UWM Powerbar Case

Assignment Instructions for the Powerbar Case

Here is the situation. You are writing a letter for Brian Maxwell’s signature. What is your purpose for writing Kelly Keeler? What kind of person (audience) is she? Your letter will keep audience and purpose in mind.

For the signature of Brian Maxwell, PowerBar president, write a follow-up letter to Kelly Keeler, 932 Opperman Drive, Eagan, MN 55123.

Keep the letter informal and personal. Explain how pests get into the grain-based products and what PowerBar does to prevent infestation. Let her know she can learn more about the Indian meal moth by searching the Web. Also send a check reimbursing Kelly $26.85 for her purchase.


In a recent trip to her local grocery store, Kelly Keeler decided for the first time to stock up on PowerBars. Touted as a highly nutritious snack food specially formulated to deliver long-lasting energy, a PowerBar is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate energy source. Since 1986, the company producing PowerBars (http://www.powerbar.com) has been dedicated to helping athletes and active people achieve peak performance. It claims to offer “the fuel of choice” for top athletes around the world. Kelly is a serious runner and participates in many track meets every year.

On her way to a recent meet, Kelly grabbed a PowerBar and unwrapped it while driving. As she started to take her first bite, she noticed something white and shiny under the corner of the wrapping. An unexpected protein source was wriggling out of her energy bar—a worm! Kelly’s first thought was that she would never buy another PowerBar. On second thought, though, she decided to call the toll—free number on the wrapper. Sophie, who answered the phone, was incredibly nice and extremely apologetic about what happened. She passed on Kelly’s concern to Brian Maxwell, who passed it on to you.

The infamous Indian meal moth is a pantry pest that causes millions of dollars in damage worldwide. It feeds on grains and grain-based products such as cereal, flour, dry pasta, crackers, dried fruits, nuts, spices, and pet food. The tiny eggs of the meal moth lie dormant for some time or hatch quickly into tiny larvae (worms) that penetrate food wrappers and enter the products they contain.

At its manufacturing facilities, PowerBar takes stringent measures to protect against such infestations. It inspects incoming grains, supplies proper ventilation, and shields all grain-storage areas with screens that serve to prevent insect entrance. It also uses light traps and electrocuters; these devices are capable of eradicating moths without having major environment impact.

PowerBar president Brian Maxwell makes sure that each and every complaint results in a personal letter of response. His letters generally tell customers that larvae infestations rarely occur and that entomologists say the worms involved are not toxic and will not harm human beings in any way. Nevertheless, as President Maxwell says, “it is extremely disgusting to find these worms in food.”

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