AUTHOR LA FEMINA
In the wake of the United Airlines bullying behaviours towards its customers, my sensitivity to the arrogance of Corporates went up a notch or two. For going onto a plane as a doctor and coming off as a patient as some wag said, is an appalling pre fight / flight experience. At least to our western world view which still (mistakenly) believes that we are somewhat more civilised than the other lot. Subsequently I found myself dismayed and disappointed by my interaction with Animates Kaiwharawhara Wellington which I felt issued me with an ultimatum. Buy now or no kitties for you. Now I am not one for an or else conversation – won’t have a bar of it, such that I declined to purchase the little tabby kittens. The scenario went like this.
Animates had two kittens on display which were not available for purchase given severely underweight. They were a brother and sister not quite three months old. Whilst my original intention was to adopt one kitten, given the trauma these tiny kittens had been through I did not like to separate them. Thus, I was open to taking both of them. I put my name down to be contacted once their weight had increased. A week or so passed. I was thinking about the kittens over Easter intending to visit Easter Tuesday. And lo and behold, I received a call on the Tuesday morning saying the kittens were now available for sale. Magic.
The kittens were x SPCA had been de sexed as they call it, micro chipped and vaccinated and from SPCA’s perspective good to go. However, upon Animates taking in the kittens they dropped severely in weight. Oh dear why so much medical intervention given to kitties that are poorly? Whilst I questioned to my self the wiseness of these choices I ‘accepted’ thinking that I could offer care that would help ameliorate their trauma – flower essences for starters. But it is now not to be. For upon going in to Animates at midday, cuddling the kittens briefly for the second time, I was told that they would only be held for me until days end. Quick off the mark I felt. I had a conversation around Animates culture as to this policy to no avail. End of day was all the time Animates would give me to make a decision before the kitties went on to the open market.
At issue became my personal principles and values. For this attitude towards me as a customer conflicted with my values My lived values are to engage with organisations that demonstrate fairness, honesty, and consideration. Yet these kittens were very loving – the loving that comes from neglect before they arrived at Animates and for that matter before they arrived at SPCA. I asked myself ‘was it so difficult to allow a prospective purchaser a few days grace?’ I wanted to pause and consider – conscious parenting and all that. What was the nature of these kittens given my ever so brief meetings? I was after all considering taking on a duo. Why I haven’t brought a bassinet yet and was still looking for a playpen – silk curtains and all that. Was it so difficult to say to any subsequent buyer “someone is considering purchase and we will know in a few days’ meanwhile we will take your details? ADOPTION IS A PROCESS NOT A BUSINESS DECISION. Furthermore, not everyone would be ready and willing to take on kittens that had quite ill and for that matter take two kitty cats. And there were no other expressions of interest recorded in the order book for it seems there is no such book. My joy turned to dismay.
My initial thoughts were that Animates made a bad ‘investment’ and having nurtured, fed and incurred vet costs for the kittens for a month or so wanted them off the books quick smart. But upon further consideration given this is a nationwide policy of Animates, its about business costs and turnover of stock. Yes, these kitties may come with a SPCA heritage of helping stray animals, but the reality is they have been turned into profit making items for sale. Rate of stock turn is the accounting calculation.
Such that I decided that my $400.00 is staying firmly in my purse. I won’t be pushed into
a decision – its emotional blackmail really. Cats are not inanimate objects – they are loving living beings such that ones heartstrings are easily pulled – but then Animates knows all about that. The buy quick practices are after all a coercion tactic used by many organisations. But looking at it from Animates ‘business’ perspective I would have thought a bird in the hand was worth more than two in a bush.
So you never know what challenge is going to present itself on any given day – they are tests really of your mettle. They are tests to see if you really mean what you say to yourself about upholding your personal principles. Like I have said before, adhering to ones values often results in going without. But then who would you become as a person if you continued to accept less, disregarded your values and ignored your moral compass in favour of the lowest common denominator – aka thuggish behaviours, arrogant Corporates, and in this particular case Animates attitude to its customers. The nurture versus nature debate would have us believing “that’s how it’s done around here”. Broken windows theory rises up to greet me yet again – to remind me that ‘one accepts less at your own and for that matter societies, peril’.
And yes it must be said that organisations can choose their ethos – its their business after all. Just as I the consumer can choose which companies I deal with. Fair. What came to light was the prevailing attitudes and ethics that don’t make a lot of sense.
“Don’t give me common sense give me science”
Don’t give me common sense give me science was a line in the movie Concussion. If science says so it must be ok or in this case if we can make a profit and fast – do it. There is no text book for common sense and judgement. It’s a stumbling block for management hence so many ridiculous rules and for that matter outcomes that flow from rules. And silly and punitive rules lead to disharmony. I say try common sense and the spirit of cooperacy – its more enduring.:).
Corporates you are now put on notice to review your attitudes towards your customers. Stop biting the hands that feed you. Remember that people are human beings not pawns on your chess board dispensable when they get in the way of the pursuit of profit. The United Airlines thuggish behaviours episode has changed the commercial landscape irrevocably – from my perspective. I can and I will keep my purse closed when faced with these types of these behaviours. It will stay closed until a different tune is sung. The front line staff of Animates Kaiwharawhara Wellngton are singing to the same song sheet – a song of kindness – its a natural attribute in human beings – if we let it be. Perhaps find a wiser person to write your policies – someone with a heart that is open – someone with commercial acumen and someone who knows the meaning and value of common sense.
Restrictive practices result in changes of perception particularly of those organisations that are considered to be in the ‘caring’ profession – word of mouth speaks louder than any advertising. Thus over time Animates profits may be affected by the restrictive practices in respect of their sale of kitty cats. But maybe not. Maybe other punters fall into line and do as they are told. As I said in my conversation of decline the following day “with this policy (in this instance) everyone loses out. First the kittens, then myself and then there is Animates”. No one wins. How silly is that.
Lizzards – Money thats what I want 1979
A visit in the weekend found only one little kitty cat. Has the other being sold? A new playmate was with her/him but nevertheless the little kitty cat was looking rather forlorn. Cats it seems are like people – merely pawns in the pursuit of profit.