Today was the Del Monte Blogger’s Meet, an event that’s been in the pipeline for quite a while; one that finally happened at 11am this morning. Some of you may know I’m recovering from a slipped disc, the reason why I declined the invitation, apart from knowing it was to be an usually busy Thursday. Wednesday saw an incoming phone call from Ms. X, a fairly senior person in Del Monte, who expressed her sympathies for my condition, insisted on my attendance and promised to send over a comfortable ride as I couldn’t manage the one and a half to two hour drive, each way, to and from NOIDA.
Now, I usually don’t mention the various behind the scenes bloopers that brands, restaurants and PR agencies regularly make. This one however, took the cake… even more than the young thing from a large PR presence who said, ‘No big deal’ after hearing that I was fed shrimp-contaminated foods, a substance I’m severely intolerant to, after informing everyone concerned multiple times.
My ride arrived promptly at 10am… a fairly battered Indigo with shock absorbers that badly needed replacement. One would assume a senior manager would know the meaning of ‘comfortable’ ride in the context of a slipped disc, but I forgive them that as bloggers in this country are usually taken for granted. Perhaps I should have been grateful a lambi gaadi was sent?
After a bumpy and fairly painful ride we reached the premises in Gurgaon, where security took a cursory glance at the occupants and waved it aside, not allowing the car to drop me inside the premises. I was asked to fill out a form, placed on a low table, which I did after a fair amount of bending and grimacing, then proceeded to make the short (looong for me), upward inclined walk to the building. If you’ve had a slipped disc, you’ll know it’s far harder to walk on an incline in that condition. If you haven’t, you know now.
Once inside the building, I hobbled over to the reception, the click-clacks of my orthopedic walking stick echoing in the glass lined corridor and reached the reception, where the lady took a look at my walking stick, then at me and proceeded to give me another register to fill, then slammed another form on top of the register and asked me to fill that too. The bumpy ride, the excruciating act of filling up the first register and then the trying walk to the building had taken it’s toll on my patience by then and I SMSed Ms. X, informing her that I wouldn’t be filling out any more registers and would be waiting in the Costa Coffee in the building for an escort.
[quote type=”center”]Sounds high handed? If you invite me after I’ve refused, and insist on my attending, despite knowing I have a disabling condition, the least you can do is make it easier for me.[/quote]
Fifteen minutes later, having yet not received a response, I informed Ms. X that I would be leaving. BTW I do love the smoked chicken and gouda sandwich Costa does sooo well. Perhaps that trip wasn’t so bad after all. As I left the building I saw a taxi, similar to mine, being stopped at the gate by the same security personnel… with one difference; the occupant of the car was white; a foreigner. All the sternness went out of the burly Sikh guard and he nearly bent over double, gesturing extravagantly with his arms towards the register, with an apologetic expression on his face, asking the gent to fill it in, after which the car was graciously waved through. Perhaps I should have used ‘Fair and Lovely’ prior to coming or dunked my face in a vat full of face powder.
Fifteen minutes after that, a lady from their PR agency called to enquire, then proceeded to apologise. Forty minutes after my first SMS, Ms. X called, a call I declined to accept, which resulted in a sympathetic SMS.
Apologies are so cost effective, aren’t they?
—[learn_more caption=”More on Del Monte”]
For those of you who aren’t aware of Del Monte, here’s a quick one from Wikipedia: Del Monte Corporation, doing business as Del Monte Foods, is an American food production and distribution company headquartered in One Maritime Plaza, San Francisco, California. Del Monte Foods is one of the country’s largest producers, distributors and marketers of branded food and pet products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.6 billion in net sales in fiscal 2009. Its portfolio of brands includes Del Monte, S&W, Contadina, College Inn, Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘n Bits, 9Lives, Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Meaty Bone, Snausages and Pounce. Several Del Monte products hold the number one or two market share position. The Company also produces, distributes and markets private label food and pet products.[/learn_more]