Advertising screenshot from the Green Sprouts website (with my letter below it):
Originally Published: February 28, 2017
3:53 a.m., PST
We love you.
“We” are environmentally conscious moms trying to make our children’s lives better by protecting them from environmental toxicity.
You have historically been an environmentally conscious responsible company making choices that obviously had the health and well being of American children as a core value.
“We” are also the top environmental mama bloggers in this country.
Our readers represent a huge segment of your customers.
The work we do is meant to forward the cause, to help others, to help companies like you catch mistakes and proactively take action when a mistake is found.
You made a mistake (but this wasn’t your biggest mistake), you accidentally allowed leaded paint to be applied to one of your products intended for children.
Second screenshot from the Green Sprouts website
(continue reading below the image.)
We understand this was a mistake.
We helped you find this mistake and you started taking the course of action we would have expected from a company like yours, a company we (mothers) trust… you issued a preliminary recall, you offered to replace the offending product for free, you took the product off the market (we noticed it is now listed as out of stock), you were proactive and responsible. This was terrific. You were on the path of becoming heroes.
And then you made another terrible mistake.
You contacted your lawyers.
Your lawyers then made the irresponsible and thoughtless choice of attacking some of your top advocates.
The women your lawyers attacked are also good personal friends of a huge contingent of even more of your top advocates. These “mama bloggers” actually all (mostly) know each other personally and closely follow each others work and support each other. We are connected. We love and support each other and you attacked two of our own.
We live in a litigious society unfortunately and that leaves many people afraid, and then they turn to lawyers.
Some lawyers are good, some lawyers are predatory.
Predatory lawyers – instead of helping you craft a message that would make the situation better – choose to craft a a message that actually makes your need for their services stronger (or that is intended to make your need for their services stronger.)
Who wins in this scenario? ONLY.ONE.ENTITY.WINS. The lawyers.
The answer: mamas and mama bloggers across the country implore you to fire your lawyers.
They gave you bad advice that caused you (by association) to attack the very heart of your constituency. They attacked members of the core environmental blogger society and culture. They attacked women who people listen to for advice on environmental toxicity. They attacked mama bloggers who collectively have decades of experience as environmental activists and watch dogs.
This was very bad advice.
No one was planning on suing you. [It seems based on the letters your lawyers sent to us they were trying to protect you from a potential class action law suit perhaps? Using scare tactics no less!]
A class action suit against you was not in the works prior to your attorneys attacking us.
We were only hoping to get you to change your product and fix the problem and restore our collective faith in your company.
Instead you destroyed our faith.
You destroyed the faith of the heart of your constituency, the heart of your target-market.
As I see it you have pretty much one single path here that would solidly restore faith in your target market and restore the faith of the mama bloggers who connect with them on a daily basis. Please listen carefully as, frankly, I think you will not get better advice anywhere.
It’s still early in the game, restoring faith is still possible.
Here’s the advice:
- FIRE your predatory lawyers.
- CONTINUE the course of action you were on BEFORE they got involved.
- ISSUE a full recall and take responsible proactive action… as you had apparently started to do when we first informed you of this concern.
- PUBLISH an apology to the environmental blogging community and to mothers everywhere, and in that public apology acknowledge your mistake and let us know that you fired your attorneys for their brash and irresponsible actions.
It all starts with people. Refusing to connect with people will eventually be the undoing of us all. Detachment is a pitfall of this highly computerized world we live in today. We are actually all in this together and conversations between people (real people) make a huge difference in this world.
I sent you a letter to bring your sippy cup problem to your attention and you never once responded to me directly.
You never once even tried to have a civil and positive interaction with me about the problem. Instead the first communication in response to my letter to you was (weeks later) threatening (in tone) voicemails from your lawyers followed up VERY QUICKLY by a FEDEXed threatening letter that I received on a Saturday while I was out of town helping families protect their children from being exposed to lead.
I am a mother of lead poisoned children.
Lead is a serious issue.
My sons have a combination of brain injuries, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and psychological issues from their lead exposure.
Having lead on a sippy cup is a problem, but alienating the core of your target market by not doing what is right is possibly a bigger problem.
Make it up to us, and fire your attorneys. They did you a huge disservice.
Issue a public statement that you fired them and I bet you that this course of this situation will shift. You will avert the train wreck that they instigated when they (apparently) advised you not to communicate with us directly.
In contrast, in this same time I offer you Instant Pot as an example of an alternate possibility. I alerted them of the levels of lead I found in their product (which I found the same week that I found the lead in your product) and they immediately contacted me personally and wrote me a FRIENDLY, NICE, PROACTIVE letter informing me of their intended course of action. [Please note that while there was lead in the product it was well within compliance of federal standards (in a component that does not touch the food at all) and yet they still offered to see if they could do better!] I published their letter, I shared about their generous intentions and all was good with the world. I’m looking forward to following up with them and reporting on their progress to further eliminate lead from their product.
Lesson learned: Lawyers, especially bad lawyers who are just out to line their own pockets, get in the way.
We’re all just people trying to get by and live each day in a way that leaves a better world for our children and grandchildren (hopefully) and I know we all want to do the right thing and I trust you will choose the right path in the end.
Instead of paying your lawyers a ton of money… maybe give just a fraction of what you would have spent on attorneys to a good cause aligned with your mission (here’s one possibility, and here’s another 😉. Think about it. You still have the opportunity to come out of this a hero.
If you do the right thing I promise you that this community of hundreds of environmentally conscious mama bloggers will share it far and wide, just as we have shared about your lawyers doing the wrong thing.
We have influence and we’re not afraid to use it for good.
Thanks for reading.
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
“Unexpected Lead Expert”
P.S. written at 4 a.m. and not yet edited by my darling husband. Please excuse the typos and redundancies!
Well Done Tamara !
Content was great & spot on !
(Even before edits & human spell check… from one of the worce Spellers around… ME !… lol.)
Kathy Michels says
Bravo to you! But horrifying to think children’s earting and drinking dishware is contaminated :'(
I have 4 of these straw sippy cups that I purchased in ‘22 and ‘23. Do they have lead?!