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Look What you Made Me Do

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Andromeda had walked the length of the grocery store no less than four times before finally admitting defeat. She turned to the boy stocking the cereals and cleared her throat to garner his attention. He turned around to acknowledge her, mumbling something about how could he help her. Timid, that one, she thought to herself.

“Do you happen to know where the Shortbread Skippys are? They’ve been stocked in this spot for the last twenty five years, I can’t possibly imagine where else they would have been moved to?”

The boy fidgeted with the cereal box in his hands, looking down at it before looking back up at Andromeda, who attempted to soften her face and look more motherly. He pursed his lips a few times before speaking up.

“They, uh, haven’t been ordering them, I don’t think, Missus. Haven’t seen nary a box come in since the first o’ the month,” he stuttered out, nervous that the woman in front of him may not take too kindly to the news.

Andromeda looked at the boys’ name tag, noting the care he took in keeping it evenly placed on his shirt. A good lad.

“Timothy, would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of the person responsible for ordering the cookies? I’d like to ask them a question, if you please.”

Timothy gulped. It seemed that Earl, the man at the front of the store, had been correct. The cookie lady was going to be ‘very displeased’, indeed.

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Andromeda huffed, marching into the house, her groceries levitating in front of her. It had been a very unproductive hour of weaseling information out of the reluctant, button pressing manager of the grocery store, who claimed rather unsympathetically in a monotonous voice, “sorry, ma’am, they’re not listed on the order log anymore, can’t really do anything about it, above my pay grade,” before showing her out of his office with poor Timothy still standing there, clutching his cereal box for protection. The poor lad was trembling when she left and she had half a mind to take him home with her.

After leaving Wooly’s, Andromeda had ventured to seven other grocers she’d known to have carried them in the past and all their shelves had been emptied, with each successive manager saying a regurgitated version of what the first had!

The house was quiet. Teddy was off at school causing only Minerva knows what kind of trouble, and leaving her to stare at the last few boxes of cookies in the cupboard as she contemplated what her next move would be. Reaching forward and grabbing a box off the shelf, she popped it open and poured the wrapped sleeves of cookies onto the counter. There, on the bottom of the box was a manufacturing label, showing that a company called Coven Cookies was responsible. An idea began to form as she reached forward mindlessly and unwrapped a sleeve of cookies, popping one into her mouth. Perhaps she could inquire as to where to find the cookies.
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Dear Sir or Madame,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing today about something that has me concerned. I recently visited Wooly’s Home and Grocery in my local area and to my surprise found that they no longer stocked your Shortbread Skippys! After speaking with the manager at that establishment, I quickly traveled to other locations and stores that I had previously visited and purchased your cookies from, only to discover the same fate! All of the managers at these establishments have told me that they are unable to order your cookies through their usual channels and are unsure why. I’m very concerned, you see, as I’ve been very loyally purchasing Shortbread Skippys for the past twenty-five years. If you would be so kind, I would love a list of businesses that will still be able to carry your cookies, so that I may continue to be a loyal shopper of your brand.

Yours Truly,
Andromeda Tonks

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It had been four days since Andromeda had sent the first letter. Four days of waiting and watching each morning for a post owl to arrive. Her own owl, Aldora, had returned that same evening, and without any reply or cookies. She’d thought perhaps the manufacturer may have a backlog of similar letters to go through. After all, they were rather amazing cookies!

By the end of the following day, she’d considered looking into branching out to stores outside of her own community to see if perhaps they had some. She’d started writing more letters, these to managers at different shops, to see if perhaps they had any of the cookies or if perhaps they could order some. All of the missives had been returned in a timely manner by managers that said roughly the same thing: Unfortunately, they did not carry the Shortbread Skippys.

At the end of the third day, with a dwindling supply of cookies and still no response from the manufacturers, she began penning a second letter to them, but caution told her to hold out. Perhaps they truly did have a backlog of letters to read and respond to and a follow up could be shown as being unnecessarily rude if received by the wrong person. And so she relented, deciding that she would only send the letter the next day if no response or cookies appeared.

So it was that on the fourth day of still no response from the Shortbread Skippys, Andromeda mailed out her second letter.

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Dear Sir or Madame,

I hope that this follow up letter finds you well. I’m writing you today because I am very worried about the state of my cupboard. You see, for the past twenty-five years, I have had a shelf in my cupboard dedicated to Shortbread Skippys, and as of this moment, there are only four boxes left. I have been unable these past four days to secure any more of your Shortbread Skippys, and am very worried. I have enjoyed these cookies for my entire adult life and at present find that I am unable to sustain that joy without being able to continue stocking my cupboard. I wrote a letter a few days ago that I’m sure you’ve just not had time to get to. Running a business is, after all, a full time job. I’m assuming that you are simply inundated with missives from businesses anxiously awaiting a shipment of Shortbread Skippys and that you have simply been far too overwhelmed to be able to go through them all. I am very anxiously awaiting the return of Shortbread Skippys to shelves in stores near myself, though I would not be opposed to going somewhere more local to your place of operation if it meant securing more cookies. Could you please advise me on where that may be?
Yours Truly,
Andromeda Tonks

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It was day five and Andromeda spent the majority of it pacing the kitchen, stopping every few minutes to stare in abject horror at the two remaining boxes of Shortbread Skippys. She’d panicked and binge ate the way through a box on the third evening after writing the second letter and had quickly polished off another after sending it on the fourth day. Her stash of cookies was soon going to be depleted and she was no closer to securing her next batch. If things didn’t start looking up, she wasn’t sure what she would do. She hadn’t been this cagey since the Second Wizarding War when Ted had been on the run from snatchers. And at least then she’d had her blasted cookies! Pausing in her pacing, she exhaled before striding forward and shutting the cabinet in short, precise movements, the only thing she could control in the moment.

It wasn’t until day six that she received a response. She hadn’t touched the cookies, scared that once she opened the packages she would gobble them down. Comfort food always tends to go that way. Once she read the letter, however, she sat at the table, staring at it in dismay, half a box of cookies already gone.

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Dear Madame Tonks,

It is with our sincerest regrets that we inform you that Shortbread Skippys have been discontinued for the foreseeable future. We have found that it does not market quite as well as it did in previous years and have instead chosen to go in a different direction with our cookie adventures. While Shortbread Skippys will no longer be on the market, we invite and encourage you to try our new, Double Chocolate Deds, which we believe will have a far greater success with all markets. We have included a package for your pleasure and hope to continue to receive your business.
Best Wishes,
Coven Cookies

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While incredibly delicious, the Double Deds were not in fact equal to the Shortbread Skippys. In fact, they were incredibly sweet, and the magical charms attached to the box that offered compliments each time she grabbed another cookie was, while endearing, just another sore wound in what would have been a rather delightful treat. Her shortbread Skippys sat on the shelf tantalizing her. She wasn’t willing to give them up without a fight.

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Dear Sir or Madame,

I hope that this third letter finds you well. While your new Double Chocolate Deds were in fact delicious, they are not my Shortbread Skippys, which I am unwilling to part with. I understand that Coven Cookies is discontinuing the line and that is all well and good. I am willing to negotiate a stake in the company if it means that the cookies are brought back, even in a limited capacity, so that I may continue to enjoy the comfort desert that has seen me through many hardships in my life, including my exile from my family shortly before the First WW and subsequent loss of my child and husband in the Second WW. Perhaps you are familiar with the story of Nymphadora Tonks, the decorated fallen war hero? Your cookies were a comfort to me during the most trying times of my life and I would like to continue to enjoy that comfort while also supporting your business. Please consider having your team reach out to me. I understand that in this world money talks, and I have quite a lot to say.
Yours Truly,
Andromeda Tonks
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Andromeda had mixed feelings about including Nymphadora in her letter. It felt dirty somehow to use her deceased daughter’s name to secure cookies. She was however a Slytherin and even Nymphadora would raid the cookie cabinet anytime she came home to visit. It wouldn’t be in poor taste to purchase a share of the cookies in honor of her name. Perhaps part of the proceeds could go toward a charity fund in her name if they did in fact bring her on as an investor…… Conscience sated at the moment, Andromeda popped open a package from the last box of Shortbread Skippys. She was confident that she would soon have a larger supply of them in the near future.

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Andromeda’s confidence had been severely misplaced, as she received another letter the following morning, one that had her angrily pacing in the kitchen yet again.

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Dear Madame Tonks,

While we are deeply sorry for the loss of your daughter who we view as a war hero with the highest respect, we feel that it is not in our best interest at this time to accept any partners into the company at this point in time. We are grateful for your interest in our company and are happy that you have been a loyal fan for all this time. We are deeply touched that you chose our brand during your greatest times of need, but unfortunately we are still unable to see a market for bringing back the Shortbread Skippys. Should this ever change, rest assured, we look forward to stocking them in your area.
Best Wishes,
Coven Cookies

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After several moments of contemplation, which included ideas of arson, bribery, and murder, Andromeda came to the only conclusion that was viable.

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Dear Sir or Madame,

I look forward to our continued relationship in the future and wish you the best of luck on all your future cookie baking endeavors. It is my firm belief that Coven Cookies will far exceed anyone’s expectations that have been set thus far. I look forward to continuing my loyalty to the Coven Cookie brand in future and can’t wait to see what cookies will be released or re-released in future.
Yours Truly,
Andromeda Tonks

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Down to one last sleeve of Shortbread Skippys, Andromeda began contacting her rather endearing, feisty solicitor, who never took no for an answer in regard to what she could achieve. It was time to purchase a cookie company. She munched away on a cookie, eager to get the ball rolling as it were.

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Dear Madame Tonks,

We are ever so grateful that you understand that our company had decided to pursue a different direction with our cookies. We again offer our deepest condolences on the loss of your family and the loss of your favorite cookie. We are happy that you agree that Coven Cookies has a bright future ahead and we can’t wait to see where that takes us.
Best Wishes,
Coven Cookies

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Andromeda smiled down at the letter she had just received from Coven Cookies. The fools had no idea what they were in for now. They had their chance to bring back the Shortbread Skippys and turned her down at each successive offer. They would soon learn.

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Dear Madame Tonks,

The company that you are interested in pursuing, Coven Cookies, has actually been under a subsidiary of the Black Holding, LLC for the past ten years now after the company sought a loan from Gringotts and was denied. The subsidiary company has had it in holding and hasn’t seen fit to release it as the company has done fairly well. Black Holding, LLC actually owns a fifty-one percent share in the company and pursuant to your status as the eldest remaining Black Heir, as being reinstated by Mr. H. Potter who holds the Wizengamot seat, you are currently eligible to take an acting seat on the board if you so choose. Should you decide to do so, you will have a majority vote on the board as the only active member of Black Holding, LLC involved with the company directly.

In other words, Andi, would you like for me to have your office set up with a view of the lake or the city?

Always Yours,
Hermione Granger
Wizarding Solicitor

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It was the talk of the company when the notorious ‘Cookie Lady’ marched into the building, a nervous young man following behind her carrying a few boxes.

“Timothy, Hermione had our offices set up on the top floor, with a gorgeous view of the lake behind us. Would you be so kind as to set us up? I’d like to stroll the floor first and take in the whole view….. Oh, and do be sure that the office furniture is to your liking. If you’re to be my assistant, I’d have you comfortable and at ease when greeting our guests.”

The young boy looked up from his boxes to stare at the commanding motherly figure in front of him. Earl was right: the Cookie Lady was not to be messed with.

“Yes, Missus, uh, I’ll be sure to inspect it,” he stuttered out before carrying his boxes to the lift.

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Andromeda sat in her office, a brand new box of Shortbread Skippys open next to her with her daughter’s smiling face looking back at her, pink hair changing shades rapidly, with another few unopened boxes sitting around the office in strategic locations. It hadn’t taken long to figure out that her family holding company had already been the major backer of Coven Cookies, nor had it taken Hermione long to have her instated on the board. The cookies themselves hadn’t taken long to put back into production either, as it seemed that every major grocery outlet and dessert retailer in the country had been owling night and day about bringing back the Shortbread Skippys, and with the promotion of funding a charity in her daughter’s name, the cookies had been outperforming every other cookie on the market.

Andromeda smirked, beginning a letter to the board of directors, congratulating them on the success of the Shortbread Skippys.