Those who conserve their candy still have half of their Halloween stash, like I do, and though not very likely, it is possible that they too might have experienced the frustration of calling the candy company to find out the nutritional facts of those “fun size” bars. I may be unique in that sense, but either way, calling the Mars Snack Food Company was a new, and different experience.

I picked up the phone and dialed the number, 1-800-627-7852, for those interested, at around 7:30 pm. I had already had supper, and wanted a small lump of sugar to satisfy my sweet-tooth. Being conscientious about calories, sugar content and fat, I called, trying to find out how much of these things were in just one of these so-called “fun- size” candy bars.

There was no ringing before a mechanical sounding female voice picked up, immediately going into a spiel that must have been heard only a few hundred times in the past few years.

“Thank you for calling the consumer care department at Mars Snack Food US. Our offices are currently closed. Our office hours are 8:30 am to 5 pm eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

“If you have a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 908-979-5080. Again, this number is for medical emergencies only. For all other questions, concerns, please call back during our normal business hours. You may also wish to listen to the following options which may address any inquiries.

“If you are calling about customized M&Ms, please press one. For information regarding ingredients and toys from China, please press two. If you need help reading our date codes, please press three. For information on products that do not contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, gelatin or gluten, please press four. For our idea or suggestion policy, please press five. If you are inquiring about a donation, please press six. If you are calling about the safety of our M&M products for Halloween, please press seven.

“If you would like to speak with a consumer care representative, our office hours are 8:30 am to 5 pm eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. If you have a health or safety issue, please hang up and dial 908-979-5080. Thank you! To repeat these options, please press the pound key.9

This definitely wasn’t what I had been expecting. At least they are aware of people’s worry about products from China. But their hours started after the normal workday starts, and ends just as a normal workday ends. All I wanted to know was the calorie content of a measly fun size candy bar. Though it may seem a little extreme, you could say the same thing about that recorded message. Are you going to call the toll free number of a company that sold $21,000,000,000 of candy, asking if you can give them money? Not likely. And who is going to call Mars Snack Food US before calling 911?

Not only that, but Mars Snack Food Company is the owner of almost 30 companies, only three of them being pet foods, the rest of them snack bars and candies. They are not dishonorable, though. When asked by the press about Mars’ position on obesity, they answered that they had made certain products that are of lower calorie and fat content, and is trying its best to help customers live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. When asked about the child labor in cocoa farming, they said that they are countering this problem by signing an unprecedented industry protocol, and combining their efforts with those of a number of other organization, one such being the International Labor Organization. It has also taken the steps toward helping enhance educational opportunities in Africa.

If they have so much money to give away, then why would they need ours? And if they are trying so hard to make their nutritional facts easily available for customers to easily make the decision to eat something of lower calorie content, than why can’t I get the nutritional facts of a fun bar?

I immediately began searching for my wanted knowledge the next day, after finding no information with Mars’ 1-800 number. I searched all over the Internet, and called the number again during business hours, after school, but to no avail. All I want to know is the nutritional facts of something that, though called “fun-sized”, not that fun, so that I could make my sweet tooth happy.

Instead, I was stuck searching everywhere for the answer of a question that isn’t extremely important.

I agree, there was a lot I could have done in the time that I searched for my answer that would have been much more worth while. But now I know that you can’t always go right to the source. And that Mars Snack Food US is a bit self centered. Seriously, who thinks that someone would call their company before calling 911 ?

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