I never liked Cheerios.

Let me correct that. I despised Cheerios to the core of my being and consider eating a bowl of them to be a recurring childhood trauma that made me vow, when I get big: never, ever, ever again.

Maybe your experience was different but for me they seemed to turn soggy as soon as any milk touched them. They were not colorful and tasty (sugary) like Fruit Loops and Count Chocula. They weren't cool like Sugar Crisps. They tasted like wet rice cakes and spite to me.

I am sure the statute of limitations has run out for me to sue them for ruining my childhood, but I am glad to say that if you find the need to sue them for any other reason, that right is alive and well, despite the widespread report that consumers would not be able to sue them if they "liked" one of their products on Facebook or any other social media.

General Mills reverses course on right to sue after backlash

General Mills has scrapped a controversial change to its fine print.

Last week, the company posted new legal terms to its website that some read as eliminating customers' right to sue the company.

General Mills (GIS, Fortune 500) explained the terms as requiring "all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration."

So on Saturday, the company noted outrage over the change and announced it was voiding those terms. But it stood by the decision and defended arbitration as cost-effective and common in the corporate world.[...]


The New York times lit up the blogosphere with their article about General Mills' terms of service change.

When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue

Might downloading a 50-cent coupon for Cheerios cost you legal rights?

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.[...]

The change in legal terms, which occurred shortly after a judge refused to dismiss a case brought against the company by consumers in California, made General Mills one of the first, if not the first, major food companies to seek to impose what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers.

“Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”

General Mills declined to make anyone available for an interview about the changes.


But the maker of the planet's nastiest cereal, that scars children into adulthood, says that the New York Times' and others got it all wrong.

Before it canceled the terms, General Mills said that was a "mischaracterization."

"No one is precluded from suing us by purchasing our products at a store, and no one is precluded from suing us when they 'like' one of our Facebook pages," spokeswoman Kirstie Foster wrote in a blog post.

The company stood by that position when it changed course over the weekend.

"Those terms - and our intentions - were widely misread, causing concern among consumers," Foster wrote. "So we've reverted back to our prior terms. There's no mention of arbitration, and the arbitration provisions we had posted were never enforced. ...

"We'll just add that we never imagined this reaction," Foster continued. "We're sorry we even started down this path."



There is a poll below asking about your favorite childhood cereal. Here is a list of cereals if you need a reminder about those early days.

List of Breakfast Cereals

By the way, when I could finally make my own cereal decisions I chose Grape Nuts. I think because I liked their resilience in milk. Crunchy is one of my four main food groups after Sugary, Microwaveable and Ice Cream.

Euell Gibbons: It's naturally sweet taste reminds me of wild hickory nuts. I call Grape Nuts my Back-to-Nature cereal.

And today my favorite breakfast is Starbucks.


What was your favorite childhood breakfast?

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| 114 votes | Vote | Results

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