Remember when the Internet was "new" and Martha Stewart wrote columns about web etiquette--like how to properly address emails? No? Just me, then? Okey-doke.
Today I'm going to play Martha and offer my own email tutorial because I think it's important to praise companies when they do a good thing and to gently reprimand them when they, say, suddenly add unnecessary allergens to a product. Does it make any difference? I honestly don't know. Probably not. But at least I know I've spoken up. Besides, it takes just a few minutes to send an email to a company: no envelope, no stamp, no hunting for the address, no getting it to the mailbox before the mail carrier arrives, etc.
Letter The First:*
I am writing to let you know how much our family enjoys [product]. My [person] has a severe [allergen] allergy, and s/he is able to eat your [product] because it is [allergen] free. Please continue to produce your wonderful [products] !
Write to your local supermarket to thank them for carrying certain products.
Write to a company whose product you enjoy and would like your store to carry and give them your store's contact information.
Write to a restaurant and thank them for the allergen-free items on their menu.
Write to a potential vacation spot you love and ask them about their allergy policies.
Write to a show that is allergy sensitive. (I wrote to Sesame Street to thank them for the "soy milk for sale" sign in Hooper's Store. Katherine was really excited about it.)
Yes, some of these messages could be delivered in person, but the company can use your wonderful letter (known in the airline industry as an "orchid letter") as an example of how awesome they are, making it more likely that they will continue to carry your item. You will almost always receive a thank you for your note.
Now it's time to let your passive-aggressive tendencies shine.
Letter The Second:
Our family has enjoyed your [product] for many years. Sadly, we are no longer able to use [product] because you have changed the recipe and added [allergen]. My [person] is severely allergic to [ingredient] and cannot eat it. We will miss using [product] and hope that you will reconsider changing the recipe back to its original form.
Thank you for your time,
You will almost always receive a response that cites the months of consumer research the company did to come up with their "new and improved" recipe. You will often also receive a coupon for the altered product, encouraging you to "try it again." This might make you want to beat yourself over the head with your laptop, but at least you tried.
Now get writing!