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About that Mac & Cheese maze

So, as I reported recently on my blog, I discovered recently that a maze that appeared on the back of packages of Kraft SpongeBob Macaroni & Cheese was based on one of my designs. When I notified @kraftfoods of this, via twitter, they put me in touch with Design Partners, an agency in Racine Wisconsin that was responsible for the packaging design. It is perhaps worth pointing out that Kraft (like most companies that outsource their design work) is indemnified against this kind of thing – any legal repercussions would fall on the agency responsible, not on Kraft.

Susan, the HR director at the agency contacted me with a very nice letter, apologizing sincerely for the mistake. She asked me how I would like to “resolve the matter”. I asked the agency to make cash donations to two food banks – $2,000 to their local food bank, the Racine County Food Bank, and $2,000 to my local food bank, the Los Angeles Food Bank. They were very happy to do so, and the donations were made Thursday morning.

I am personally very pleased with how this turned out. I’m aware that some of you (including one or two eager attorneys) were hoping I would try to get a substantially larger settlement. In my mind, this would not have been just. It would have been a reverse form of theft, taking advantage of one person’s mistake for my personal gain. While it’s tempting to blame the “big corporation” for this kind of thing, ultimately these kinds of mistakes are made by people who are prone to the same kinds of errors that you and I make every day. Also, my house is too cluttered with broken pencil sharpeners and cat toys, and I don’t know where I would fit a lifetime supply of mac & cheese.

So, I hope you like the way I resolved this. I feel I’ve turned lemons into actual lemonade. Or spilt milk into unspilt milk? I dunno, you figure it out.

If you are in the US, and you’d like to learn more about your local food bank, I suggest visiting the following directory:

Feeding America.

A big thank you to Josh Masur for advice and encouragement.

25 Responses to “About that Mac & Cheese maze”

  1. Craig Says:

    Jim, this is absolutely lovely. Best possible ending to this story. Glad to see it worked out.

  2. Mick O Says:

    You are a true gentleman. My hat is off to you. Not going to say faith in humanity is restored, but my faith in krazydad is stronger than ever.

  3. Jonathan Says:

    Way to go! What a wonderfully humble way to resolve things. That is refreshing!

  4. Bill Says:

    Hat’s off to you sir! Bravo!

  5. Kimberly Says:

    Outstanding, what a wonderful win win for this. Good for you and good for the company making the donations on a mistake.

  6. Brian Wigginton Says:

    Bravo! Good on you to turn this episode into something that helps others.

  7. Margaret Willowmoon Says:

    You totally rock, Jim!

  8. sep332 Says:

    So it was a mistake? How did it happen?

  9. lino Says:

    Jim, you are the best! good man

  10. Fran├žois Says:

    Hey Jim, none of the outside-pointing links on your page point to the correct location! E.g. the LA food back link goes to

  11. Carl Clark Says:

    You set the standard for others to follow. Thank you.

  12. Jeff Says:

    Wow, you’re a great individual. So pleased that the agency was willing to cooperate with you on this.

  13. jbum Says:

    Fran├žois: Fixed. Thanks for catching that!

  14. Sharon Says:

    Awesome guy to take the high road and to benefit those in need rather than see an inroad for personal gain. One caveat, I would have also asked Kraft to donate some food products as well….

  15. Joan Says:

    Sounds like the perfect solution to me. Thanks for being awesome.

  16. Sequoia Warner Says:

    As the director of Lowell Community Food Bank, I salute you. Way to lead to a win/win solution that will benefit lives of many. Our food bank is raising a community garden, teach cooking and canning classes and building a community of bootstrap resources.

    Thank you for being open to new solution!

  17. Mark Frankel Says:

    You are a good man Jim and I am very pleased as are you with the outcome.

  18. Lisa Schwaberow Says:

    I greatly admire and respect the choice you made! If we had more of that type of settlement in this world it would be a much better place to live! Hats off to you and taking the moral high ground, maybe it will rub off on a few more people!

  19. Sam Dlugach Says:

    I applaud your altruism, Jim. Although… it would’ve been interesting to see what you could’ve done with 1000 cans of squirt cheese.

  20. Rob Says:

    Wow. Handled like a pro. Nice work.

  21. Luis Says:

    Thank you for thinking this way.

  22. Nancy Dorset Says:

    I am sure your request to have the $4000 be given to the food banks helped the company to agree to your proposed settlement so promptly. I hate to be cynical, but they will probably be able to claim the settlement as a charitable deduction.

    However, as someone the volunteers at a homeless shelter and soup kitchen, I really support your decision to ask for the money to be given to the food banks. Furthermore, as someone who once needed the services of a food bank, I thank you!

  23. Katherine Bales Says:

    Just stumbled across your site – found your EASY Sudoku puzzles for which I am most grateful.
    I am in awe of your reconciliation skills. True (name your spirituality here) at work.
    I shall repay in kind by donating through PayPal.

  24. Nick Schuhmacher Says:

    Jim, very proud to have someone like you for a brother-in-law. That was a wonderful thing to do, it is great to know that not everyone is always thinking of themselves and how to make an easy buck and making a Lawyer more. The difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a dirty scum sucking bottom dweller, the other is a fish. Have a great one, you deserve it.

  25. Sig Nielsen Says:

    VERY well done!