Organic Bouquet CEO Robert McLaughlin's (Non) Response to Clear Evidence of Company's Illegal Cyber-Threats
After ignoring for ten days the fact that someone claiming to represent Organic Bouquet committed the federal crime of cyberharassing and threatening me, CEO Robert McLaughlin has finally offered a strange and unconvincing response.
Again, this is a free speech issue. We're talking about a company purposefully targeting and threatening a vocally dissatisfied customer and attempting to bully her out of exercising her right to criticize the company. What is so scary about questions surrounding whether OB's PR matched its practices, or whether its current growth trajectory was sustainable? All of these questions should be fair game for a company that represents itself as "green" and "socially conscious." McLaughlin seems to have responded not because he was concerned about any illegality or how these threats were affecting a former customer, but because I blogged about him.
To put his response in context, after a terrible product and customer service experience, I had written a review of the company on Sustainlane.com. On May 13, venomous cyber-harasser Andes B. wrote in response.
My rep at Organic Bouquet sent me your pictures. In those picture [sic] I can see tulips obviously from another company and receipts from local grocery stores where you obviously bought other flowers as part of your research on flower companies. You’re a disgrace and should be reported to the appropriate credible journalist organization for breaking the code of ethics and acting in a manner that is unbecoming of an American or international journalist.
I had sent pictures of the second set of wrong and wilting flowers I received to personnel at Organic Bouquet and was amazed that someone in Columbia supposedly already had them, and was ready to comment on my reivew within hours of my having written it. I immediately sent a link to the cyber-harassing threats to Mr. McLaughlin and wrote to him:
Healthy tulips from my own yard, the roses you sent that never opened in the background, and some receipts amount to some sort of scheme to sell an article? Bizarre. Can't you fight your battles directly with facts rather than having me personally attacked?
Mr. McLaughlin ignored my message and chose not to address the fact that someone was advocating on behalf of Organic Bouquet in a felonious manner. He took no steps to assure me that the threats were empty, or would cease. Instead, the day after he was notified of the illegal online threats, he elected to use the same arguments in his rebuttal to my Better Business Bureau complaint:
Ms. Sayer is a freelance writer with a history of aggressive behavior in search of a major headline. She provided pictures not only of flowers she received from us, but in the background what appears [sic] to be flowers from other sources as well. It is my suspicion that she is doing research for a story and she has attacked us on blogs…
So at this point McLaughlin has been notified of the cyber-harassing and has received my clear denial about my order having been part of any weird scheme related to a story. He chooses not to address the fact that while I posted a truthful account of my experience with the company and raised questions about its growth model using facts gleaned from publicly available articles, someone representing OB cyber-harassed, smeared and threatened me. Rather than objecting to the attacks in any discernible form, he used my online review as evidence of my supposed scheming for the Better Business Bureau.
And today (Sunday), apparently after someone notified him about my post regarding the cyber-harassing and threats, he has finally been bothered to address the issue. He writes, in contradiction of his own Better Business Bureau filing:
I understand you had a regrettable consumer experience for which I attempted to reconcile with you..... The exchanges you had with a person online claiming to be our supplier is not condoned or requested and certainly not me in anyway. [sic].
So, again, he doesn’t condone them, but doesn’t address why he failed to inform the cyber-harassed and threatened customer of that, or why he used the cyber-harasser’s arguments himself. He doesn’t address how this commenter happened to have the pictures that I supplied to the company. He continues, strangely:
I don’t know anything about you.... what your intentions are or were..... I assumed from your original email that you received poor service for which I personally tried to help you resolve....very regrettable that we were unsuccessful in making things right for you....and your actions and back and forth posts do leave me perplexed as to your motives.
Huh? So, he has told the BBB that my ordering my Mother’s Day bouquet from OB was some sort of grand, journalistic scheme. He knows that I have a copy of his filing. Yet, he tells me today that he doesn’t “know anything about me” or “what my intentions are or were.” Despite this claim, he was certainly confident enough to make up information about me and assign motives to me in his BBB report.
Mr. McLaughlin seems very confused. I asked him to clarify these points. I’m still interested in having my questions about downsizing answered as well. Since all of this seems to have been a smokescreen to avoid answering those questions, though, I’m not holding my breath.
[Continue reading for working links.]
Again, this is a free speech issue.
To recap, on May 13, cyberstalker Andes B. wrote in response to a review I posted on Sustainlane:
Instead, the day after he was notified of the illegal online threats, he elected to use the same arguments in his rebuttal to my Better Business Bureau complaint:
And today (Sunday), apparently after someone notified him about my post regarding the cyberstalking and threats, he has finally been bothered to address the issue.