It’s In The Genes: Sandi Fox v Rowntrees [1981]


Whilst you are all waiting with baited breath to find out what the response is from Waitrose  (believe me it is worth the wait) I thought I would share something fantastic with you all courtesy of my mum, Mrs Sandi Fox.

I thought I was being original with my noodle complaint.  Turns out Sandi Fox had beaten me to the punch. 33 years ago.


Let me set the scene…

It is Wednesday the 2nd December 1981. Temperatures in the UK were about to fall to a teeth-chattering -25C.  Queen and David Bowie were at the top of the charts with their mega hit Under Pressure; Charles and Diana were in the first few months of wedded bliss; and somewhere in the USA John McEnroe was having a Horlicks and still trying to calm down from his “You canNOT be serious” rampage six months’ earlier.

Meanwhile, in a solicitors’ office in Sale, Cheshire, my mum (aged 24) had just passed around a box of Quality Street that had been sent in by a client.  Everyone reached in for their favourite sweet, the green triangle, gold penny and then, The Purple One.  What happened next led to the following letter of complaint that my mum sent to Rowntrees on 2nd December 1981.  There aren’t enough words that can do this justice so I won’t bother.  Here it is in all its glory.

The original typewritten letter

The original typewritten letter


Rowntree Mackintosh Ltd




2nd December 1981


Dear Sirs,

“Ode to a Purple One”

 A client called on us today

A tin of Quality Street came our way

Oh how we all enjoyed the ‘share in’

Until we found one with a hair in.

A shriek was heard from one fair maiden

Who found her chocolate hairy laden.

The purples were her favourite toffee,

Eaten with her tea or coffee.

To eat them now she cannot bear

Since finding one that grew a hair.

We know not what the purples are called,

But please ensure they’re completely bald.

Yours faithfully

The staff of Fox Brooks Marshall

P.S. The hairy one is enclosed herewith

P.P.S. It was a 5 3/4 lb tin.

I’ll let you have a moment for this to sink in…



I am especially proud of the use of a correct reference – Mum was and is the best legal secretary in the West. I am also delighted with the cheeky nod to the weight of the tin, a polite yet obvious suggestion for possible compensation. Bravo Mamma!

Unfortunately, for all her troubles, charm, and pzazz, all my mum received from Rowntrees was a £2.00 voucher for some Quality Street without even a nod to her originality and flair.

Think it is pretty safe to assume that we Foxes like a complaint now and again!  So proud of my mum – what a legend!  I think she’d kill me if I put a pic up so here is a Charles and Di commemorative stamp.


Speak soon

Soph x

For those Corrie fans amongst you, it is safe bet that my mum came home and watched this very episode the same day she wrote the complaint x

6 thoughts on “It’s In The Genes: Sandi Fox v Rowntrees [1981]

  1. Talk about sharing genes 😉 Such a cool post! I like the “Dear Sirs, Ode to a purple one”. Magnificent! And nothing like typewriter letters. Perfection is so much more perfect when the creative tool is as analog and personal as a typewriter.


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