I’ve been reading blogs and tweets about the Mumsnet #Bounty mutiny. Their campaign to stop the bounty reps coming round the maternity wards and giving out their pack.
The crux of the rebellion is a survey by Mumsnet which suggests women feel harassed by these reps and that this commercial practise has no place in a hospital ward. According to the survey eight out of ten women don’t think it’s acceptable and 56% felt a Bounty rep invaded their space. I have read some of the supporting feedback Mumsnet received and it’s totally unacceptable and these reps were completely in the wrong
Of course if you create a campaign such as this you will hear the bad and the ugly, people who’ve had good or indifferent experiences won’t come forward that’s how it works – it’s marketing in a mask.
And I just don’t think it’s a true of all women and our experiences. I have spoken to friends, family and even people at various groups over the past couple of weeks and no one had a bad experience. Many felt indifferent towards the sales reps, hardly registering their presence and several thought it was a lovely part of the process. One of those things you expect and a bit of a rite of passage.
When I had Arthur it ended up as an emergency C-section, a little dramatic at the time but everything was fine. The next day Joan came and sat on my bed, the Bounty rep. We had a bit of a chat and she said:” Here’s you pack, there might be some stuff in there you find interesting and don’t miss out on all your freebies”. She did ask me once about photos, which I refused and then she went about her business. Cooing at babies, smiling and offering out the well-known packs. Versions of which most of us had clutched close to us since those first nervous days of pregnancy. All your notes spilling out over the free nappy and free online sign-ups and who hasn’t got the Cow and Gate cuddly toy. Even today I still get my monthly emails though telling me about Arthur and his development – makes me smile.
Yes it’s a commercial transaction and Bounty pay the hospitals but that’s not a dirty word for me. Commercial gain in an environment where budgets are being squeezed while a baby boom happily continues to grow, is understandable. I don’t find that shocking and I think it’s naïve to do so. Mismanaged, pushy reps are not acceptable but this is not, for me, reason enough to campaign for the banning of Bounty.
I absolutely agree sales reps should not hassle women at any time, particularly at such an emotional time. It’s just that this is not my experience or that of anyone I know. I whole-heartedly support Mumsnet campaigning on behalf of mothers and families but I would feel so much better about a campaign that encouraged mothers into midwifery – currently there’s a shortfall of around 5,000 in the UK. One that drew support for much needed funding for Surestart centres, supported and paid for breastfeeding counsellors to visit mothers in hospital.
#Bountymutiny, for me is a diluted campaign, one which doesn’t deal with an issue – just a sales technique.