I don’t know if Chrystal is a subscriber to these emails (if not, why not?) but I want to say sorry to her.
Chrystal works for Pier Marketing and a couple of weeks ago, she emailed to ask if, with British Food Fortnight in mind, I might like to include Stokes’s brown sauce and tomato ketchup in anything I’m writing.
I never replied, obvs, so a week later she politely gave me a nudge (full marks – a week is the correct amount of time to wait before you follow up) and it happened to coincide with a news story about declining HP sauce and Heniz ketchup sales in the face of competition from posh rivals. Perfect, forget British food fortnight, we’ll do a taste test anyway.
It duly ran last week, but with no Stokes sauces in sight. Chrystal has every reason to feel aggrieved.
It was just a breakdown in communication. I forwarded her email to the person calling in the samples, he missed it, I only realised as I sat down to my mammoth tasting session and by then it was too late. So, Chrystal, I’m really, really sorry.
The wider point is that it’s easy to assume the worst, that you didn’t do your job properly, that there’s something wrong with the product, that the bastard journalist nicked your idea and didn’t credit you, etc, etc.
But before you polish your conspiracy theory, never overlook the more likely reason: a good old-fashioned cock-up. Sometimes things just go wrong, and it’s no one’s fault (well, not yours, anyway, but there’s someone here who’s future hangs by a thread).
And if it makes you feel any better, Chrystal, a significant number of readers commented to say that Stokes ketchup was by far the best.