BANGKOK — A major baked goods company apologized Tuesday to volunteers who said they got a hassle they didn’t knead for handing out free food to mourners at the Grand Palace.
A delegation from President Bakery Co. Ltd., maker of Farmhouse brand bread, met Tuesday with alumni from Vajiravudh College to apologize after former students of the all-boys school said they were harassed by a company manager for distributing food in Farmhouse-branded trays to mourners waiting to pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol.
The apology came after the alumni publically rebuked the incident and announced a boycott of the company’s products.
“This action was done with the intention to draw the attention from people nearby and criticize Vajiravudh alumni,” read a statement posted Sunday to Facebook by an alumnus. “We are deeply disappointed in this manager’s lack of compassion and discretion. … we, the Vajiravudh alumni, have no intention to denigrate Farmhouse products, so we would like to cancel all of our orders with Farmhouse.”
Sunday at the Grand Palace gave rise to a oven-hot argument between a bread exec and a group of alumni giving out free food.
Alumni from the all-boys Vajiravudh College said they were giving out food Sunday when Malee Tungjaisanong, a Farmhouse senior manager, walked into their booth.
“I’m the owner of Farmhouse. Why did you use Farmhouse crates to put in food from other brands?” they said she demanded loudly and repeatedly.
“Vajiravudh College and our alumni association have been allowed to pass out food and drinks to mourners of Rama IX,” said a statement from a Facebook user named Children of Vajiravudh Sunday. “We buy and distribute at least 25,000 food items from Farmhouse a day. Sometimes we run out of Farmhouse items so we use the crates to hold foods from other brands.”
Reached for comment Tuesday, someone answering a Farmhouse number said an apology would be soon be published on the company’s Facebook page. Malee herself was overseas, said the representative, who declined to give his name.
Online the mood was much less conciliatory, with many decrying Malee’s actions, publishing her personal information and vowing never to eat Farmhouse bread again.
“If you have a big business but a small-minded manager, then be prepared to suffer enormous losses,” Facebook user Nopp Punya wrote.