11 Aug 2014
Yet another reason why it DOES matter whose products you buy…
For some people in our churches, the world has overrun their thinking. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a company who manufactures a product is moral and ethical or not. What matters is what they can get for the dollars in the budget – that’s the bottom line. We have this conversation countless times a month…
At Provision, we clearly understand and support the need for good stewardship of the resources we are given, but stewardship is a lot more than managing money and resources. We find it easy to draw some lines around whose products we buy and sell – the obvious ones we avoid doing business with are those that directly and indirectly support organizations or efforts that contradict Christian values, such as Planned Parenthood. Sometimes it is worth taking the time to assess companies on a broader basis. Even secular companies are raising their hands to ask questions about the sexism in the AV industry. For those of you who have been to a trade show for almost any industry, you may have experienced what this article in AVNetwork raises as an issue: that casual sexism hurts individuals and the AV industry as a whole.
We could not find a photo to accompany this post that didn’t exacerbate the problem. Provision has four core values, and working with integrity is one of them. This includes what we post on this blog, so as much as we like to use pictures to aid in the communication on a topic, it seems counterproductive to our goals in this particular post.
I thought it appropriate to ask my wife’s point of view on this subject. Alanna is a co-owner in the business, interacts with vendors and has been to several A/V conferences:
“My first intro to InfoComm included pole dancers showcasing Stampede AV in the eating area. While the dancing was over the top, the gawking reaction to the dancers by other men sitting in the eating area was more disturbing. I did notice some men get up and leave and even a few apologetic glances, which I appreciated. I was disappointed and annoyed that the only sitting area provided was now too uncomfortable for me to sit in. After that first experience, I now attend with very low expectations of the behavior of other attendees and know which booths to avoid. I frequently ask my husband after a conference if he had to step in and defend any women while he was there (we’ve seen some rude remarks/situations in the past). It definitely affects my judgement on which companies are professional and good to work with.
The bigger issue for me of ‘booth babes’ is how we as a company approach attending trade-shows and conferences. We take extra steps to prepare our all male staff, no one attends alone, and we frequently plan special staff dinners/events to offer other options from the ‘parties’. Our staff review the floor plan so they know exactly where they want to go, set up planned appointments with the companies we want to talk with and spend judicious time on the floor to just discover new products/companies. We have paid for wives to attend with their husbands and limit how often we attend certain shows. It is a balance of being informed and experiencing new products with not putting our staff in compromising situations. I will always spend more to make conferences easier to attend for our staff and guests and to protect them from the sexist atmosphere, but it would be better to have expos and conferences that were just selling AV products and not women.”
We’d love to hear the thoughts of our clients on the topic of vendor selection. We recommend using a criteria something like what our friends at The Faith Driven Consumer use. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/faithdrivenconsumer.
Let’s consider ethics and morality in our stewardship equations.
Soli Deo Gloria