Kenco and Nescafe each produce a fairly wide range of different coffees, each with different characteristics. This is entirely sensible, since different people like different things - by providing a range, they enable people to find the one they enjoy and buy that, and then everyone's happy.
But there's a problem with one part of that process - the bit where people find the one that the enjoy.
The thing is, there's a wide range of different coffees, some of which I rather enjoy and some of which are truly manky. (And, indeed, some that are just plain wrong, but that's enough about decaf.) But the names on the jar don't really help me decide what I want - "Blend 37" is essentially meaningless, and "Rich" and "Smooth" aren't actually much better. "Columbian" is somewhat more meaningful, except that Kenco's Columbian coffee is actually very different from Nescafe's equivalent.
Which means that in order to find the coffee I most enjoy (or, better still, my favourite two so that I have a backup for when Tesco are out of stock and/or I fancy a change), I actually have to try the various types.
Of course, that's not a huge hardship - have a couple of mugs of each type of coffee, see how they go, and all's well. Or so you would think.
But that's not actually an option. Instead, you have to buy a full jar of their coffee, containing forty (ish) mugs' worth. And so you're forced into a crazy game of coffee roulette - buy the wrong one and you're stuck with two weeks of lousy coffee at work (as has happened again this week).
The thing is, it's actually not a hard problem to fix. They already produce individual sachets of at least some of their coffees for use in hotels and other venues. So surely it wouldn't be hard for them to produce a "sample box" containing two of each type of coffee in their range (including decaf, if they must). Sell such a box in Tesco, and people could then quickly sample all the options, pick their favourite (and backup), and stick with those thereafter.
So Kenco and Nescafe: make it so!
#36: "The Vicompte de Bragelone", by Alexandre Dumas