Halfords Huddle | Bitrex - Keeping children safe

Halfords Huddle

Bitrex has a great story to tell. Bitterest substance in the world, little drops detectable in an Olympic sized swimming pool, strong enough to put an elephant off its hay. I could go on about it at length. And often do! But what we’ve learned over the years is it’s sometimes best to keep quiet and let the product do its own talking. Those of you who have been involved in the thousands of Taste Tests, the key part of Child Safety Week for years, know where I’m coming from here. Once tasted - never forgotten, or as a colleague once said - once tasted - never have to do it again. 

When Halfords, Britain’s biggest automotive product retailer, made the decision to add Bitrex to their screen wash they were keen to brief their colleagues on exactly what Bitrex was all about. Halfords are leading supporters of child safety. Every year they sell store-fulls of car seats, cycling helmets and other ways of keeping children safe. Their colleagues have to be on the cutting edge of information and advice for parents. Adding Bitrex was no exception to that rule, and so Halfords were keen to work with us to ensure their colleagues were fully briefed. We have of course, lots of material explaining the protective powers of Bitrex. But that’s not the same as learning by experience. Which is why at 464 stores across the nation, at the weekly ‘Halfords Huddle’ colleagues training, 10,325 employees sampled the taste that shocks the taste buds. Luckily alongside the leaflets, posters and tasting kits we’d slipped in 1,014 chocolate bars – the only known antidote to the taste. Yes, I know the mathematics don’t quite add up there, but they were very big chocolate bars. Jemma Billings of Halfords reckoned this was the best method of understanding the Bitrex impact, ‘Once tasted never, ever forgotten - the shock of Bitrex is something that your taste buds will remember forever. Taking part in the Bitrex Taste Test was great fun for all the colleagues involved. There were no straight faces that afternoon. We will be laughing at the pictures for some time. As a team building exercise it was hard to beat. They say that the team that grimaces together sticks together. 

But the Taste Test had a practical element too. Everyone who took part is now in a much better position to explain to customers how Bitrex protects children. We put colleagues training and development at the centre of all we do. As a customer service training exercise this was a little different from the usual, but they say experiential learning is the most effective. And sampling the bitterest substance in the world is an experience that certainly stays with you. Halfords have been including Bitrex in our screen-wash and antifreeze products for some time now and the Bitrex Taste Test was a great way to communicate to Halfords store colleagues why Bitrex is added and provide, in a positive context, a serious message about ensuring safety of our customers is at the forefront of all we do’ 

In keeping with our recent online competition for the best Bitrex grimace, we put the same challenge out to the Halfords Huddlers. Click here to see some of their best pics.

Gina Mercier

Bitrex Business Manager