So you can experience some of the process– here are some snipets of my journal to give you an idea of the frustrating process trying to get a straight answer from a company about something that they clearly advertise on their website (corporate social responsibility or ethical purchasing). I have edited out names and numbers, because I don’t think this is necessarily the fault of any of the employees (and do not want them to be punished), but rather a systematic failure on the part of the company and the industry as a whole (and others!). This company and industry are not alone on this— keep reading on for more updates. If you’d like more details or specifics– please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Called 1-(800)-XXX-XXXX, redirected three times to 3 different locations. Frustrated that in the end I was finally sent to an HR hiring office instead of where I wanted to be, I hung up and called again.
This time was redirected to 1-800-XXX-XXXL. Let’s try here. No answer. Dead line.
Tried the 800-XXX-XXX again- hung up on twice in transferring after being redirected many times
Tried again- spoke to J—told to call corporate affairs 281-XXX-XXXX
First call to corporate office
20 minutes on hold
Spoke to B, told to call 1-888-XXX-XXXX for info on ethical purchasing policy
Called- spoke to S—“no idea who you would speak to”, being put through to senior case manager who could help me better.
Senior case manager- L directed me to email corporate office- told her I had already emailed corporate and received no response—would like to speak to someone directly if at all possible. Expressed my frustrations that no one can tell me about their corporate social responsibility policy and what this means. Was told she would try to find out and get back to me by phone.
Phoned back to me—asked to give my information to contact back in email. Told they will get back to me with fuller details.
No word back yet.
Called back and left message with P at last contact point.
Message received from C at the request of someone from corporate.
Told there is no direct extension to reach him at, but try calling 888-XXX-XXXP.
Called and was told it is “not available in my calling area” by an automated service machine message and followed the message to try calling 877-XXX-XXXQ.
Called and reached an automated service:
ONLY menu options- mail in rebates, to order or order status, tech support, shop and purchase new product, shopping, status update, that’s it! Tried to get through to an operator, cannot.
Picked shop and purchase new product (what choice is there)—here’s what I get:
J assures me the company uses ethical products, urges me to call 905-XXX-XXXX. It is now past 5pm, and the office is closed. I will call tomorrow.
Also said I could speak to his manger J. He forwarded me to his manager’s
mailbox. Left message. Don’t ever get a reply.
Repeat this process almost daily for six months at 10 different computer companies. No wonder people don’t bother! I should have at least one straight answer by now.
I feel like saying: How many people (and machines!) do I have to talk to just to get some more information about your products? I keep getting the exact same responses. I have read your websites. I have read your corporate social responsibility or ethics blurb quite thoroughly. It did not answer my questions. It did not tell me I can feel safe about your product. You need to know what happens in every aspect of your product line, not just the certain manufacturing or sales processes that you are a part of. You may not be able to control every aspect– but you can at the very least investigate or request them to change or change to another supplier who meets your standards. I am concerned with more than just whether you use sweatshops in your manufacturing. I want more answers about your product line. You create this product. You control this product. I don’t. You also advertise corporate social responsibility and ethical purchasing. If I can’t go to you for answers about your product line– who should I speak to? Where do I get these details– or is it all just for show? An image to project to make more money? If I do not start getting answers soon, I will take my complaints to the Competition Act, because all I see at this point is misleading advertising.
Our systems are failing us. We are forced to put our trust in others to some degree to live a socially inclusive lifestyle. Our systems complicate this trust because we are so disconnected from the world that even the companies that make our products don’t know where the products actually come from and how they were made. Why can’t they tell me more details? I understand the concept of competition, but I also understand the concept of ethics. It is unethical to me to claim corporate social responsibility or ethical purchasing policies and not even know for certain this is true. I feel like they don’t even see the issue exists, and so therefore may be participating in it without even knowing. This is not corporate responsibility.
I want this to stop.