Whose Agenda is it anyway?

Normally this is where I would start off writing a somewhat witty and obscurely connected introduction to the entry you are about to read, but today is no normal day. Today is Sunday. The day of rest in many faith and late night boozing traditions. And while I am neither nursing a hangover nor attending church I am resting, resting my head that is oh so tired and weary after inadvertently wading into a, and you’ll pardon the crude expression, pissing match between an Interior Designer and Tamarian. So without belabouring the intro, pull on your Wellington’s boys (and girls) and let’s try and sort this mess out shall we?
In the beginning…
On Tuesday April 5, 2011 at 19:31 ADT The Ruggist posted a link (to another blog) on his facebook page. (Yes that is right, The Ruggist has a facebook page. You should “like” it as they say. The Ruggist on Facebook) This also automatically updates the Twitter feed of @theruggist which you can follow by clicking here! This referenced blog, as we will soon find out, contains some rather juicy tidbits of potentially libelous internet “writing”, but before we get to that, a few more details. Later that evening at about 20:30 I received a text message from someone at Tamarian stating that, and I paraphrase: “it was uncool to post the link”, though “uncool” is a direct quote. Furthermore I was asked to remove the link. I ignored the request. About thirty (30) minutes later I received another text which basically said “meh what the hell leave it up it is the information age”. From the use of the term “information age” we can now assume Al Gore is working at Tamarian, that has my mobile phone number, and is somehow qualified to judge me as cool or otherwise, but I digress. So that was that.
On the first day…
On Wednesday April 6,  2011 I was off bright and early to install a recently completed Red Spruce carpet for a show at a local art gallery. My mobile phone rang, and as I almost always do when the number isn’t in my address book, I ignored the call. Moments later: Voicemail. It was Ryan Higgins of Tamarian asking me to call him back. “What in rug hell does he want?” I thought to myself, and truthfully the only reason I promptly returned his call (normally I would wait until I was back at the studio) was that he said he was calling from the “beige, pale blue, and neutral rug company”. At least he knows how to play to my sense of humour, warped as it may be. The short and publishable summary of our call is this:
Ryan: Would you publish a rebuttal to the blog entry you linked to?
Me: If it is interesting and doesn’t turn the situation into a pissing match…
On the fifth day…
So here we are on Sunday April 10, 2011 at 09:13 ADT and I am sitting drinking a coffee at my recently moved (into an awesome sunny location) desk, basking in the afterglow of the awesome Pixies concert I attended last night, debating what to do and whether or not I find this entire subject interesting enough to write about. I’m tempted to write “And I don’t” and end the entry here and now, but fortunately and knowingly the people at Tamarian know The Ruggist has never written anything so succinct in his public writing history, and thus the post must go on!
So what was that other blog anyway?
Shannon Del Vecchio is an Interior Designer in California who writes a blog about design “inspiration, encouragement, and love”. On March 31, 2011 she posted this entry, which I encourage you to read completely for the appropriate background on this situation, but of which I will summarize for you:
1) She or rather her client wanted a rug presumably from Tamarian.
2) She wants her rug to be made without child labour.
3) She is not convinced that Tamarian’s “no child labour” certification is adequate.
4) She is convinced GoodWeave’s certification is adequate.
5) She is calling Tamarian into question for potential child labour infractions.
6) She thinks Tamarian is “greenwashing” their products.
7) She makes an empty promise to remove her post, assuming Tamarian can meet her definition of legitimate.
Now in case by some divine act Tamarian has been able to satisfy her legitimacy requirement I have taken the liberty of archiving her blog post for perpetual reference. It can be found here. Obviously this post really got Tamarian’s goat, and rightly so. In fact, it got is so much that, we will now return to Ryan Higgins’ request for me to publish a rebuttal.
Friday April 8, 2011 23:33 ADT
An email from Mr. Higgins arrived in the Gossip inbox of The Ruggist. It contains Tamarian’s official response to Ms. Del Vecchio’s blog post, as drafted by Steve Cibor. It is a lengthy (though not as lengthy as my writing) three (3) page document that makes reference to several outside links on Google Documents in which Mr. Cibor makes annotated remarks clarifying his side of the story. I will now invite you to read his response here, but before I do can I mention one thing? Never send an easily editable document (such as a word file) to a third party. Always send a PDF. At least make fraudulent editing difficult, but for the record and to clarify, I have not edited the word document I was sent.
I will now summarize Mr. Cibor’s rebuttal and position:
1) He says she misquotes or fabricates his reponses to her, and moreover has a degree of documentation to support his position.
2) He passionately defends his and Tamarian’s position, again with a degree of documentation.
3) He is using a third party verification to ensure that there is no child labor.
4) He feels he has adequately, and now more than adequately, addressed Ms. Del Vecchio’s concerns.
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for….
What does The Ruggist think?
It’s all buncombe! Plain and Simple. I was asked to wade into this presumably because of my perceived “authority” on rug industry critique, but make no mistake, The Ruggist will not play the part of the fool for anyone. I stated to Mr. Higgins that I would publish Tamarian’s rebuttal if it was interesting, addressed the issues at hand, and did not become a pissing match, and while it is most interesting and does address the issues at hand (depending on your perspective) it has indeed become a pissing match. I have chosen to publish it though in the interest of interest. It does make for a good read and a good way to avoid working on Monday.
Ms. Del Vecchio is clearly a displeased (for whatever reason) consumer, and Tamarian (or Stark whom Mr. Cibor has now outed as user of Tamarian’s private labeling service) is clearly not satisfying her, if that is indeed possible in this case. At the end of the day she is not a Tamarian (or Stark) customer in the sense that they don’t offer what she is looking for. Both parties should realize that and put this situation behind them, and not go on at length interjecting irrelevant facts into the argument.
I encourage everyone to read both Ms. Del Vecchio’s blog and Mr. Cibor’s response, annotations, and linked documents, and to draw your own conclusions. I have.
My position on child labour has been very clearly stated in the past: I support GoodWeave and feel they provide verifiable independent third party verification there is no child labour used. Why a company would choose not to go with an established NGO such as GoodWeave is beyond my ability to reason.
Furthermore, I find the timing of the appearance of “The Ruggler” on Twitter (@theruggler), and subsequent interactions which may or may not pertain to this very subject, the specific content of which I will keep confidential as asked, to be most suspect. To “The Ruggler” whomever you are (I don’t know but do have my suspicions); I for one and on the record find the anonymous posting and commenting to be most puerile. I may have written my way into never working for another rug company again, but at least my opinions are known and when people are interacting with me they know what to expect.
Oh the twisted web we weave!! (Moan!)