It is with deep sadness and regret that I feel I must return your "Duck Seperator", following a disturbing incident this morning.
I fear I may have stumbled upon a serious flaw in your product's design, which for most users, may never come to light.
Imagine my family's delight when the item arrived on the morning of my daughter's birthday. We eagerly assembled the device, wrapped up warmly and headed out to the River Trent with joy in our hearts, Bovril in our flasks and a bag of out-of-date Warburton's clutched in our trembling hands. On arrival at the frosty riverbank, we were greeted by the usual quackling throng of water birds, feverishly squabbling for our attention. As it was my daughter's birthday, she was allowed to use the new feeder first. She took careful aim, targeting a young, disaffected duck with an injured wing that appeared to have been marginalised by its extended family, existing on meagre leftovers on the fringes of society. As the first shot of soggy wholemeal hit the icy waters, our young duck soon had company. My daughter skilfully deployed the orange "exclusion" hoop, allowing our sorry-looking duckling to enjoy his first good meal in peace. "Hurrah!", we cried, "thank you Firebox!". However, our exuberant Hi-5's were brought to a sudden and abrupt halt by the chilling series of events that were about to unfold.
Whilst our town has a proud swan-related heritage, there is a small cult of outlaw swans that seem to rebel against the conventional swan image and use the Queen's protection to afford them diplomatic immunity to any repercussions of their anti-social behaviour. And so it was that 4 members of this clan appeared from their murky lair beneath the Ferry Bridge and descended upon our "protected" duck. The orange plastic walls turned from "Safe Exclusion Zone" into "Hellish Floating Prison" as the elegant, flexible necks of the evil swans loomed over the hapless mallard, their razor-sharp beaks gnashing and devouring anything in their grasp, in a frightening feeding frenzy.
I covered my daughter's face from the carnage, but within seconds it was all over. The river was silent, except for the receding cackle of the murderous swans and the gentle lapping of the cold waves as I pulled the tattered remains of the hoop back to the bank.
I would therefore advise any prospective purchasers to consider the use of this device very carefully and would strongly insist that you include a swan warning on all future packaging.
Obviously, the refund I am requesting will never erase the shocking images of avian cannibalism embedded in my daughter's psyche, but it will go some way towards offsetting the cost of the McDonald's breakfast with double apple pies and McFlurries that helped to ease our pain.
Nigel Ghent, Burton-Upon-Trent - 1st April 2010
Firebox says: Please Note: Firebox cannot be held responsible for the actions of a minority of delinquent swans. Nature can be brutal. It's a lesson we all must learn.