on August 6. I spoke with a lady named Elda, who asked for the UPC numbers. "I figured you could tell what the product was from the pictures." "I can't look at the pictures." I had to read the run numbers to her off the pictures. She said the information would be forwarded to their quality people and that she would be sending a couple of coupons for free cookies. I requested to hear back from the quality people and she said she would put that request in her notes to them.
At this point, I began to wonder if there was any hope to reach anyone who cares about the problem. I never heard from any "quality people."
In about a week, I got a nice form letter and two coupons for free product:
On November 16, 2002, it happened again. We bought another bag of cookies that seemed to be overcooked. They were dark and firm and not as yummy as they should have been. The picture in the top center was taken with extra lighting and looks a little different from the rest:
I didn't get around to reporting this bag until May 5, 2003, but I still wasn't willing to let it slip by. I called and reported the UPC and run codes as seen above, and was told another coupon was on the way.
At this point, it had been quite a while since we purchased a bag of cookies that was this far overcooked. Could it be that some quality control changes had been made?
Not long after this, things got much worse. Keebler selected a different chocoloate chip for use in the cookies. They are smaller and darker, and they changed the whole taste of the cookie. Other changes may have been made in the recipe, but the chips were the most noticeable part of the changes. I no longer liked the cookies.
I called corporate, and as soon as they figured out I was a consumer, they dumped me back to consumer affairs. Consumer affairs told me it was a brick wall and there was no way I would find out why they changed the chips. I gave up. Since that time, I have been searching for a new favorite cookie, but nothing can come close to the old Chips Deluxe. I suppose there is somebody at Keebler or that made the decision to change the recipie/chips based on some taste test that didn't agree with my palate. Perhaps that's too optimistic.