Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been covering Morningstar Farms’ discontinuation of their beloved veggie dogs over the past several weeks. Interestingly enough, I came across a post on their Facebook page where Morningstar Farms’ customers rant about the decision and even give procurement-related advice! Here are a few excerpts…

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  • “[T]he ‘supplier issues’ they were having made it such that the VDogs were no longer profitable enough.”
  • “Maybe you should have put some more research into your suppliers before creating, recalling, and ultimately discontinuing products. Who knows what I’ve ingested without knowing. As much as I’d like to know the truth behind what caused this, I sort of don’t.”

The intent of companies using social media like Facebook is to establish a more positive connection with your customers. But it appears that Morningstar Farms dropped the ball in this aspect as well.

What ignited this rant of customer feedback was a post of theirs in which they apologize for discontinuing the veggie dogs and offer a $1 coupon. A coupon that, apparently, requires the user to download software and print a full page of promotional material in addition to the coupon. That ticked people off! One commenter wrote “Who was the marketing genius that thought a $1.00 coupon would do anything but rekindle the irritation over losing our favorite product? We’d use about $1.00 worth of ink to print the coupon. *shaking my head*”

Some of these customer responses reminded me of the old Jerky Boys skit where a guy calls a pizza shop and says that his family is vomiting themselves to death due to bad pizza, the pizza shop employee offers a coupon for compensation, and the caller yells something like “My family is dying here and you want to give me a coupon?!?!?!” That skit is out there on YouTube, but I won’t link you – it’s way too vulgar for this blog!

OK, getting back to the moral of the story…this is an example of an apparent procurement problem that significantly – and possibly irreversibly – damaged a company’s reputation in the eyes of its customers. So always see your work as more than getting products and services into your organization. Always look downstream in the supply chain and envision how your work impacts (and hopefully pleases) the ultimate customer. Then do everything you can to contribute to customer satisfaction.

That’s strategic.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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