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Introduction. [04 Nov 2007|09:41pm]
It seems a bit strange having a whole journal for one short series of entries, but it was the best way to collect all these entries together for some people at metaquotes without having to post them publically on my own (friends locked) journal.

So. What follows is a collection of entries posted over the course of a few months concerning my dad's battle for justice against the makers of his favourite sweets, Liquorice Allsorts. I've reposted them in order so you can read from top to bottom, ignoring the dates. I feel I should mention at this point that we're very big fans of Allsorts (and Cadbury Bassett) in this house, so pls don't sue. Thanks.

Anyway. Thanks for reading, and enjoy.

ETA: A couple of people have asked if they can link other people to this, or post the link on Facebook or whatever. Feel free to link it anywhere, but please don't repost it/sections of it without a link.
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My father, the scientist. [04 Nov 2007|09:22pm]
My dad is throwing a wobbly about sweets!

Yes, sweets. And not even very good sweets at that. He's currently downstairs frantically searching the internet for evidence that Bassets have changed the recipe for Liquorice Allsorts. I bought him some today and he's convinced they taste SICKLIER THAN NORMAL and NOT SO MUCH OF COCONUT and IT SHOULD BE BIG BITS and WHERE IS THE LITTLE BERTIE and THEY JUST FALL APART IN MY MOUTH and THE BOBBLES HAVE GOT SMALLER and BASICALLY EVERYTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PACKET OF LIQUORICE ALLSORTS WHY OH GOD WHY DO YOU MOCK ME SO?!!!! I can find no evidence to support his theory, and neither can he, so I have a horrible feeling that tomorrow he is going to resort to the avenue of mentalists and actually phone the product helpline. Oh Jesus. Can you imagine the kind of people that do that? Who look on the side of their tube of shampoo and see a number that says "If you have any comments or queries about this product, please phone 0800 818181" and then actually call it? "Yes, I'm sure Head and Shoulders didn't used to smell this fruity! I am not satisfied! WHAT HAS HAPPENED? ALSO I CAN SEE FISH EVERYWHERE I LOOK! FISH! EVERYWHERE!"

See? Mentalists.

And my father, my intelligent, practical, logical father is about to join their ranks.

In the words of Charlie Brown... good grief.
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It's like an Enid Blyton novel. Only with less ginger beer. [04 Nov 2007|09:21pm]
My father has decided - whether through research or sheer conjecture based on the fact that the ingredients are in several languages - that his box of Liquorice Allsorts are the European kind, and that's why they taste funny. I suppose that is true of something like Coca Cola Lite, which tastes different to Diet Coke, but I have my suspicions that my dad's raging xenophobia has perhaps played its part in him reaching this conclusion. Anyway, he hasn't called the helpline yet as he spent most of the day trying to decide whether or not he should phone Woolworths head office. Yes, he's taking this to the TOP, people. Because what if these are CHEAP, KNOCK OFF ALLSORTS? What if it is ILLEGAL TO SELL THEM IN THIS COUNTRY? What if it's like how TURKISH TAKEAWAYS always have FAKE DIET COKE and it's ILLEGAL? What if, by HAVING THEM IN THIS VERY HOUSE, he is, in fact, BREAKING THE LAW? Answer me that, good people, because he is very concerned. And then of course comes another worry; of COURSE Woolworths head office aren't going to admit to any wrong doing on their behalf! Maybe he needs to take this higher! To some kind of confectionery regulatory board! It is all very concerning for a man with no job and waaaaaay too much time on his hands. What is an Allsorts fan to do, people? What is he to do?!

Find out in tomorrow's installment of The Mystery of the Fake Liquorice Allsorts. I can't promise, but I suspect there will be even more ridiculous paranoia. And possibly some kind of sugar induced breakdown*.

* He is, of course, still eating said Allsorts, regardless of the fact that they're too sweet and make him feel sick. Apparently this is for scientific reasons, though - I mean, what if he just had funny tastebuds yesterday? Although he definitely didn't, they are DEFINITELY different, but perhaps it's best just to check. Just in case. You know, for science.
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The saga continues! [04 Nov 2007|09:20pm]

I get home from work and my boyfriend drags me into the garage to give me a blow-by-blow account of the phonecall, which he eavesdropped (under my instructions). Apparently, dad opened the call with "Hello, my daughter has just bought me a box of Liquorice Allsorts and they're just not right!"


We're in absolute hysterics and my boyfriend has just got to "and then he said 'they're all sickly! And SQUISHY!'" when my dad comes in, cradling a new packet of Allsorts like they're his firstborn. "Did you solve the mystery, then?" I ask, pretending I haven't just been killing myself laughing at him behind his back. "Well," he says, clearly perturbed, "not exactly! Apparently they hadn't changed the recipe! I said they must be KNOCK-OFFS or something and I said that you bought them very cheap and she said that it was up to Woolworths what they charged for them. But I said that £1.99 was very suspicious and she agreed! So I said I'd try another packet* and then your brother came home with this packet for me! And it's the same packaging, but these ones are absolutely fine!!!!" (At this point, he is wide-eyed with astonishment). "Look!"

I look down to the countertop, and he has laid out two of each sweet, one from each packet, side-by-side. "Now this one," he says, pointing to a bobbly one, "is from the right packet. Squish it!" I squish. It is sort of squishy. "And this one," he continues, "is from the packet you bought me, and it is MUCH SQUISHIER!" I squish it. It is a little bit more squishy. "And this one is HARD and SHAPED LIKE BERTIE BASSETT which is AS IT SHOULD BE. But the one from your packet IS JUST A TWISTY SHAPE!!!"

Fearing this pattern is going to continue throughout all eight pairs of sweets, I hastily agree that they are clearly ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SWEETS and MY GOD WHAT HAS COME OF THE WORLD, THANK GOD YOU CALLED THE HELPLINE, ELSE WHERE WOULD WE ALL BE RIGHT NOW?** "Exactly!" he cries. "I'm going to send them a letter with my findings."

Oh yes, you read right. He's going to send them a letter. With his findings.

With. His. Findings.


I swear on all that is good and holy, I will copy this letter and bring it to you, LJ, so you too can enjoy the insanity that is my father. The scientist. And his FINDINGS.

* My boyfriend says what he actually said was "Well, I shall try another packet, and if they're the same I shall be very disappointed!"
** I didn't word it quite so sarcastically, of course. I don't want to send the guy over the edge. After all, he was at the time cutting the vegetables for dinner with a VERY LARGE and VERY SHARP knife. I'm no fool. If there's one thing I have learnt from this whole debacle it is that ALLSORTS = SRS BZNS.
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He didn't quite get that "srs bzns" translates to "serious business". [04 Nov 2007|09:19pm]
WORRYING NEWS: my dad is threatening to withhold the letter from me because he's figured out I'm taking the piss behind his back!!!!

Don't worry, Allsorts Saga fans. I shall be intrepid and find it somehow. I'll put on my best sneaking shoes.

Apparently he's still composing it. It's clearly going to take some time. Perhaps he's awaiting some lab results.

This person's default usericon appears to be a reference to the Allsorts Saga which is kind of awesome. I just showed my dad and said "Look dad, Allsorts are serious business!" and he said "WELL YES THEY ARE!"*

Yes dad. They are. They truly, truly are.

* He is now reporting that he's worried he's "causing a rumpus". A rumpus. A RUMPUS.
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His observations, let him show you them. [04 Nov 2007|09:16pm]
Okay so I had to STEAL THIS by guessing my dad's password and emailing it to myself whilst he was distracted by hunting for a small chain (??? Don't ask me, he's the engineer) that he'd lost ('I just don't know where it could be! I had it RIGHT HERE! It's not like it has legs!') so I hope you appreciate it. Me and stealth operations don't really gel. It had to be stealth as my dad refused to show me the letter - he is NOT having it SPREAD ALL OVER THE INTERNET, THANK YOU - not because he's embarrassed, mind (it is NO LAUGHING MATTER! It is SERIOUS!), but because it might PREJUDICE HIS CLAIM and HE WANTS HIS REPLACEMENTS SWEETS and BESIDES, Bassetts might SUE HIM FOR LIBEL!!!!

But despite all these obstacles, I succeeded, and so I present to you... THE LETTER.
Re: 600g Bassetts Allsorts (Luscious Liquorice)

Dear Sirs,

I am returning the enclosed product because I am not satisfied with its quality.

I have been a regular consumer of your excellent Liquorice Allsorts for many years and therefore knew immediately that there was a considerable difference in the taste and consistency of this packet. I did not recognise the new package labelling so I phoned your helpline and was assured that the product was genuine and there had been no change in the production processes. Subsequently, I purchased a 215g bag of Allsorts (also with the new packaging) and I am pleased to say that the content was perfect and unchanged from the original flavours.

I therefore conclude that this packet is faulty for some reason. My observations are as follows:

1. All the items are much too sweet and are much softer and squashier. This is particularly obvious in the all liquorice ones which taste entirely wrong (quite unpleasant in fact) – too sweet and sickly. They also have a twisted pattern rather than straight ridges.
2. The coconut items are lacking in flavour and are not of the usual consistency.
3. The items with the small balls on the surface are very soft, taste different and the balls are much finer. There are also no blue ones of these (only pink)
4. There are no liquorice ‘Bertie Bassetts’

I notice that the package labelling is in a number of languages – could this be a product variant for elsewhere in Europe?

I would be grateful if you could offer some explanation and send me a replacement product or refund.

Thank you for your attention.

Also, is it very childish that I laughed at 'the small balls on the surface are very soft, taste different and the balls are much finer'? And the fact that there were no blue balls... but there were pink ones?

I am going to the special hell.
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Developments. [04 Nov 2007|09:15pm]
There have been DEVELOPMENTS on the Allsorts front, but I am awaiting further information before I post. It is all very dramatic though, I can tell you that much.

I found a note on top of a (completely unrelated) letter today, written in my dad's handwriting, that simply said this:

Balls roller.

No, I haven't got the foggiest either.
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Today he also cycled to the shop wearing cycle clips around his trousers. He is so awesome. [04 Nov 2007|09:14pm]
So, in my dad's letter, he outlined four differences between GOOD ALLSORTS and THE BAD FAKE POSSIBLY EUROPEAN BUT DEFINITELY WRONG ALLSORTS. These were HIS FINDINGS:
1. All the items are much too sweet and are much softer and squashier. This is particularly obvious in the all liquorice ones which taste entirely wrong (quite unpleasant in fact) – too sweet and sickly. They also have a twisted pattern rather than straight ridges.
2. The coconut items are lacking in flavour and are not of the usual consistency.
3. The items with the small balls on the surface are very soft, taste different and the balls are much finer. There are also no blue ones of these (only pink)
4. There are no liquorice ‘Bertie Bassetts’
He also asked for a refund or replacement (and quite rightly - nobody wants SQUASHY, TWISTED, SMALL-BALLED ALLSORTS, amirite?).

Well, a few days ago, my brother and I came home from work to find a letter with a Cadbury's envelope sitting tantalisingly on the doormat. Dad was out for the evening, and so after much wrangling with our consciences (and by "wrangling" I mean "ignoring" and by "much" I mean "about ten seconds") we decided our curiosity was too great to be resisted it would be the best thing for all concerned if we opened it.

And this is what we found.
Dear Mr Jones,

We are sorry to learn that your pack of Allsorts did not contain the Bertie Bassett unit.

During the severe storms which have affected the UK recently, our Sheffield factory where this product is manufactured was flooded. This has unfortunately affected production of this product. We are currently in the process of relocating the manufacture of this brand and are confident that supplies of the product will be in stores shortly. However the factory where Allsorts are now being manufactured are not able to make this particular unit.

Please be assured that when manufacturing commences at our Sheffield plant, this unit will be included in the pack.

We would apologise for any disappointment this may have caused you and would assure you of our commitment to making this product widely available to our consumers.

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to contact us.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that this letter evoked a reaction of some hilarity from my father. My brother and I had escaped to the relative safety of our bedrooms in order to avoid the early stages of wrath when he came back to find this monstrous missive, but the roar of disgust from downstairs could be heard from miles away.


For a few days, dad moped. "I've just given up on the whole thing, Ems" he said, with a heavy sigh. "I don't think they took me seriously at all." It was at this stage that I started to feel somewhat indignant on my father's behalf (and also a tad guilty for turning him into an object of hilarity for a portion of the internet, but clearly not guilty enough to stop updating the saga) and so I urged him to write back. This pepped him up a bit. After all, he had gone to all the trouble of reporting HIS FINDINGS and they had BASICALLY IGNORED THEM ALL and ALSO NO REFUND and HE DESERVES HIS ALLSORTS and THAT WAS YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY, EMS, and IT IS NOT RIGHT!!!!!

And so he wrote another letter.
Dear Tina,

Thank you for your letter dated 11th September. I was very disappointed that your response did not address the substance of my complaint nor offer a refund or replacement of the product that I returned. This is not very good consumer relations!

You simply offered an explanation for the trivial item 4 of my original letter (enclosed for review). Far more serious from the viewpoint of your quality control procedures are items 1 to 3, which indicate a total change in product consistency and flavour, presumably also explained by the alternative manufacturing site (and processes/ingredients?) currently being used. I hope that this will be rectified when production returns to Sheffield.

Please would you indicate when production will resume in the Sheffield plant as I will not be purchasing more Allsorts until then, unless you can assure me that this quality problem will be rectified in some other way?

Mind you, If I were Bassetts I would truly be perturbed by this news as my dad basically keeps Allsorts in production, the amount he buys.

Oh yes, Tina from Bassetts, IT IS ON. You have learnt a hard lesson today, young jedi. Never underestimate engineers with Allsort fixations, for they will always return, only this time with MORE FINDINGS and MORAL INDIGNATION.

You don't mess with them, Tina. You just don't.
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A small Allsorts related vignette. [04 Nov 2007|09:12pm]
My brother: "I want to go to a chocolate factory."
Me: "Hey, let's go to Cadbury Bassets!"
Dad (mournfully): "I think I would be persona non grata."
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It's the end of an era. A sticky, squashy, covered-in-small-pink-balls era. [04 Nov 2007|09:09pm]
Well, it's been over a month since my dad sent his last letter (which enclosed said findings FOR REVIEW) and we had just about given up on Cadbury Bassett, and, being a daddy's girl, I had secretly resolved to stick to Galaxy confectionery* and not give Cadbury's any more of my business.

But wait! This Halloween (my dad's most loathed day of the year, nonetheless) brought some news! A letter from Liz Potter, the consumer relations manager at Cadbury Bassett!
Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for contacting us concerning our response to your recent complaint.

Please accept my apologies if our previous letter offended you in any way, that was certainly not our intention. Cadbury is a caring company and we are proud of our ability to provide exemplary service to our consumers.

I would extend our sincere apologies for the fact that our original letter did not fully address the points you raised in your letter of complaint. We very much appreciate you taking the time and trouble to contact us again and highlight our error to us.

As previously advised during the severe storms which affect the UK, our Sheffield factory where this product is manufactured was flooded. As a temporary measure we moved production of Allsorts to different manufacturing locations to enable us to still meet consumer demand for this product.

In a small number of cases those Allsorts were not quite as good as we would normally make at Sheffield, and we are very sorry about that. We can assure you now that we have moved production back to Sheffield so your Liquorice Allsorts are now as good as they've always been.

We would apologise for any disappointment this may have caused you and would assure you of our commitment to producing the highest quality products.

We do very much appreciate you taking the time and trouble to write and bring this matter to our attention and I would like to assure you that we do take this matter most seriously. Cadbury Trebor Bassett is committed to producing a high quality product as we realise the trust and confidence people have when buying and consuming our confectionery.

Please find attached a cheque for £6.00 which I hope you will accept with our compliments and best wishes.

We would apologise for the inconvenience caused in this matter and assure you of our best attention at all times.

Yours sincerely,

Liz Potter


My dad read me this letter with no small note of pride in his voice ("You see, I WAS right! And they appreciated my findings!"), and was delighted with his refund cheque (which he plans to spend entirely on Allsorts, naturally). I, however, can see things other than contriteness in Cadbury Bassett's response (yes people, I am about to present MY FINDINGS - I am not my father's daughter for nothing!):

1. They clearly think my dad is completely barking mad. It's obvious from the fact that they apologise no less than FIVE SEPARATE TIMES, in the most obsequious of terms, and the fact that they're worried they might have OFFENDED him (they did). I suspect they're welll-aware that only crazy people get offended by confectionery related matters. Ergo, my dad is crazy. You can understand their thought patterns. And you can imagine the conversations in the office. "Liz, I think you better handle this one. He's barking. Clearly a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. We'd better get the sniffer dogs back in to check the post. You never know what these loonies are going to send you. Actually, come to think of it... can you smell almonds?"

2. We very much appreciate you taking the time and trouble to contact us again and highlight our error to us. Putting on my very best Chandler-from-Friends hat - could this BE any more sarcastic?

3. We can assure you now that we have moved production back to Sheffield so your Liquorice Allsorts are now as good as they've always been. Your Liquorice Allsorts. YOUR Liquorice Allsorts. They have also clearly recognised that my dad is a man who has taken ownership of Allsorts. They are not just "the Allsorts". They are HIS Allsorts. He IS the arbiter of taste when it comes to Allsorts. After all, he sent them his findings. You don't get much more dedicated than that.

Despite these three small points, though, it's a happy ending to the saga. My dad is absolutely chuffed with the result and keeps happily chirping about "people power" and "having a voice" and "fighting against the multi-nationals!" (he has suddenly grown a social conscience). And, as much fun as I've had with this saga, I'm glad to see his love for Allsorts restored. Just like Allsorts aren't Allsorts without the Little Bertie Bassett, my dad wouldn't be my dad without his box of Allsorts on the go, eating all the round coconut ones first and saving all the pink bobbly ones for me because they're my favourite.

I think I might buy him a box tomorrow.


* Although now that I mention it, has anyone else noticed that Minstrels have been tasting kind of funny lately? I think they might be CHEAP RUSSIAN KNOCK-OFFS. I might have the phone to product helpline with my findings...

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