Rizla Competition

Rizla Vending Machine

Posted on 12/06/2006 by Adam

The only other post which ever got any recognition on my old e107 website was the rizla vending machine issue. This is a cut and paste from the old site…

I frequent a forum which amongst other things, has a section dedicated to free items (or very cheap) that people have found out there on the internet. Someone there pointed me in the direction of the Rizla website, the cigarette paper people. They were running a ‘pass the parcel’ comp. You could fill out the form, with the usual details, and unwrap three layers from the parcel. On my second layer, it said ‘Congratulations, you have won… A Vending Machine’

Now this all happened a while ago (May 6th), and in many ways I had forgotten all about it. On Monday I got a card from a courier through the door. Its at this point you start the whole, ‘we only deliver between 9 and 5 weekdays’ but that’s when I work too, so how the hell can I be in the house! They won’t redirect it to work, and if i don’t get it in three days, they will return it to the sender. Luckily, there depot is close to where a colleague of mine passes once a week. So this morning he picked it up and brought it in. Cheers Paul.

Addressed to Mr Adam, this thing is a bit bigger than I expected, and a lot heavier (16kg). So in fits of girly giggles, I opened the brown paper, and bubble wrap wrapping. I was ecstatic to find a pound in the dispensing / refund slot, and promptly put it straight back in (for two packets of king sized red), so I could open one of the draws. Rather disappointingly, there is no stock inside. So if I want to bolt it on the side of my house, and sell the the public, I will have to buy some packets.


Adam and a vending machineIt was at this point, after putting the pound inside, that I realised I haven’t seen a key, to open it up. There seems to be no key what so ever. So I decided to pop in a fifty pence piece (for two packets of normal sized green) to check that shoot. Firstly, yet again, there is no stock inside, but equally, no key in the draw.

So this vending machine, so far, is a money eating machine, and nothing else. I can’t even mount it on a wall without the key!

I have been on the rizla website again, to contact someone there. I filled out the feedback form, as there doesn’t seem to be an email address. Here is what I said…

Hello. I recently won one of the prizes in the pass the parcel comp. I won a vending machine.

I have received the machine this morning, all 16 kilos of it! It’s great, thank you very much (although it’s clearly second hand), and the pound floating around the inside (which after turning the machine upside down popped out) is a lovely bonus.

I was a little upset to find out that there is no stock inside. Nothing to vend.

However, the biggest problem (and the bit I really want you to read) is that I have no key to access the inside of the machine. I can’t fill it with your stock and place it in a public place to start my new business without that key!

The only clue I have to the key number is **** written on the back of the machine in marker pen.

Please help me. The machine is nothing but a large heavy money eating box without a key. I have already lost £1.50 inside!

Myself and other colleagues are currently trying a toilet paper tube method to break in (something we found on the internet), although we’re clearly not accomplished thieves.

I do hope you can help.

Mr Adam (which oddly the vending machine was addressed too)

PS. Could you change your feedback form to 18-25 (not 24) years old. 25-34 makes me feel very old.

I got a prompt auto-reply saying…

Dear Roller

Thank you very much for your feedback. We read all the messages we receive regarding our products and website.

However, if you have feedback that requires a response please email urgent@rizla.co.uk, and we’ll endeavour to get back to you as quickly as we can.

As always, keep on rollin’,


So I immediately sent the original message again to the urgent address.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to break in as yet.

I’ll update as news comes in…

–> Update | Thursday 15 Jun : 11:17

Well after 24 hours, I’ve not had any reply from rizla+. After a few hours stuffing toilet rolls tubes in the lock, we still haven’t been able to gain access. We moved on to pliers and screwdrivers, but all that’s been achieved are a few more scratches.

I am going to start looking into phone numbers and addresses for rizla+, and try to contact them that way. So if anyone has any other contact details, or info on how to get them, please, please get in touch.

–> Update | Thursday 15 Jun : 11:23

Right. never noticed this at first, but there is a ‘About Us’ page, which contains the office address…

Rizla UK Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Ltd. Registered in England and Wales.

Registered office:

Rizla House
Seven Road
Treforest Industrial Estate
Mid Glamorgan
CF37 5SP
Company Number:
VAT Number:
GB 134081205
E-mail Address:

So now its onto 192 (or which ever 118 service) to find a phone number…

–> Update | Friday 16 Jun : 10:29

You know, this is really getting to me now. Yesterday afternoon, I tried to ring Rizla+ on a few occations. I found their number via 192.com. Every time I ring (tried once more this morning) it just rings and rings and rings.

I decided that it might be a good idea to fax them instead. So I created a fax using one of the good old Word templates (rizla_fax). But the fax returned an error, so I rang the fax number, and it does exactly the same, just rings.

I have confirmed the UK Rizla+ address by doing a whois search on rizla.co.uk.

Can anyone help me get my key??

–> Update | Friday 16 Jun : 18:37

Right, got some good news.

I got hold of the number for Imperial Tobacco, who makes rizlas. The receptionist put my through to Rizla+ marketing. I had a chat with a lady (didn’t get her name) who said she was in charge of sending out the smaller prizes, but the woman who did the ‘bigger prizes’ was in some head honcho meeting and wouldn’t be out until early afternoon. She took my details and said someone would ring me back.

I am an impatient person sometimes. It got to four o’clock and I haven’t been called. I rang IT again and have managed to get through to the lady that sent me the machine. The lovely Amanda should be ringing me back on Monday to arrange delivery of a key. Unfortunately (for her) she had left the office phone forwarding to her mobile, so I caught her at home.

She tells me that there should have been a plastic bag attached to the back of the machine which contained the key. Now it definitely wasn’t there. Although I did unpack it in a hurry, I double checked all the packaging for extras.

Amanda told me that it is in fact completely new, but its ‘retro’. This explains that the prices are a little bit cheap for today’s rizla+ prices, but less so, the scratches and the pound coin. I suppose they could employ someone to bounce it down a hill, but it seems unlikely. I also brought up the question about the lack of stock. She said unfortunately, that’s normal. When I speak to her on Monday, I am going to see if I can wangle some stock for free, as compensation. A couple of boxes can’t cost IT very much money, surely. I am after all promoting her product (I made sure I said promoting rather than advertising, but I am unsure if papers come under the cigarette advertising laws)!

She did point out that there is currently one selling on ebay. As I type it has only had one bid, but it’s a bid of £130. So all in all, I can’t complain! Its nice to see what it looks like [link=http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6289443076&indexURL=0#ebayphotohosting]inside[/link] though!

Oh, I did ask one other thing… “I was just wondering, is there a no smoking policy in your office?” She sounded slightly confused, but simply replied “Not yet”!

–> Update | Monday 19 Jun : 16:03

Ok, so far today Amanda hasn’t been in touch. I have been waiting by my phone to hear the super fury animals sing “I’ve got a mobile phone, wherever I lay my phone (that’s my home)” but it hasn’t rung all day.

Its got to four o’clock so I have rung up Amanda, but it went through to voice mail. AARRGGHH!! I left a polite message asking her to ring me back. I really thought I might get this sorted today.

–> Update | Tuesday 20 Jun : 09:31

I’ve just had a phone call from someone at Imperial Tobacco in Nottingham. I didn’t catch the ladies name, as she spoke a little fast. Anyway, she assures me that there should have been a packing slip on the side of the package. Now it wasn’t there. I have no packing slip. She asked me to check the packaging. I wish I’d thought of that! On the third time, of insisting there is nothing there, she said they have no spare keys, and will have to see if they can get one cut. She wants to speak to a manager and ring me back. As usual… more as it comes in.

–> Mega Update | Tuesday 20 Jun : 14:19

Right, things move fast in the world of Marketing. I have had two phone calls in the last hour. One from the Nottingham lady who says she has found a key, and she will place it in a jiffy bag, hopefully to be delivered to me tomorrow. I can’t wait!

I also had another phone call from the lovely Amanda (who apparently had a good weekend) to confirm that I will be contacted by someone else about the key. I said they had already, and thanks for all the help.

It was at this point I felt it necessary to mention about this little story. “I have a little website where I comment on things in the news, or in my life. The thing is, a couple of other websites have linked to me, and I’ve had a few thousand hits over the weekend” I was some what taken aback when she said “I know, and you’ve quoted me almost word for word” It seems the folk in the Imperial Tobacco offices, have raised a smile at my little adventure. It seems Amanda and her boss had a little discussion about it! Rather than threaten the lawyers on me, they thought they would like to send me a selection of papers to fill my machine up with! How fantastic is that? I’m sooo pleased.

So, I’m close, but no cigar (I’ve been waiting to say that for days now) but hopefully tomorrow, I’ll be in!

Thanks for all the comments. I will update this as soon as anything drops through my door. I’m so excited…


–> Update | Thursday 22 Jun : 09:49

Excellent news all. The post person kindly dropped a jiffy bag through my door this morning. Encased within, was a small sealed envelope, and wrapped within that, a compliments slip (signed by Liz) where I found the key. The packaging suggest they wanted to make sure I got this one!

So alls well that ends well. Thank you to Amanda and Liz at Imperial Tobacco, who have definitely gone the extra mile. I’m just waiting for my free samples to arrive now. Then my new business is up and running. I’m quite pleased I didn’t just win a rizla+ thong and sock set now!

–> Update | Saturday 24 Jun : 11:23

The postman woke me up this morning at about nine. He has a package too big for my letter box. Unfortunately, the package had royal mail tape all over it, saying ‘Found Damaged or Open, and officially resealed’. I do hope nothing has been taken.

I opened the box to find an assortment of rizlas as follows… 20 x Blue (sml), 20 x Blue (ks), 20 x Green (sml), 20 x Green (ks), 20 x Silver (sml) and 20 x Silver (ks) and a compiments slip (not signed). Excellent. So I can only assume that if the postie did steal anything, he must be a rizla red man.

So thats great, and I had just run out of post-it notes as well!

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