Writing to washing powder manufacturers

I sometimes wonder about myself. I’ve just been clearing out a folder on my PC, the one where I dump stuff to be entered into my journal (it’s password protected, so don’t even try to read it!). It appears that in December of last year I had a spell of writing emails to washing powder manufacturers offering them advice, and giving general feedback on their websites. Here’s what I wrote:

Surf washing powder

I discovered the following email that I sent to Surf, and their reply:

Your name
The Revd Gareth Saunders

Where you live
In a nice upper villa house in Edinburgh. The house is owned by the Scottish Episcopal Church, for whom I work. I wouldn’t have chosen this house, it has too many stairs but the last minister liked it, and it doesn’t get broken into as much as the old house did. That was terrible.

Let’s hear it
I simply wanted to tell you how much your website brightened up my day (and my computer screen). What a lovely shade of yellow — may I ask who chose that shade for your website? If you could let them know that I like it that would be lovely of you. I’ve had a sad day today, and was looking at the internet for some inspiration. I enjoy cleaning and so thought I’d take a look at your website — our Lord himself cleansed lepers, but I don’t think he used Surf! My little joke there, don’t worry. Anyway, that was all. Please let your chief colour selector know that he or she did a spendid job.


Fr. Gareth Saunders

And to my surprise, I received this lovely reply a couple of days later:

Dear Fr Saunders

Thank you for your e-mail.

I was really glad to learn how much you enjoyed looking at our website and that it brightened your day.

I have passed your comments onto the Surf Brand Team who will be delighted to get your feedback.

Thank you once again for your comments.

Kind regards

Charlotte Wooller
Consumer Care Advisor

I’m now quite upset to discover that they have changed their website colour from bright yellow to some kind of deep pink. Is this some of joke? Does my feedback mean absolutely nothing to them? And after that lovely reply … all lies! Lies, lies, lies! I think it about time I should write to them again!

Ariel washing powder

Then I wrote to Ariel about their fine product; I’ve been using Ariel washing powder since I moved away from home in 1989, to university. It is my washing powder of choice, so I guessed that I owed them some feedback by now.

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am a long-time user of Ariel washing powder.

I was wondering if you have ever considered putting free gifts or toys in your washing powder boxes in the same way that cereal manufacturers do in theirs?

You could have special tie-in promotions such as a free tennis ball, or a small effigy of Tom [sic] Henman, or how about a nice, clean pair of spare socks? It was just an idea, and I think a good one. It might attract other powder users away from their preferred cleaning products.

Also, did you know that your website does not work in Mozilla Firefox or Netscape?


Fr. Gareth Saunders

No reply. As yet. Can’t understand it, it was quite a neat idea, and some practical advice regarding their web-standards non-compliant website.

Downy fabric softener

To be fair, I’ve never even heard of Downy fabric softener, although I do like their name. They are owned by Procter & Gamble so I must have discovered a link on their website. But that didn’t stop me, here’s what I wrote to them:

I just noticed that your logo for Downy reminds me of the chocolate bars Bounty that you get in the UK. I wonder if you’ve ever noticed that too. I asked my wife and she agrees.

Have ever considered making a chocolate and coconut flavoured version of your product?

No answer. How rude!

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

5 thoughts on “Writing to washing powder manufacturers”

  1. To Surf Manufacturer Australia:

    I’ve never done this but… bare with me for a few minutes. I’m writing to state a mistake that’s occured in my new life with my new son who was born in March this year 05. Since the birth of my son, i’ve been using a 15kg of Cold power… i haven’t seen the new packs of Surf with the promotion of the ‘Coloured scoop’ advertisment. After giving birth of my son on the 23rd of March we ran out of the Cold power, after about 2 weeks we brought a Surf box. Now this is wierd.
    I wore my knickers inside out as my dad had said once when doing so ‘ To wear your knickers inside out is a sign of knowing that something is not right, for a woman who has done washing since 9 yrs of age – now being 22yrs old, it’sa sign that says ‘waring your knickers inside out on the same day that you dicover something wrong means that not all is right (where i agree with my father)and you lose in some way. My partner discovered a Red Scoop (worth $25 000) while doing some washing (*For the first time in our rented new unit)he said, “Look at the pretty Red Scoop!” *Let me remind you that he’s a little dopey at times, but not this time. I knowing that All scoops are blue i went and had a look I then said “That’s weird all those (Scoops) are usually blue”
    “But it’s pink!”
    “Nooooo” Said my partner.
    “Yes it is!” I looked closer and said “No it’s not it’s pink!”
    I looked again and sure enough it was Red. Then knowing that was unusal i asked, “I wonder if we won anything?”. We looked on the box and there didn’t have anything written on the it (Haven’t of seen any of the other boxes or promotions). So we just admired it and through it out when the box was finished.
    I only found out last last night (9th of August 03 8:54pm) while sitting on the toilet looking at the box which had annoyed me ever since they had started printing the ‘New’ boxes with the advertisment of winning cash prizes, since then purchasing a few which had the coloured scoops on it, so i sat there having the feeling that something was wrong being the second time it’s annoyed me since finding the Red and a pink scoop (worth $500, also thrown out… give me a break, i can’t remember everything since birth to my son, put the box back, rethought about the coloured scoops and looking again at the each picture and it occured to me that we had a Red Scoop, in a not so very marked pack that didn’t have any written advertisment or prize winning information. We also had a pink but having not looking at the pack and unaware already the advertisment through that out too, Poor bugger me! Ha. It’s there any chance we’d be able to have anything done about the Red Scoop? or the pink one? Considering it was an unmarked pack?
    Since being born in Darwin I’ve grown up kknowing what a Rort is or what is False advertising if it wasn’t for my son’s needs and my father’s morgage on the hourse i grew up in. It would make a huge difference in out lives.
    A few large bills paid off and hopefully some new clothes would gratefully change my life. Please?!
    I wouldn’t bother about lying but having lived Australian this happening twice to me and having my white knickers inside out tonight, where usually i wouldn’t notice, not doing it on propose. Please consider my letter… or just laugh at it like every one sensible would. The money would really help my family out and prepare my son for a healthy life. I wouldn’t bother about lying, it’s just not me. Also, having Never won anything in my life, it’s just not something i could ignore for too long.

    Sincerely Jonette.

    Contact number: 040 1356 999
    I live in Darwin, in the Northern Territory.

  2. Hi,

    Yes, this is Jonette Sheridan. I can’t believe that you’ve put my letter on a site! It’s funny, but also very embarassing!

    My contact address is 125 Cape st, Heidelberg vic 3084. We’ve moved to be closer to our son’s Grandparents and having a great time in Melbourne!

    Thank you for posting my letter, nothing was done about it. Just got more advertising letters and a apologetic letter from Surf.

    ANYways, take care and see you another day… *L*

  3. I didn’t put that letter there. You must have posted it as a comment thinking that you were sending me a private message. It’s been there since 2005. 🙂

    And look: you’ve done it again! You’ve posted a comment on my site for all the world to see. Do you want me to remove your address?


  4. Sir.
    I was recently told that washing powder of any kind loses its weight in transit or by handeling – for example 60% when filled at factory 50% when ariving at a store 150 miles away – thus losing 10% can this be true.

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