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The story of the box of cereal


(A Tale of Common Sense)

The shelves of the supermarket were filled with the tall grey boxes of a new cereal, ‘Tetras’, bite sized pieces made up of many different ingredients, coloured with Tetrazine. To help with the roll-out of the new product, the manufacturers had included free toys inside, and these included mini police radios and police cars.

Excited by the healthy words on the packet, customers happily threw the box into their trolley.

The next morning, at breakfast time, families opened it and filled their bowls. And they did the same the next day.

After a few days, however, they noticed that just after they had eaten the cereal, they felt ‘funny’; it was hard to say exactly how they felt funny, but it was a sort of stingy round the mouth, fuzzy in the head sort of feeling, and later they got a headache.

So after a while customers started taking the cereal back to the shop and telling the nice lady at the Information and Help desk about this problem.

She contacted the manager and soon he was aware of many complaints coming in.

Now what do you think he did?

  1. Did he think to himself – I wonder what all these silly people are fussing for. I will get this cereal stocked in all our stores so lots of people will buy it and then we’ll see what happens!


  1. Did he think to himself – I’m concerned about this. All these people can’t be making this up. I will get the product withdrawn immediately and then we will get the manufacturer to investigate fully before we consider restocking it. And, we’ll run our own independent tests on it as well.

Which was the right choice?

What choice would you make?

Who made the right choice?

Sue Tylor

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