Helen Purves All you need to know about Helen Purves. And, indeed, much more.


Dear Kellogg’s: I am running out of Krave

Recently I wrote a letter to Kellogg's about their tasty cereal Krave, expressing my concern about the deliciousness of their cereal and the negative effect it is/was having on my boyfriend.  Since my friends and family enjoyed my letter, I have decided to reproduce it here on my blog - and to share the response from Kellogg's.

Dear Kellogg’s,

I write in regard to your premium breakfast cereal, “Krave”. As you are no doubt already aware, this is currently the best premium breakfast cereal on the market. Because of this widely acknowledged truth, I recently purchased a box as a treat for my gentleman friend Mr. James Gaskell esq.

One would assume that this would be an uninteresting fact which is completely unworthy of a hand-written letter to yourselves, Kellogg’s (creator of Krave). However, it did not stop there. My boyfriend and I were so taken by the aptly-named breakfast cereal that we immediately ate the entire packet, and now crave the Krave to such an extent that between us we now eat several boxes a week. It is essentially akin to an addiction, but without the support network one could expect as an alcohol or drug addict.

Again, hardly worth of the effort and expense of writing to your company (although I do wish to express to you my pleasure at the deliciousness of your creation). After all, stamps are pretty expensive nowadays and I don’t even live near a post box. The thing is, a grave and severe problem has arisen as a direct result of the tastiness of your cereal.

As you are no doubt aware, our country (the UK, in case this is unclear) has recently been suffering from a most severe recession. Sadly, this has meant that I have not been able to stock up my dedicated Krave cupboard with as many boxes of your most delectable cereal as usual – in fact, my shelves are nearly completely bare.

It is even worse than it at first appears. As well as failing to provide adequate protection in the event of a zombie apocalypse (for I would wish to die with the taste of Krave upon my lips) I now also face the risk of the permanent departure of my boyfriend. He has been concerned about the low level of Krave in my house for some weeks now, and has mentioned that one of our mutual friends (let us call her Linda, for that is her name) is not only able to provide a constant flow of your beautiful cereal but has also got more junk in her trunk as a result. You can probably understand my distress at this news.

What makes this all the more tragic is that, living in Trafford as I do, I cycle to work past your factory twice a day. Every time I smell the wafting malty tones of your most delightful treats and come upon your swirly, dreamy, aspirational red logo I am reminded of my failure to earn enough money to adequately feed myself and my boyfriend.

So I write to you, dear Kellogg’s, in the desperate hope that you might find yourselves able to lower the RRP (Recommended Retail Price, I believe) of Krave. I know it is a lot to ask, but please, I beg of you: do not make me sink to purchasing the relatively vomit-inducing replicas created by your competitors. Not only would they stick in my throat, but they would be wet with my tears as a consequence of my boyfriend’s departure to that bitch Linda.

Yours in expectation,

Helen Purves

I got a response from Kellogg's, which I can't be bothered to write a transcript for [EDIT: Transcript below].  But in short, they openly admitted their perverse delight at my situation.  On the plus side, they did stump up £5 of vouchers for Krave which was pretty decent of them.

Transcript kindly provided by a friend:

Dear Miss Purves

Thank you for your hilarious letter about our delectable Kellogg's Krave.  It has been all round our team and given us all some laughs.  I'm absolutely delighted that you and your boyfriend enjoy them so much -- that's what we like to hear!

We're always pleased to get such positive feedback from our customers.  We find it very rewarding.  However, upon reading your letter we are most concerned to learn that the lack of Krave in your dedicated Krave cupboard is threatening to jeopardise your relationship.  This simply will not do!

I'd like to say thank you by sending you a £5.00 voucher so that you can enjoy some more Krave on us.  Should there be an imminent zombie apocalypse, we do hope that a stock of Kellogg's Krave will provide sufficient protection against the zombie invasion, not to mention save your relationship.

Unfortunately, now to return to a serious note, we are not in a position to reduce the recommended retail price and store managers have the right to exercise their own pricing policy.  we do hope you understand the lack of control we have over pricing of our products.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to us -- your letter really made us smile and made our day!  We hope you will enjoy our products for many years to come.

Your sincerely


Customer Services Representative


The 4th Floor Pet Hamster Lobby

At work, we don't have any pets. We're not all trendy, and we're not based in Shoreditch, so no pets. However, my team doesn't just mindlessly run with the herd: we like to strive, almost constantly, for something better. Luckily, there are comments boxes in stationery hubs - as a result of much pressure from certain dedicated, forward-thinking and rather good looking elements within our department. So we set to work...
Please can we have a departmental pet? Preferably a hamster, although our second choice is a fish. It would be super-cute, and also the constant squeaking as it mindlessly trudges on its wheel all day would be a fitting metaphor for how we feel about our daily work. Thanks, The 4th Floor Pet Hamster Lobby.  P.S. Can we call it Mr Squeaky, please.

However, I'm afraid to say my department contains some extremely dastardly individuals...

Down with hamsters! We politely request a departmental pet, but hamsters are not acceptable. They bite, sulk and spontaneously die and this reflects poorly on the department as a whole. We request a house-rabbit, or a small dog named Winona. These will be trustworthy to roam around the floor, because they will be too short to reach the lift buttons. Thanks, The Pet Lobby of the 4th Floor

Don't worry though, we managed to get the last word.

We have got wind of a message to you from an organisation calling themselves "The Pet Lobby of the 4th Floor." Please disregard this. Hamsters are clearly a better option than rabbits or dogs as they are self-contained, quiet and require less attention from a vetinary practitioner. Furthermore, if our hamster Mr Squeaky "spontaneously" dies we shall know who to point the finger at. Yours, The 4th Floor Pet Hamster Lobby

It didn't end all that well though, despite everything.  Today we got an all-department email: no pet hamsters.  Oh well.  I have two cats at home anyway.


Jay-Z has 99 problems – but what are they?

Recently, I've been thinking about Jay-Z. Or, more accurately, his many problems.  I don't know why, but I just have.  If you're wondering what I'm talking about (i.e. are not Down With The Kids) here's his delightful tune accurately named "99 Problems" which begins to outline his difficulties.

Jay-Z: 99 Problems

In case you can't be bothered to listen to what amounts to the pinnacle of human musical achievement, Jay-Z repeatedly states that if you're having girl problems, he feels dreadfully awful about it - but not one of his 99 problems is caused by "bitches". Having consulted Urban Dictionary I have concluded that he's talking about women, not female dogs.

This upset me greatly. What are all these problems? I set out to find out. I guessed that Jay-Z himself is very busy, so I have instead written a letter to his UK agent. Here it is.

Jay-Z letter - page one of two (see blog entry for transcript)Jay-Z letter - page two of two (see blog entry for transcript)

Dear Sirs,

I write in regard to the well-known song "99 Problems" by your client Jay-Z. This track has deeply troubled me for some time, and I very much hope you might be able to clear things up (or forward my letter on, in the event that you are unable to do so).

In the song, Mr. Z quite clearly states that he has 99 problems, none of which are related to bitches. I cannot help but feel that this is a very large number of problems for anyone to bear, even someone so talented and adept at multitasking as Jay-Z.

In his song, Mr. Z lists several of these problems, including issues with local law enforcement agencies, his impoverished upbringing and the extortionate rate he was requested to pay in bail after an altercation with a contemporary. However, he makes no mention of the other problems he faces, leaving his audience to guess at the others.

My younger brother has suggested that Jay-Z might be referring to smaller, more everyday problems such as mosquito bites, paper cuts or possibly a slight headache, but I can hardly conceive that these would constitute problems significant enough to warrant the authorship of a song so successful that Rolling Stone Magazine conferred upon it the honour of the #2 spot in their list of the top 100 songs of the previous decade. The same applies to my initial thought that perhaps the song relates to some algebra homework: besides, I believe Mr. Z was around the age of 34 at the time, and would therefore have left formal education some time previously.

This leads me to conclude that Jay has a great many problems, and I would very much appreciate some clarification as to whether or not these have been resolved. It is possible that you have some kind of list of these which you can send me, hopefully in electronic form: my email address is [email address]. In addition to this I would be more than happy to try and alleviate some of his problems if I am able.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Nina Elizabeth Purves

I'll let you know when I hear back, dear readers. In the mean time, if you can think of what any of his many problems might be, do let me know. It really does concern me that one man can have so very many problems.

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