“…so this is a tragedy for us.”

Following so closely on the heels of a couple of postings about declines in company reputations, I must put forth a plea to my colleagues: let us please be careful in our language.

Over last couple of days: 94 confirmed cases of e coli in the United states due to contaminated packaged spinach; 14 gravely ill patients; one confirmed death of a 77 year old woman in Wisconsin.

Yesterday, after Natural Selection Foods did what from a distance looked to be all good things with timely recalls and warnings, a spokesperson for the company told the Associated Press and New York Times and other outlets, “What we do is produce food that we want to be healthy and safe for consumers, so this is a tragedy for us.”

A tragedy for us?

FOR US?!?!

Sorry, but I’m still shaking my head…

(Posted by Ray Jordan)

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3 Comments

Filed under Communications / PR, Reputation

3 responses to ““…so this is a tragedy for us.”

  1. Ray — The compassionate perception is what strikes me most. It’s not something that rises to the surface very often. Keep on bloggin’, baby!

  2. Michael Claes

    Methinks there can be a rush to judgment. What if “us” were replaced with “them,” as in
    “so this is a tragedy for them.”…or “those people”, or “the victims.”
    We can parse language endlessly; yes, there may have been a more artful statement, but if one accepts at face value that this company was sincerely trying to do the right thing than, yes, it is a tragedy for them…as well as for those who were harmed.
    You are three of the brightest and the best…I hope my comment is not seen as anything but in the spirit of spirited comment you have all encouraged.

  3. Ray Jordan

    Jim, Michael, thanks for your gracious comments. I must say I paused a very long time before pressing the enter button on this posting, for much of the reasoning to which Michael alludes. I expect I’d always, always favor doing right and saying it poorly over doing it any other way and saying it well.
    What I struggle with is that it is so important for companies to carefully watch their frames of reference. We exist not that we are entitled to exist, but that we may serve. Arthur Page said business “begins with public permission and exists by public approval.” Such extreme care must be taken to safeguard that permission that I ultimately did feel the mention warranted. The anecdote may indeed be more capricious than the point it was intended to convey.

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