Monday, 7 April 2008

Gloria Jeans and Mercy Ministries part 3

This is part 3.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

So this is a final response to Gloria Jeans. I don't expect a response back - Jean's have already indicated that they're not going to move on this.

I was absolutely mystified by the repeated Hillsong references - while I already know the nature of their Hillsong links (their founders Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine are prominent members of this church and Saleh appears as a listed Elder on their website) it wasn't what I was complaining about.

Having said that, it wasn't beneath me to bag Hillsong in my email.

Dear Dianne,

Thank you for replying to my email.

I must admit to some confusion reading your email, and some anger as well, as it did appear to me that you cut and pasted a standard prepared statement that had minimal relevance to the email that I originally sent.

For example, you initially started by referring to Hillsong Church, which I did not refer to in my email. I should perhaps clarify that I am happy with Gloria Jean's statements up to this point regarding links, or lack thereof to Hillsong. I should further remind you that Hillsong was not the subject of my email - Mercy Ministries was.

The rest of your email appeared to be irrelevant guff, referring only obliquely to the points that I raised about your sponsorship arrangement with Mercy Ministries.

Somewhat strangely, you referred me back to the media statement made by Mercy Ministries which I will remind you, made me quite angry due to the fact that it, and I'll quote myself here, "doesn’t even contain a shred of sympathy for the women in question, nor does it suggest any action that the centre will take to ensure that such mistreatment doesn’t happen again."

Part way through this, you point out that you will only take action after due diligence has been undertaken. Dianne, organisations such as Bunnings, Rebel Sport and LG Electronics promptly cut off the organisation the next day after the allegations surfaced, and while everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence, the fact that so many organisations have terminated their sponsorship arrangements suggests that your due diligence process is either deficient, or wilfully ignorant. Indeed, the loss of corporate sponsors appears so embarrassing for Mercy Ministries that they have deleted all mention of who their sponsors are from their website.

Then for no apparent reason, you mention Hillsong Church again, once again denying links with this church.

I'm reminded of a popular misquote from William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." I don't mean to sound blunt but I don't really care what kind of (non-)relationship you have with Hillsong Church, although for some reason, Hillsong reminds me of the goings on in a Californian church called Peoples' Temple, before their leader, Rev Jim Jones packed everyone up and moved to Guyana in South America. I'm sure that you don't need me to remind you how successful that turned out to be.

If I might quote you from the end of the email:

"The religious affiliation of our management, staff, Franchise Partners, charity partners has absolutely no relevance to how we operate our company."

If this is truly the case, then you will have absolutely no problems terminating your sposorship arrangement with Mercy Ministries forthwith. I expect that this is all talk but this much is clear: the ball is firmly in your court.

I would like to add to my initial complaint that I am unhappy that you chose to respond to my initial complaint with a prepared media statement bearing minimal relevance to my listed queries.

Yours sincerely, Dikkii.

So I'm going to completely avoid Jean's for my coffee requirements. I think you'll agree that I'm fully justified.


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Nicely done sir!

Their loyalty to Mercy is beyond good business sense. My we should do a a bog against Gloria Jeans? Or a support your local coffee shop campaign

The Hulk said...

Excellent stuff Dikkii. I like the way you attack their response. Probably your harshest and best one yet. 3.5 stars from me.

Dikkii said...

Thanks Sean. Thanks Hulk.

Sean - I'm there for a support your local coffee shop campaign. Coffee has only gotten worse since the big chains got into it.

Hulk - that's rather nice of you, thanks for that. I didn't actually put any effort into this one, so I'm a bit surprised at your rating, but I'm not complaining. Although, I would have thought "Excellent stuff Dikkii." would have got me 4 stars at the least.

Greg said...

Yes, Gloria Jean's should take a hit for their unquestioning support of these dangerous fringe groups.

But, yes, you should be boycotting Gloria Jean's independently of that: their poor quality and prices are sufficient reason. I believe we have a firm duty to our fellow coffee-drinkers to raise the bar on the coffee available in the marketplace.

Here's a tip: if they measure their coffee in fractions of a litre and encourage you to "enhance" the taste of their coffee with sickly-sweet syrups - you're not in a good place.

This same logic drives me to eschew coffee branded as "fair trade". That is now a marker of "overpriced, poor quality but produced under a collectivist mode of organisation that appeals to 20-somethings volunteering for Western NGOs".

I'll take taste, price and convenience over political, economic or religious ideology, thanks very much.

Dikkii said...

Agree, Greg, although I have to admit, however shameful, that I find coffee with sugary syrup added to it a delightful treat occasionally.

Jean's had this scary monster of a concoction called the white chocolate mocha caramellate which was fantastic - go to your average local coffee shop and ask for this and you'd be booted out. Having said that, it's nice to know that your average coffee shop usually has a range of flavourings to add to your coffee these days.

I had some "fair trade" chocolate once (haven't had the coffee yet). It was both excellent quality and a reasonable price, so it is possible, although I read quite a convincing article by (I think) Christopher Hitchens who maintained that the economics of fair trade was suspect.

I took it with a grain of salt at the time because Hitchens' economics is suspect most of the time.

The Hulk said...

Lets not get carried away now Dikkii. You are not quite up to the Hulk's standard just yet.As you have now admitted that you did not put much effort into it and then go on to use part of my whinge as justification to ask for 4 stars or more I am now revoking the .5 off your rating. Back to 3 stars I'm afraid.

Dikkii said...

Do you remember those teachers at school, Hulk? The really unfair Professor Snape ones? The ones that even if you gave them the World's Greatest Assignment, they'd then take marks off you for smirking?

You remind me of them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for caring enough about those who were abused at Mercy Ministries, to write to Gloria Jeans. It was worth a try, but I doubt they will change their sponsorship arrangements or take the 'give money to Mercy Ministries' boxes away - more donations coming in means more money for higher wages (and Peter Irvine has just stepped down from executive director of Mercy Ministries to some other type of director.) Who knows what he was earning, but Nancy Alcorn's yearly earnings (she is in charge of Mercy in the USA) can be seen here.
I doubt Mercy could afford to keep their directors on staff if it wasn't for the Australian public's ignorance in giving to Mercy through the Gloria Jeans money boxes.
I wish people would wake up and see how much harm Mercy Ministries does, and how Gloria Jeans is enabling them to continue.

Dikkii said...

Thanks Anon. I only wish that people will see this and stop buying from Jean's until they fix this little matter up. A good consumer boycott can work wonders.

Anonymous said...

These things always happen for a reason. Not everything is as it seems and it is great that the lid finally blows on the Coffee Pot so to speak. Why is that because an organisation is a Giant that no one believes the victims who have given their accounts. Well all I can say is the Truth will come out in the end. It only took one sling shot from a "David" to slay "Goliath." The bigger they are the harder they fall. The Truth will come out in the end I am most positive of that. The awful thing is man has freewill and is corrupt so why should God get any rap for this one - I mean He didn't sign any Papers did He?

Anonymous said...

Further comments to my earlier one just posted: Things like this [re: Mercy Ministries and the Coffee Cup] certainly ensure that a gaping hole widens on the Bridge of Life back to God through Jesus. The Holy Spirit certainly has His work cut out on this Earth as there are some crazy teachings out there. I can only say some of the stuff that is pedalled in the name of the Lord, is not "The God that I know" - the Word of God tells us on that day men will say "but we did this in your name and that in your name" and He will reply "depart from me I never knew you." Jesus was quoted to have said that in the Gospels. If you can stomach it [because everyone believes something different and in something different] but just have a little read of Matthew 24,25 and 26 and have a look around to see if you can see in the World today if there are any similarities to events occuring already. All of these comments I say with care and to the Victims of Mercy Ministries, God believes you that is why this has come out. And don't you worry is has everything that has gone on in those places and He will deal with it. For comfort read Psalm 37 and believe it because it will come to pass in the Name of Jesus. Amen

Dikkii said...

Anon, although you appear to have not a shred of a clue as to who blame was slated to in this complaint, let me just respond by letting you know that given God's poor track record in responding to complaints made to Him directly, the onus is on us to actually do the hard work and have shonky joints like Mercy Ministries shut down.

Fortunately, it has already been done. You can thank God all you want, but I think you're being a dick if you don't give most of the credit to the media, the girls who were abused and government authorities.

I'll also point out that David and Goliath is a tale fraught with ethical issues that you clearly have not begun to comprehend - I take it that a couple of British soldiers mowing down tribes of Zulus with a Gatling gun is something that you support?