Poor Service Saga Continues…
The ongoing theme in American Culture today (or maybe it’s just me) is poor service. Here’s the latest on a still pending story.
On 5/31, my kids and I picked up trash along a planned corridor as part of the Keep America Beautiful, and Keep Benton County Beautiful campaigns. We attended the conclusion ceremonies and were surprised by “winning” a door prize.
Instead of the prize, we were given a promise note:
“Congratulations! You have won the Keep Benton County Beautiful drawing! To redeem your $25 Lowe’s or Home Depot gift certificate and packet of other goodies (coupons, product and a t-shirt), please contact LaDonna Meredith by August 1st at 479-*phone number* or at keepbentoncountybeautiful@ (When prizes are redeemed, photographs will be taken for the local newspaper.)”
(Phone Number & contact info listed on their website http://keepbentoncountybeautiful.com )
So, I emailed.
Talking with a friend, she said she had had some business with LaDonna, she was very difficult to get a hold of, she doesn't return emails, in fact, she had a really hard time getting a return call from her. My friend encouraged me to call often.
So, I called & left a message. I was diligent in calling, as my friend suggested.
La Donna returned my call after a week or so. She said she had been sick with the bird flu and would put the certificate in the mail, I should have it in a few days. I waited several days. Called to let her know I hadn’t gotten it. She didn’t call back.
So I called & left a message. I was diligent in calling once a day. La Donna picked up the phone. She said she’d had surgery and would mail the certificate return receipt request. I should have in a few days. I waited a few days. So I called to let her know that it had not come. She didn’t call back.
Finally, La Donna & I spoke again. She said she had been sick with pneumonia. But that she had a stack of gift certificates and would send another out right away.
Of course, I didn’t receive anything. So I called again, regularly. My messages were, as you can imagine: nice, firm, hope you’re not sick again, hey what’s going on, why not just give me the address to pick up the prize packet, if you’re sick is there someone else handling the business, etc...
Believe me, I’m not stupid. I know when someone is ignoring me. But by this time, really it’s the principle. She issued promise notes with a deadline then refuses to fulfill her end of the deal.
So I started talking to people. I found that she’s funded by Walton Family Foundation. I called them.
I told the story about LaDonna's illnesses, mailings and the missing prizes, is there someone else to contact? They are very nice. But it’s against their policy to give out information.
Listed on the website keepbentoncountybeautiful.com is an alternate name President Bob M** & his phone number. I called. It’s disconnected.
This morning, I get a call from a company, the woman says La Donna M** is their client and she’s verifying the address. They’re checking the dead letter bin at the post office because LaDonna may not have put a return address on the envelope. I mentioned the return receipt request form that should be attached according to what LaDonna told me.
I googled and found a different company by the same name, I'm thinking this is a little game.
Out of courtesy, I called La Donna, and left a message.
‘I know you had a friend call. I did make it through the 7th grade, I know it’s a game. So you can send the prize like you said you would or I’ll just mention to anyone that might want to know that LaDonna is a liar. It’s up to you.’
What happens when a non-profit organization that receives foundation funding promises door prizes at an event and doesn’t provide them?
What happens to that money?
If the prizes were donations from Lowe’s or Home Depot, what happens when gifts for distribution are not distributed to the prize winners?
Can the prizes be used by people associated with the "cause"? Is that okay? If so, why give out prize notices at all?
Why do they let people who fail to fulfill obligations be the Director of organizations?
The actions or inactions, as the case may be, appear to be deliberate and systemic. Therefore, I don’t believe I’m the only one that has requested the prizes and not received them.
Why all this "it's in the mail" when I'll pick up the prize and the packet as it says on the flyer? I've asked, why don't they have an address to pick up the prizes, even if at this point, they don't want my smiling face for the newspaper?
Will the Foundation fund this organization next year?
Will the Director finally get it together and distribute the prizes at the last minute?
...to be continued...