Over the last week, second year King’s Law student Saima Ahmad has received international media attention over her Kit Kat disaster.
Last month Saima bought a Kit Kat that, to her horror, turned out to be wafer free. With her friends’ encouragement, Saima wanted to test her luck at the sweet possibility of having a lifetime supply of her favourite chocolate bar to ‘act as quality control’ for Nestle. Genius.
Soon after, Saima sent a letter of complaint; at worst expecting never to hear from anyone again and, at best, a replacement Kit Kat (with wafer).
What she didn’t expect , however, was the thousands of attacking comments that were to follow after The Daily Mail, Fox News, Daily Star and ITV portrayed Saima as someone who was ‘making demands’ and ‘threatening legal action’.
Saima speaks to Roar in an exclusive interview to tell her side of the story:
Saima, how much do you love Kit Kat?
I would normally say that it’s my favourite one, but not anymore.
So you’re going to stop eating Kit Kat because of this?
No I’m not going to stop eating it but I’m going to take my time to get back into it because if someone sees me eating it they’re just going to call me a hypocrite.
So because of this situation, you can’t eat kit Kat publically anymore?
Ok let’s talk about when you first opened that waferless Kit Kat. What was it like?
My sister-in-law ate the first one out of the multipack and she said ‘oh my god, there’s no wafer in this!’ Then I ate mine and I knew something wasn’t right. It tasted really different. There was no wafer, it was fully chocolate. It wasn’t nice at all.
So when you say fully chocolate was it like Dairy Milk or was it hollow?
No it wasn’t hollow, it was just a block of chocolate.
So it was a Kit Kat chunky, without the chunky?
Yeah. It was upsetting, but I still ate it. I do have a bit of it left though.
So, hang on, you still own a bit of the waferless Kit Kat?
Yes, it’s in my bag at home.
What are you keeping it for?
I wasn’t going to keep it, but my family said keep it for memories. This was before it all blew up. I still have it in its wrapper in my bag now and haven’t got it out since.
So you haven’t been tempted to eat that last bit of Kit Kat?
No, but the funny thing is the photographer brought round four Kit Kats for the shoot so I’ve been eating that.
‘Kit Kat Girl’ Fame
Are you being recognised on the street as Kit Kat girl?
No, thankfully not. I don’t know what I would say to people if they asked if I was Kit Kat girl on the street. I have been recognised in lectures though!
What do people in your lectures say?
Someone who I’ve never met before stared at me in the middle of my lecture yesterday and when she went to leave she turned to me and said ‘you’re the Kit Kat girl!’ So I replied ‘yeah’, to which she just goes ‘you’re an f*ing legend’ and walks away. I didn’t really know what to say to that.
So how does it feel to be Kit Kat girl?
If I could do it again, I don’t think I would’ve done it.
It just got over exaggerated. It’s not an important story, so for that to go out there like that…
Writing the Letter
Can you talk me through what made you write the letter in the first place?
I wasn’t going to write a letter at first, but I was procrastinating and thought it would be funny to give it a go. Next morning my brother sent it to Nestle on my behalf and, unbeknownst to me, a press agency too. The press agency got in contact with me shortly after and said ‘We understand you’re upset over the wafer, can we come and chat to you and we’ll send a photographer?’. My initial reaction was no. But then I spoke to friends and they said ‘It’s a joke. You get paid for it. You’re not going to lose anything.’
What was the content of the letter?
My initial thought was: I’ve got a Kit Kat and it’s supposed to have wafer in it. So I picked a specific quote from a judge that says ’duty of care to third parties who don’t buy it but who eat it.’ [She laughs] It was all a joke.
At the end of the letter I ask for a lifetime supply of Kit Kat to act as quality control. I said one line which was kept out of most of the newspapers-‘you need me more than I need you’-because that’s what made the whole thing seem less serious.The press then interviewed me and took quotes that made it sound like I was going to sue.
What line was it specifically that made you sound this way?
I still remember my exact quote: ‘I wouldn’t rule out taking this further unless Nestle apologise or compensate me’. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to sue. It does mean that something could go further, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to go to court.
Have you heard back from Nestle?
Not directly, no. They commented on the article saying ‘if someone has a problem they should come to us directly’. But the thing is I did go to them at the same time as the press agency through my letter of complaint.
Kit Kat also posted on their Facebook page that ‘research shows that young people are stirrers. Tag a stirrer.’ I think this was directed at me.
What was your reaction after you saw that Daily Star had reported your story?
I found it funny when Daily Star reported it. What happened was, I didn’t know the story was out because the paper hadn’t told me. I started to receive messages from people I didn’t know saying ‘why do we care about your chocolate bar?’ So I typed my name into google and there I was on the Daily star website.
At the time it was all a joke and my friends and I thought it was funny. But then Daily Mail published the story, and that’s when it just blew up. That’s when it went too far.
What has the reaction been since then from the public?
People who know me find it funny, whereas other people haven’t been so nice and haven’t found it so funny. You only have to look at the comments on the Daily Mail website.
Would you say that this has affected you then?
I don’t think so no. I don’t really care that much about the compensation or the wafer. It was annoying at the time but basically it’s not that deep. What has bothered me slightly though is the way I’ve been portrayed in the media and the unfair comments that have escalated from it.
So, for the record, you are not planning any legal action against Nestle?
I am not. It never even came to my mind that I would go to court. How could I afford it anyway?!
For the non-law students, what entails a legal claim?
It has to have some sort of standing and mine doesn’t at all because having no wafer in a Kit Kat doesn’t actually cause harm. All I did was use a quote about duty of care that they owe their consumers, that’s it. I did talk about emotional significance, but this was a joke. I’m not actually crying about the wafer.
Any final comments?
All of this started as a joke. The second part of it was that when we learnt about Tort Law I had a lecture about compensation culture and that ‘where there’s a blame there’s a claim’. We learnt that this is not actually true because the newspapers create this compensation culture: it’s a myth. The courts don’t actually face these kind of cases. So what I was doing was experimenting with the tabloids to see if they actually do this kind of thing, and that’s exactly what happened.
That’s a good place to end it I think. Thank you, Saima.