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It is amazing what a little customer complaint can generate.

Yesterday, in FaceTime I talked about a disappointing experience I'd had in try to track down frozen Italian meatballs made by a company called Rosina's; they are my teenaged daughter's favorite comfort food and, since I'm going to be out of town for all of July, I wanted to have plenty of them in the freezer. Stew Leonard's, where we've always bought them, doesn't carry them during the summer, and while they were willing to special order them for us, I also reached out to the manufacturer to find out what other local retailers might carry them.

As I said yesterday, this effort was largely unsuccessful: the company sent me a form letter, adding that I could buy the meatballs at Stew Leonard's ... when I had clearly informed in my original voice mail message that Stew's didn't have them. My point was simple - that Rosina's, by not paying attention, risked turning an enthusiastic, long-time consumer of its products who was willing to drive some distance to buy them, into a ticked-off shopper more than willing to share his negative experience. And I thought it worth sharing the experience, if only because it struck me as a classic case where customer service should have been easy, but through pure indifference (or maybe incompetence), it turned into customer disservice.

Well, this complaint generated an enormous amount of email. So let me see if I can answer most of the questions, which broke down into six categories:

• Yes, I would be a better father if I only fed her handmade, freshly made meatballs instead of the frozen kind. But I don't always have the time and/or energy. Sue me.

• For all of you who wrote to me to tell me that your stores carry the Rosina's meatballs and are happy to sell them to me, thanks. I'm not sure that traveling to places like California makes a lot of sense in the short term. But thanks.

• For all of you who suggested alternative frozen meatballs, I appreciate it. When feasible, I'll run the options by my daughter, who is the ultimate arbiter of what is acceptable. (After all, it is her comfort food.)

• For the couple of you who said you'd like to send me frozen meatballs, I'll be in touch shortly with an address.

• To the person who asked why I had not given Rosina's another chance to respond correctly after they sent me the form letter, the answer is - I did. Almost immediately, I called the company's customer service number and explained what had happened, how I thought they'd dropped the ball, and once again gave them my phone number. That was more than a week ago. I have not yet gotten a call.

• To the person who suggested that I might have been more effective by writing a letter to the Rosina's CEO to explain my complaint, the truth is that doing a piece on MNB is my version of writing the CEO a letter ... this is what I do for a living.

The big lesson here, I think, is worth repeating ... and really has nothing to do with meatballs.

It has to do with the power of the 21st century consumer to communicate positive and negative feelings to a broad and expanding audience that, to coin a phrase, eats this stuff up. There's a reason that I got all those emails yesterday. We all relate to customer service problems like the one I described - either because we've experienced similar scenarios, or we worry that our organizations might be making the same kinds of mistakes, doing perhaps irreparable damage to our brands.
KC's View: