Miruna Codeanu

Be rational, for horse’s name sake!

In espresso on February 15, 2013 at 7:56 am

I’ve been really trying to keep away from the Romanian scandal, but failed miserably so here I am, writing on the horse meat scandal.

Firstly, I am Romanian, but you see, I am far from being attached from national values or any sort of nationalism. True, it may be a form of reactive nationalism, but it should have manifested itself earlier if it were so. I managed to avoid the horse meat scandal and the problem of Romanian immigrants in England. Having graduated a bilingual high school  I do happen to know plenty of people that happen to quite smart and ass-kicking and in the UK but on the other hand, given my background in sociology I also happen to known that there’s always a social cost to immigration and it’s not really cheap. But let us go back to horse meat. This morning, doing my routine with the business, marketing and trends magazine I bumped into in an article in Forbes Magazine :  The Romanian Horse Cart Ban That’s (Probably) Behind Europe’s Horse Meat Scandal. So I’m reading a business magazine and I’m waiting for a rational well documented opinion, right? Wrong. It was not well documented and it was not rational. It was probably lobby-ish and PR-ish. Yes, I am marketing professional, I am aware that that is what PR does, but that should be bad PR for Forbes. 

The article claimed that all the horse meat circus originates in the country’s ban for horse-drown carts from main roads in cities and towns. You see, Forbes, I am current reader and social media person to usually promote your articles but not this time. This time you got me pissed and will refrain myself from reading or reposting anything from your magazine, at least for a while. I opened the article in the first place because I was expecting an economic analysis or something of that sort, something that analyzes the profits a horse meat producer makes in comparison to beef. Let me get some things clear for you: there are still horse-drawn carts in our country.

Having a rational approach to any matter should matter beyond anything, even more when we’re talking about a business magazine. What was to be a costumer dissatisfaction scandal managed seemed to progress into an international scandal. I don’t eat meat so let’s say I’m buying some vegetable burger, a pair of shoes or some technology device, could be absolutely anything. I’m buying a product so I’m consumer. I go home with the product and i realize the product doesn’t match the description, or it has flaws or it’s broken or it’s altered. So I take the product back to the store where I bought it from, or I write to the producing company. The manufacturer will reply, apologizing, with results of their internal investigations and with a solution for my problems and troubles with the given products. It will not blame its suppliers. Why? Because I bought something that that particular company made, a product that has the logo and the identifications of a certain company, not of its supplier. So I bought beef lasagna that actually contains horse meat. I will go to the company who makes and trades that lasagna, I-as a consumer will not care and will not go to the supplier. I’m paying beef lasagna from a company and I’m not being beef meat from its supplier.

I am a picky consumer, mostly because I know how hard it is to build a reputation and how easily it can ruined and I expect the same from every company I interact with. I don’t care if it’s expensive or cheap, if a product it’s not something it claims to be, that it has a problem. In order to report that problem I go to the manufacturer. I won’t care who are its supplier because I didn’t buy anything from them and assemble it on my own, I bought something your company makes and you should assume responsibility along with profits. My dissatisfaction will translate into losing me as a client, into the bad vibe I-as a costumer- will create around my negative experience and eventually into more negative responsibility and let me tell you something: the times of bad publicity is publicity are long gone, welcome to web 2.0 and social media-customer read reviews on products before buying. If you-the manufacturer-are blaming your suppliers you are doing it wrong. If your are blaming your suppliers it means you have a problem in choosing your supplier, or maybe you should fire some people on your team.

The same I will apply to this particular scandal: I don’t care your supplier did it the wrong way, it’s the manufacturer’s problem with them, not mine with them, not British-Romanian, it is a matter of manufacturer-supplier relationships and I would have expected this perspective from a business magazine.

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  1. Not the best time to be Romanian m8, i sympathise with you, but i don ‘t completely agree. If there was deception, i.e. horse was being passed as beef, then the source of the deception / fraud must be located. If the Romanians were selling meat as horse (with no insinuation to the contrary), and the French manufacturer knew this, then obviously the French company is to blame. But if there was a covering up, along the way, or some criminal activity, then ofcourse whoever was behind the ‘crime’ should be reprimanded. http://gnstr.wordpress.com/

    • What I was trying to stress out in here is that the PR scandal should have been directed to the companies delivering goods labeled as beef in the first place. Secondly, it is hard for me to believe that the manufacturer-Lindus and other companies didn’t test the meat in their own turn. Any manufacturer should run their own test for the goods they purchase: I work in the goods-producing industry and I know that we analyse all the goods coming outside our company before they go into the manufacturing process.
      Let me put this some other way: let’s say you buy a Samsung tablet and the phone doesn’t run properly, you get it checked and you find out that the internal memory is less than 1G which is not whay you paid for, you won’t go to Foxconn who manufactured the internal memory, you blame Samsung, right? You’ll go to Samsung and you expect Samsung to assume responsibility not point out at Foxconn. The scandal should be Lindus-provider (Romanian company) not consumer-romanian product as it seams nowadays.
      As to “the best time to be Romanian” it is a private company we’re talking about as a supplier not the Romanian state as it shouldn’t be a diplomatic scandal, also I do not understand why the diplomatic staff was involved in this, the representatives of the supplying company should have been asked for explanations not that Romanian ambassador.

  2. there may have been a smear campaign, which is inevitable in such circumstances. But it doesn’t mean that western europe dislikes Romainians. No, not at all, all they are tryingto do is to get to the bottom of the matter: What happened, why did it happen, why didn’t someone do something about it earlier, etc. The concern is two-fold, at least here in the UK. Firstly, did Samsung know that foxconn was putting less than 1 Gig. Secondly, what else is Foxconn currently doing (or has done in the past) which Samsung, and its customers do not yet know. This approach is a lot more critical with food. The reason for such an approach is that if there was hidden criminal intent or fraud, how can you guarantee that harmful substances have notr somehow entered the food chain? Ok, forget the mislabellingfor now, but were the horses well looked after, did they get the vaccinatiosn they required, what other corners in their upbringing, or slaughter etc have been cut? To save money?

    • I wasn’t implying western Europe dislikes Romanians, I really don’t have that complex, I-as an individual I feel I’m much as an European as France or UK and I feel at home anywhere in Europe-minus Germany 😛 . Nonetheless in the 21st century this shouldn’t be an international diplomatic scandal involving nations:UK-Ro it should be a matter of economic relations between the two: manufacturerer and supplier.
      Ps: Foxconn was involved in many child labour scandal but I don’t recall any US-China diplomatic scandal.

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