The Power of the Internet
The People Spoke…The Company Responded…The Case Is Closed.
The past week has been a blur of emails, phone calls and overall stress for the kid. I wanted to be 100% sure that everything was resolved before giving everyone an update.
For those of you who are just catching on, last Tuesday, after a year and a half of waiting, I decided to go public with the now infamous prize-fulfillment situation with Gibson Guitars and wrote this blog. Friday morning, I hopped on Firefox to find my inbox flooded and my screen bombarded with IMs, because the story had broken wide open on The Consumerist. Within an hour, the story was ranked #1 on Digg.com. Later that day, I checked my phone messages to find 2 voicemails and a couple of missed calls from a Gibson rep, looking to “get this situation all squared away”, because what I went through “was totally bullcrap and it shouldn’t have happened.” They even called me on a Saturday morning! I mean, damn…THAT, my friends, is the power of the internet.
I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the show of support from thousands of people from all over the world, who uniformly made enough noise to reach the top of the corporate heap. There have been countless words written on this already, youtube videos, emails, fans offering to donate their personal gear – hell, I was even contacted by news stations. I was FLOORED by the response.
Well, this past Tuesday, I had a one-on-one conversation with Gibson CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz. Now, it’s rare that a CEO of a company that size will sit down on the phone with you and talk man to man, so for that, I was very impressed with the level of commitment and cooperation they showed in order to demonstrate the level of seriousness with which they took this whole situation. Henry assured me that this was something that Gibson was truly apologetic for and made his best effort to make sure that I came away from the entire experience feeling as though I was treated fairly and received what I deserved.
The very next morning there was a FedEx envelope on my desk from Gibson.
In a nutshell, they matched the original prize value and it’s all going to my credit cards as we speak to pay for the gear I couldn’t afford. Granted, it’s all TAXABLE prize income (which is essentially 50% – thanks Uncle Sam!), but it’s definitely more than I would have gotten had I just received their gear from the get-go. I’m all about fairness and I don’t like handouts, so this is definitely the fairest possible outcome I could ask for. And that’s all I wanted to begin with. As of right now, I’m 100% happy with the outcome and I feel like the people at Gibson not only made good on their prize commitment, but went the extra mile to make up for this whole fiasco.
Henry assured me that “what happened was definitely NOT the Gibson way”, and after speaking with him, I definitely heard sincerity in his voice. Apparently, the sponsorship wasn’t cleared through the normal channels of the corporate hierarchy. So, I guess we can chalk this entire situation up to a bad apple in the bunch and the lot of miscommunication that followed.
As far as Don Pitts goes, well apparently he hasn’t been with Gibson since Nov. 2007. Henry mentioned that Don was “getting toasted” in the press and hoped that I could encourage folks to “take it easy on the guy” because apparently dude’s been getting hate mail & phone calls up the yang from random folks around the world. I’ve never been the type of person to wish malice or pain on anyone (unless they rap), and I stand by that approach still. Personally, I think the public spanking that’s already occurred is sufficient, considering this is something that will probably come up anytime someone Googles his name for a long time. That would definitely suck if I were him, so it is what it is. So, if anyone was planning on doing any wild shit, this would be a good time to put the bazooka away. Everything is settled.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to thank EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who took time out to lend your support, write letters, post blogs, make phone calls – once again, you helped settle this thing at lightning speed. This proves that once again, Blue Schoolers (and all those newbies who caught on due to this story) are the BEST fans in the entire world. THANK YOU.
PS. Plenty of new music coming your way in 2008 – starting with Baby Blue For Pink.