I’m back! Sort of…(?)
Just now re-finding my way back online, gradually, after an exceptionally long period of having absolutely no access to functional electronic devices. This lengthy bout of away, hereby dubbed the “Great Technology Meltdown of 2016”, followed by the premature demise of a dear friend, fellow vegan/advocate, and colleague (of sorts) also led to a subsequent loss of desire to post anything of late since life offline has been so very overwhelming. However, I’m presently feeling a bit more motivated, at least for the moment, after having been bitten by the proverbial “writing bug” based on some recent discoveries I felt were rather important to share with fellow conscious consumers.
Enter Vedica Organics
Regarding “bugs” (a term for which I hold bitter distaste when used in reference to other sentient beings), this post is quite literally in direct relation to actual insects. Please don’t get me wrong, sharing food with other “critters” can often be deemed as par for the course when dealing with organics – and not such an enormous deal to those of us who are in the habit of thoroughly inspecting our food items prior to preparation/consumption. That having been said, I would not normally make habit to complain of insects found in organically grown products, especially since most of the things I buy come directly from farmers who avoid use of toxic chemicals in their production methods.
However, if I happen to acquire something from a company or seller online who seems dishonest in their practises/ratings/etc. when dealing with a wide range of customers, I will absolutely make every attempt to not only raise a red flag, but to wave it around for all to see. As such, we arrive here at my first attempt at blogging after a several months hiatus – a new product review on something found via Amazon.com during a time of great challenge for me as far as movement was concerned (hence the random online purchase from a stranger).
Struggling with Amazon
In relation to the aforementioned purchase, I posted a lengthy review on “Organic Chickpea Kabuli Dollar” garbanzo beans from Vedica Organics via Amazon.com several MONTHS ago – complete with photos of dead insects found within beans I had soaked in cold water and then split for inspection.
Inexplicably, my first review was removed by Amazon, claiming that my review was not about the product but rather the company itself:
As this was completely untrue, I disputed this claim upon notification of Amazon’s removal of my review and photos. I was then informed that someone must have made a mistake, and was promised by someone in Amazon’s customer service department that my review would promptly be reinstated to the product page.
Upon having recently gone to check reviews after several months and having NOT found that amongst those listed in my history (or on the page itself), I feel it relatively safe to assume that the company had it flagged for removal in some pathetic attempt to preserve their “5 star” rating. I can only imagine that others’ reviews have suffered the same fate, so have now made yet another attempt to notify other potential customers of this poor quality product via Amazon – AND the blog.
For those interested, here is my original review:
“Received a packet full of dried beans and dead insect carcasses. Usually, when dead insects are found within sealed packets, it generally means that some nesting had occurred inside the items in question (in this case, chickpeas) before having been packaged. I notified Amazon upon having received them in this condition, and they kindly refunded my money immediately.
Since they suggested that I simply discard them as trash, I decided to do a little experiment to see exactly how far the infestation went with this particular item.
As a raw food chef, I work with raw, minimally processed chickpeas all of the time. This means soaking and sprouting before use, which allows me to properly inspect each element (as opposed to pulverising into meal or dumping them into heat sources and cooking things without checking inside) before use and/or consumption.
I went through my usual process of soaking and sprouting these and, not surprisingly, the majority of these beans were indeed completely infested with little insects–quite dead inside each individual bean–and their eggs.
I opted to contact the company to let them know of my experience, and found that their “customer service” telephone number led to absolutely nowhere. After having realised this, I simply dropped a note to let them know that their beans were infested and offered to send photos.
The person from whom I received a response did not seem interested in seeing any of my images, but thanked me for letting them know of my experience.
Since I took time and effort to capture photos, I thought it best to leave some in this review for the benefit of Amazon patrons.
Now that the review has just gone live once again, I’m curious to see how long it may stand before the company attempts to have it flagged once more for removal. Sadly, I’ve actually heard of this happening fairly often on the site, and am thus inclined to avoid purchasing things from the site based on a seemingly high number of “positive” reviews. I have also seen scads of posts in the “gigs” section of Craigslist (both back home in NYC and also in various other major cities), submitted by companies who are willing to pay those who may find themselves willing (for whatever reasons) to pose as customers and leave dishonest five star reviews in exchange for a bit of cash.
Does anyone else find this incredibly off-putting as far as dealings with larger businesses and online storefronts are concerned? Have any of you experienced similar issues with Amazon? Please feel free to comment below with your own dreamtastic or nightmare experiences.
In other news…
As of this year I have reached my 26th “veganniversary” milestone, and am planning to set up some type of giveaway once able to find a bit more time to organise such. More to come in some future post related to that, and suggestions are of course most welcome in the meantime.
I shall also be in Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) to speak on behalf of UNLESS Ministries‘ LORAX Community project next month (July 2016), joined by my friends/esteemed colleagues Lauren & Ande from Lola’s Botanicals and Wake The Farm Up for a presentation on “Compassionate Sustainability for ALL” – held at VeganEarth‘s monthly vegan potluck. Please keep an eye on all of our sites and related social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.) for news as our program more fully develops.
Until then, may peace be upon you and all other sentient beings. ♡Ⓥ★