'Freakish' find shocks Southland woman

Last updated 05:00 10/05/2010
'evil' pear
FREAKY FIND: The pear and the can it came from.

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Southland woman Wendy McMahon reckons she will never look at canned pears the same way.

The latest can she opened contained a demonic face carved into one of its contents.

However, Mrs McMahon said the shock of the find is nothing compared with the trial she has had trying to get answers out of the pears' supplier.

She bought the Budget brand can of pears from Invercargill Pak'N Save a fortnight ago and feeling "a bit peckish", she opened it, late on May 1.

She said it was when she returned to the can for a second helping that she scooped the freakish piece of fruit out.

"I thought `oh my God, is that a face'... it really kind of shocked me."

Inspecting the can, she found an 0800 number and called it.

That call went through to voicemail and, despite feeling "embarrassed", she left a message, Mrs McMahon said.

She took photos of the pear, posted them to websites, including TV3 and Facebook and listed it on Trade Me before going to bed.

Last Monday, her call was returned by a woman from Safeway Traders Ltd in Auckland.

Mrs McMahon said the woman was reluctant to accept the find was genuine, became angry she had "gone public" online with the find, assured her the manufacturing process was automated and there was no way this could have happened.

Forwarding the photos to the woman made her change her tune.

On Thursday she received a letter and a $15 voucher.

Mrs McMahon said because no-one had phoned her back, she called the woman, who assured her the "technical adviser" would call her after lunch.

The woman then phoned, demanding the pear and its can be sent to Auckland so its manufacturer Heinz-Wattie's could investigate, Mrs McMahon said.

She sent the pear, along with the voucher, by courier the same day and pulled the Trade Me listing.

On Friday, the woman phoned again, read her a letter that conceded that during production the pear halves were checked by people at the Chinese plant as a quality control measure and offered her a $30 voucher, Mrs McMahon said. "I said that wasn't good enough, then she turned on me and got nasty again – she said `you're just after money aren't you?' – I asked her to send the pear back."

Last night she was still waiting, but said rather than the satanic slice of fruit, it is her treatment by the company she takes exception to.

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- The Southland Times

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