Tips N Chat Throwback #26: “Our Profession Is an Honorable One”

This week’s featured Tips N Chat Throwback post was written by Ed York in the second quarter 1977 issue of Tips N Chat. Remember to check back every Thursday for a new throwback post!

Never in the history of our industry has the need for a Code of Ethics been so apparent as NOW. The BLITZ of newspaper advertising that is appearing in the nation’s newspapers is horrible. A local firm has advertised a certain area for $19.95. He has been doing this for over a year. I don’t object to unit pricing, but I do object to the newspaper allowing the words THIS WEEK ONLY, to be included every week. In 1969 I tossed out thousands of dollars worth of sales aids that had the words OLD method over a picture of a shampooer with a large X marked on it. The flyers were reprinted without the X and the words conventional method. The shampoo method is still a very acceptable method of carpet cleaning.

Ads designed to confuse the consumer as to methods used are wrong. Our profession is an HONORABLE one. Ads designed to downgrade a competitor utilizing deceiving wording or false facts are without HONOR. Not only is the carpet cleaner wrong in using these tactics but even more so is the newspaper that sells the space with no concern as the validity of the ad. These same publishers are the ones you will find giving lip service on local consumer protection boards and naturally the good old Better Business Bureau.

The worst offenders in the industry are the Von Schrader people. A sample of one of their latest publications is a good example. This is outright FABRICATION of legitimate facts put together to create an impression that can not be substantiated. They WON the respect of the “prestigious Nationwide Consumer Testing Institute.”

They BOUGHT it. The NCTI was simply doing a job they were paid to do and the Director is highly qualified and was able to deliver what Von Schrader had to have. A copy of this ad is being forwarded to every carpet manufacturer listed in the Carpet & Rug Institute 1977 Directory, to find out if, in fact, they tested all methods and selected the Von Schroder method as the outstanding, premium, highest rated, or whatever you called it, over other forms of cleaning, such as shampoo or steam extraction.

I have three suggestions at the present time. (1) Don’t stoop to their tactics and fight them with paid ads. This only gives them free newspaper space and supports the newspaper who is also at fault and doesn’t deserve extra profits from his deeds. (2) Offer to your customer a dry foam method. I have been doing this for ten years. To date, I have found THREE occasions where it was requested and in two of the cases, it was the proper method. It is offered at about 50% of the cost of steam cleaning and 75% of the price of rotary shampoo. (3) The most important duty you can do is to write a letter to every Trade Association you belong to and urge them to join in a current attempt to obtain a Code of Ethics with the blessing of the Professional Carpet Cleaners through their Associations. We will then be able to put a stop to these highly unethical practices. Until then, keep your ads full of consumer education and awareness. Yours is an HONORABLE profession. Don’t cheapen it by joining the hucksters.

-Ed York