Complain About Tropicana's Shrinking Containers, Earn A Free Carton Of Juice

Joel loves his orange juice and is none too pleased with Tropicana’s recent decision to shrink their containers by 7 oz. He fired off a complaint through Tropicana’s website, and was pleasantly surprised when the company responded with a coupon for a free carton of shrunken sweetness.

He writes:

Anyway, I didn’t think anything would come of it, but something did.

Specifically, I received a letter from Tropicana. It had two things in it, which you can see below:

A coupon for $6.50 off any one Tropicana product, and a recipe card. (The back side of the recipe card says “We thank you for your input.”)

So… thanks? Tropicana…

I wonder if I can write them back and say something nice and get another one?

Well Joel, there’s only one way to find out…

File a complaint, receive a coupon and a recipe… [untitled]
PREVIOUSLY: New Tropicana! Now With Less Orange Juice!

Comments

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  1. Maybe this would be enough to offset the amount of tropicana that you lose for atleast the next couple containers you buy.
    Smart move Tropicana, smart move.

  2. nickripley says:

    I feel like this guy is rewarded for saying “the price of Tropicana
    went up.” Is the big deal with this that it’s more expensive, or do you
    feel like they were misleading about it by saying the carton was
    redesigned? Unfortunately, the prices of several things are going up,
    and this includes products like Tropicana. Not news.

  3. rhobite says:

    Well this is a coincidence. I just got back from my local Stop and Shop and noticed that the 64 oz paper cartons of Tropicana OJ were $3.49, vs. $4.99 for the 89 oz jugs. Do the math and you’ll see that the smaller carton is actually less expensive now:

    $3.49 / 64 oz * 32 oz = $1.75 per quart
    $4.99 / 89 oz * 32 oz = $1.79 per quart

  4. azntg says:

    I’d also complain about Tropicana juice having a more bitter taste lately after they started to include Brazilian oranges in their recipe.

  5. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I just sent in my complaint via E-mail. I hope that Tropicana doesn’t read the Consumerist, otherwise they might stop sending coupons.

  6. TechnoDestructo says:

    @azntg:

    THANK you. I thought I was the only person who noticed/cared about that.

    Brazilian oranges suck. If I wanted something that tasted like grapefruit juice, I’d buy grapefruit juice.

    I think the only major brand left that doesn’t use Brazilian oranges is Florida’s Natural. IIRC Simply Orange started using them, too. The reason more companies are switching to it is Brazilian oranges are the cheapest in the world, and apparently, Americans do not care about quality. In anything.

  7. I am all for getting my slice of the pie, but let’s not encourage this type of activity…. ’cause there sure as hades ain’t no free lunch. The cost of that “free” jug of juice is going to be passed on to every other consumer with the next price increase slash size reduction.

  8. @TechnoDestructo:

    gosh darn, I thought is was my taste buds going out of wack. Now I know better.

  9. jc75 says:

    What the…I did the same thing as my OP, and my coupon was for onl $4.50…Weird.

  10. stephenjames716 says:

    who can I send a complaint to about gas prices going up and get a coupon for a free fill up?

  11. orlo says:

    Try Hugo Chavez. (Although he’s responsible for the ethanol reducing your mileage.)

  12. Buran says:

    @orlo: Ethanol also burns quite a lot cleaner and is renewable, unlike gas. Done right, you can set up an infrastructure around ethanol (see Brazil) and reduce oil dependency and clean things up quite a bit.

  13. azntg says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Oh no. We do care about quality. It’s just that very few of us are willing to pay more than the $3-$4 that we’re used to paying (it used to be $2-$3, but anyway) and as long as that’s the case, the companies behind the juices wouldn’t mind sacrificing quality to slowly line their own pockets too.

    @Buran: Agreed.

    Leave the United States of America and Co. to bungle it though. I’d like to think that we still have the manpower and the collective intelligence to do it right… except it’s kinda hard to do things right with the well meaning, but completely inept oilman as our president, lobbyists having a tighter grip than ever on Capitol Hill than your average citizen and companies being corrupt in a whole new level (Trusts in the late 19th century America during the “Golden Age” can’t even compare against what goes on today, from what I can tell)

  14. TechnoDestructo says:

    @azntg:

    Florida’s Natural costs (in AZ) 3-4 dollars for (IIRC) 64 ounces.

    Simply Orange costed 2-3 dollars back when it used American oranges, and every other orange juice brand also costs that much.

  15. ArmchairEconomist says:

    I think the real issue (besides the attempt to raise prices on unaware consumers) is the increase in waste:product generated everytime a company tries to decrease the size of a product.

    Perhaps we should make manufacturers responsible for the lifecycle of their waste (much like Europe does).. this might make companies think more carefully about the environmental impact of their marketing/pricing decisions.

  16. dualityshift says:

    @Buran:
    Or we can go methane like Bartertown.

  17. ironchef says:

    it’s hush money in the form of juice.

  18. zarex42 says:

    Nice of them, but totally unnecessary. Inflation isn’t their fault; it was either reduce the package or raise the per-package price.

  19. humphrmi says:

    @TechnoDestructo: I’m with you on that! I *love* Florida’s Natural, but my wife prefers the “low acid” juice and FN doesn’t make one (that we’ve found anyway), so she always wants me to pick up Tropicana Low Acid. I think it sucks. Now I know why.

  20. + says:

    This gives me an idea, Red Bull and Tropicana Orange Juice! It’ll probably cost me like $40 for a gallon though…

    @orlo: And doing cocaine!

  21. TechnoDestructo says:

    @humphrmi: “Low acid?” I might be willing to give that a try. I’m pretty sure it’s the acidity that makes Brazilian orange juice suck.

  22. humphrmi says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Yeah, it’s marked “Low Acid” on the container, slightly below the spout (I think). My wife says it helps her not get acid reflux when she drinks it. She’s on prescription anti-acid meds for a severe GERD problem, so I just deal with it…

  23. synergy says:

    I was just at the grocery store and noticed the new design I’d read about here. I rarely go to the store since my husband does most of the shopping. I’d alerted him to their scheming already though.

  24. dieman says:

    Brazil ethanol is a /special/ case because they have arable land that is well suited to the feedstock they use to produce it. Corn isn’t that great for ethanol compared to sugar beets and sugar cane, etc.

    Cellousitc ethanol seems to be the future, but its not-quite-here-yet.

  25. ShariC says:

    I don’t have a problem with complaints, but I think the Consumerist is starting to encourage a mindset of which encourages people to complain just to see if they can milk some free stuff out of the company.

    This is abusing the company’s goodwill and taking advantage of their desire to build customer loyalty.

    Are people really so deprived of joy in life that they will manipulate a situation to squeeze any freebie out of it that they can?

  26. @ShariC:

    Yes. Some of us have nothing to do better with our time.

  27. huadpe says:

    @dieman: I think that internal combustion engines are on the way out.

    Burning anything makes C02, and pretty much the same amount per kJ of energy you get. If battery/capacitor technology can get there, which it is rapidly doing, we will see more retail-level electrics.

    For those who don’t know, here’s a basic breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of electric engines.

    Advantages:

    No transmission. Electric motors can spin efficiently over a much wider range of speeds than an internal combustion engine, and thus you don’t need a transmission in an electric car.

    Much more energy efficient. There is a huge amount of energy lost as heat when using an internal combustion engine. Not so with electrics.

    Very quiet.

    No tailpipe emissions. Even if you’re burning things to make the electricity, burning it all at the same place means you can do alot more to mitigate the impact.

    Disadvantages:

    Batteries are expensive, take a while to charge, and can kinda explode. Batteries which can power a car have alot of energy stored in them. When they get hit by another car at speed, they may short out, causing ALOT of heat and energy to be suddenly released. But gasoline is dangerous too. Capacitors tend to be more explosive than batteries, but lack acid.

    We don’t have end-mile infrastructure for large-scale charging away from home, or almost anywhere in less than ~45 min to an hour. This isn’t nearly as big a challenge as making a hydrogen infrastructure, since it’s a relatively minor retrofit on most gas stations which presumably already are on the electric grid.

    Oh, and to dispell a common myth, electric engines are not at all slower than gas engines, they’re actually VERY powerful. Hybrid cars feel weak because they actually have two whole cars in the thing, a full electric, a full gasoline, and mechanisms for switching.

  28. humphrmi says:

    @ShariC: Tropicana had and has a choice to send out free coupons to customers who complain. If the problem is that you can send them a one-line e-mail hat says “I detest your new packaging!” and an auto-responder will send you a coupon, then it’s Tropicana’s problem for using an auto-responder to answer customer complaints instead of, say, a human. If, on the other hand, the problem is that you think that a Consumerist post will encourage many others to send complaints to Tropicana even though they don’t care that the packaging is smaller and the price is the same, then you’re reading the wrong blog, dude.

  29. Scatter says:

    I@nickripley:

    It’s not the fact that companies have to raise prices as expenses go up, I understand that they have to do this from time to time. What bothers me is when they try to hide the fact that they’re doing so by reducing the size of their product and hoping that people don’t notice rather than just forward about it and raising their prices.

  30. Jesse in Japan says:

    In Japan, a liter of Tropicana Pure Premium costs 400 yen (a little less than four dollars). And that’s a LITER.

    And I still think it’s worth it.

  31. The Real 31 says:

    My freshman year of college I drafted a form letter along the following lines:

    Dear (insert restaurant),

    I’m sure that most people only contact you to complain, but I wanted to send you a note and tell you how much I love your (insert food i.e. Whopper, 6 dollar Burger, Slurpee). Keep up the great work.

    In three weeks I had coupons for free food from Carl’s Jr. (3 free burgers) Wendys (free JBC), 711 (2 free slurpees), Arbys (1 free sandwich) and Burger King (1 free burger)

  32. YokoDadlet says:

    At first, it may appear that the company is “buying their satisfaction” and using coupons to “shut customers up”, but in the end it may just be all about the money (in many cases). Here is one example of when a “satisfaction bribe” was exactly what I needed:

    I have found that “Tree of Life” café just outside Warsaw, Indiana makes the best espresso around. (I lived in Italy a while, and acquired a refined taste.) After visiting every other café in the area, they were the only business that could make a favorite obscure drink of mine. I complemented the manager on her good product. I was happy to return the next week for another, only to find a different person behind the counter who had no idea what I wanted, and charged me $3 more for two drinks than I was charged the previous week. He preceded to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I said his manager had sold the exact same drink for a different price, but to make me happy he gave me a coupon for a free drink. I considered rejecting the coupon in favor of a “real” refund, when I realized that I would in fact get good use out of it, as there was no other establishment to which I was willing to take my future business.

    When a dedicated customer has a specific complaint, a discount/coupon/freebie is the perfect way to say, “We value your loyalty”.

  33. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I just got notice from Tropicana that they would send me a free OJ coupon. Thanks Consumerist!

  34. frogman31680 says:

    I just sent in a complaint to tropicana and they let me know that my free coupon is in the mail…. Below is the email that I had received… (The names were changed to protect the guilty…)

    ————————————————————-

    Thanks for your email about our new SNAP Cap packaging. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

    Our decision to improve our bottle was not recent. Based upon feedback from families where children pour their own juice, we began working on this new package concept more than two years ago. The idea was to have an innovative cap that easily and securely sealed just by pressing on it, and one that easily poured without “glugging,” the primary reason for spilling.

    The downsizing from 96 to 89 ounces wasn’t a decision we took lightly. As you are aware, oil costs have skyrocketed. Oil is used to make plastic bottles, fuel our factories, and ship our juice across the country in refrigerated trains and trucks. We had the choice to either increase prices or to downsize the bottle. We chose to downsize the bottle but add value through the innovation of the SNAP cap and new bottle, which consumers were seeking.

    Although you may not agree with our decision, we hope you can appreciate that they were made in the best interest of our consumers and shareholders. We want you to try our new container on us, so we’ve mailed you a coupon that should arrive in about a week. Please be assured that feedback from consumers, such as yourself, does influence decisions, and your comments have been shared with our marketing group.

    Again, Frogman31680, thanks for your input and sharing your concerns

    Michael
    Tropicana Consumer Response

  35. P1h3r1e3d13 says:

    @frogman31680: I got almost same email – the names were different, of course, and the last paragraph is arranged a little differently: it says “coupons” (plural) and doesn’t specify which product.

    Form letter or no, I call that a downright decent reply, and I sent them back an email to that effect, thanking them for their better-than-usual customer relations.

    (I still couldn’t help pointing out that if plastic prices are the issue, larger bottles use less plastic per volume of juice, given similar shapes.)