Dear Mr. Potts,
Thank you for your comments regarding our bakery. At Caribou we strive to offer
products and service of excellence and appreciate our guests' feedback. In regard to
our current listings on the website, because of the proprietary nature of several of
Caribou's offerings, we do not post ingredient lists in full detail. If you ever
have any question as to particular ingredients an item might contain, due to
allergies for example, we will be happy to tell you if the item contains that
ingredient. Also, I have passed your suggestions regarding the trans-fat content in
our offerings to the Food Team for further consideration in light of their future
offerings. Again, thank you for your message and suggestions on how we can improve
our bakery case for your enjoyment.
Customer Relations Specialist
Caribou Coffee Company
OK, at first glance this looks fairly typical, but at least they wrote back. But look a little closer at what they are actually saying:
"because of the proprietary nature of several of Caribou's offerings, we do not post ingredient lists in full detail."
Think about that for a moment. Every product you buy at the supermarket is required by law to disclose what it is made of, even if sometimes the ingredients are a bit obfuscated (like "natural flavorings.") But Caribou is telling me that the recipes for its baked goods are _proprietary_ -- a trade secret!
I guess they don't want Starbucks copying their recipes. But it seems like any remotely competent pastry chef could come up with an iced scone with cranberries and organge zest. Just start with the _Joy of Cooking_ and modify a little bit. In fact, I could do it, and I don't even bake. And my recipe wouldn't contain trans fats. It would taste _better_.
But I'm free to _ask_ about any ingredients I'm concerned about:
"If you ever have any question as to particular ingredients an item might contain, due to allergies for example, we will be happy to tell you if the item contains that
Hmmm. This seems like the setup for a comedy piece.
Me: "How about ground oak tree bark? It gives me a terrible rash."
Customer Service Representative: "Ummm... nope, no ground oak tree bark."
Me: "Is there by chance any Cadmium-117? It gives me wind."
Customer Service Representative: "Hang on... well, a trace amount, less than 1 part per billion... you'll hardly taste it."
Me: "What about powdered dung beetle pincers? They make my eardrums swell."
Customer Service Representative: "Hmmm... no, not powdered _dung_ beetle pincers..."
Me: "Stag beetles?"
Customer Service Representative: "Warmer..."
Sigh. _Proprietary recipes?_ I think I'll skip breakfast.