That trait is gossip - rumour mongering, innuendo, mud slinging and supposition.
I have heard of bike shops being slandered, their reputations torn apart because of an unhappy service experience or some unhappy customer service experience - I have even caught people naming shops and running them down. I remember one case where I asked the person involved in a quiet email to them if they had talked to the owner first before posting it on Facebook - they hadn't. So I recommended that they contact the owner, and voila, the situation was resolved - the person who had had the unhappy experience not only shared the happier outcome on Facebook but through the discussion with the shop owner helped the owner identify and employee that needed some coaching.
An owner of a shop can not fix what he/she does not know is broken.
The damage that taking a customer service complaint to Facebook or any other social network or spreading the unhappy incident throughout your friends BEFORE giving the shop owner a chance to defend or investigate the situation is HUGE. We don't - as human beings - always get things right.
We aren't always on our game when at work, we might be having a rough day or being besieged with situations of poor supply, faulty parts or employees who have a lack of education - as customers we need only look at our own job performance to realize that the person who gave you bad service is human and therefore fallible.
Before you go around spreading the sad tale of your rotten experience, I ask and encourage you to please - talk to the person who can take action - the business owner and then, and only then - if you have given them the opportunity to fix the situation and it is still not resolved - only then, if you really feel it is neccessary to, talk about the experience to prevent friends from having the same experience or simply recommend a different business without slamming the other.
Remember - the business you are dealing with is run by humans and they will not always get it right - bad mouthing someone's business can cause a loss of income that puts people out of work or causes some other form of ruination.
Case in point - Many of you will remember that back in February, I told you about an email I received - one that was sent to me by a person who thought I deserved to know what was being said about me - behind my back.
Well, I have tried everything short of going to the Canada Revenue Agency and the courts to resolve the issue, to get an apology and clear my name - all to no avail.
So, the time has come to reveal who has been attempting to destroy my reputation by spreading untrue rumours, innuendo and groundless accusations.
Since I know this person, and know that he does not have a means to compensate me for the damage done to my reputation or business, there seems to me, to be no point in going to court - I would simply be throwing good money after bad - at least that is what my lawyer tells me.
Because of the charities and non profits involved I have held off going to the CRA much to my lawyers chagrin. I do not wish to cause untold hardship on anyone, I have never been about causing pain to anyone, on the contrary I go out of my way to help whenever I can, much to my husband's chagrin.
So why have I, after months of silence on this subject decided to share with you what went on?
Yesterday, I was banned from a Facebook group over this situation and told I was not welcome to participate because I am supposed to have said nasty things about people in this group, I asked for a chance at dialogue and was promptly banned. So, I have decided to bring this situation to the fore in a public way that will allow you - the reader to make your own decisions on who I am and what kind of person I am dealing with - by presenting the FACTS as I know them to be - in this persons own words - with exact copies of the emails I am in possession of.
I received a copy of this email on February 19th 2011 that had been sent out on the 18th of February to over 1,000 people - many of whom now believe what this man said about me:
Subject: Central Alberta Memorial Ride Society
Central Alberta Memorial Ride Society
…a little history…
In the very early part of 2010, the Canadian Lonewolves took a serious interest in joining and supporting a motorcycle organization known as AIM-CAN, (Alliance for Injured Motorcyclists – CANADA). However, due to contractual constraints from the founding charter in BC, it didn’t get off the ground.
So, another “foundation” was formed known as FIRRE, (Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights and Education). Initially it struggled with the formation during the onset of riding season, but through it, we managed to form a committee to organize and execute a rally in Thorsby, to commemorate all fallen riders. The Canadian Lonewolves involved can be proud of their participation. Funds raised from this rally were directed towards a new gymnasium floor at the Thorsby Elementary School. Some of the remaining funds are still holding in an account.
Unfortunately, control wasn’t clear with the elected executive, misappropriation of funds by Belt Drive Betty and serious threats again by her, resulted in a unanimous vote to remove her as a director and member. The executive buckled and FIRRE went down in a ball of flames.
In November 2010, members of the Central Alberta area gathered in a meeting and decided to carry forward the initial desire to form a group to create events, thereby assisting local charities, but overall, to have fun.
The Central Alberta Memorial Ride Society was voted in, bylaws were adopted, funds from FIRRE were transferred to the bank account and the most recent meeting has been held in Nisku this past Sunday.
In that meeting, it was agreed upon to continue with the Thorsby Memorial Rally in August, and supporting two other events will allow the Society to generate funds for the August Rally; the May Show and Shine held in Thorsby and providing grilled food for the riders during a scheduled stop in Thorsby on the Ride for Dad in June.
In addition, a CAMRS logo was adopted and some committees were formed for the grilled food fundraiser.
This society is open to ALL riders, not just Lonewolves, however, Lonewolves show their support in a majority. Getting involved in this group is a good thing for the local charities that we vote on to support.
I encourage you all to come to the next meeting March 13 in Nisku. Bring a friend, and again, it is open to all, no matter what you ride,who you ride with or what you do.
I have just enough breath to mention a couple more items.
The Canadian Lonewolves have been recognized as a credible,trustworthy group by two organizations that are in negotiations to work with us on assisting and possibly taking over one of the following events.
The Military Family Fund Ride held in New Norway the last three years is moving to Camrose, to a larger more extensive venue, The Camrose Regional Exhibition (CRE) grounds. Gord McLean has asked for our assistance in perpetuating this very fun day of motorcycling for a great cause.
The owner of Black Jacks and Airway Motor Inn in Nisku is in the initial stages of setting up the RIDE FOR MOM, a ride similar in design to RFD, but being the only motorcycling event for Breast Cancer Awareness.
So, what I am suggesting, is that we take a look at these three events and if we can assemble teams for each of them. Helping out for a very worthy cause shouldn’t cut into the riding season with a huge impact. Help out as a volunteer in one group, enjoy every other event this season as a participant, knowing you’re doing your part.
Poet has already expressed interest in heading up the CRE event, as he lives in Camrose.
If this concept seems feasible to you, please let me know.If more information is needed, let’s talk. We can make this an amazing year for each of us individually, and can shine as a group with The Canadian Lonewolves.
So - I sent an email back to this person on February 20th:
Dear Steve "Panther" Penrod of the Canadian Lonewolves and the Central Alberta Memorial Ride Society,
I received a copy of a mass email sent by you on February 18th, 2011 where in you state:
" Unfortunately control wasn't clear with the elected executive, misappropriation of funds by Belt Drive Betty and serious threats again by her, resulted in a unanimous vote to remove her as a director and member, The executive buckled and FIRRE went down in a ball of flames." End quote.
- Can you please explain to me what you mean by misappropriation of funds?
- Can you explain which elected executive you are referring to - the National body or the chapters?
- I would also appreciate knowing who I am supposed to have threatened, what with and how.
- If that is in fact what has transpired, then who from the Former National Board of Governors authorized that transfer?
- Were these funds that were transferred National FIRRE funds, Central Alberta Chapter funds?
- Did the Foundation for Injured Riders, Rights and Education ever file it's taxes or it's year end report?
- Have any of the chapters filed their taxes or their year end reports?
- Where are the funds from FIRRE National?
- Were the sponsors of the silent auction items that were donated to the rally in Central Alberta or the Silent Auctions that were held on Facebook ever notified of the intent to transfer funds to an alternate cause? The funds from the rally would have been deemed chapter funds and the funds that were raised by the on line auctions were National's funds from my understanding.
I look forward to your response.
Here is his idea of a retraction:
In a previous email blast, I allowed myself to get a bit side tracked from what I was wanting to get out there.
I made a few statements that I now wish to retract.
I made the statement that Belt Drive Betty had misappropriated funds from FIRRE and that she had also threatened some of the executive of FIRRE. I HAVE NO PROOF of this. It was wrong of me to make this statement using this email blast as a tool to express an opinion that I have.
It was, in NO way, meant to come across as the general concensus of the Canadian Lonewolves.
The focus of the email blast was to be the rallies and rides that have asked for help.
If my previous email offended anyone. The intention of this email is to clear this up.
So - this man accuses me of threatening people and stealing money - and sends out a "retraction" that states it is his opinion that I have stolen and threatened people but that he has no proof. I have no idea if everyone who got the original email got this supposed retraction, nor do I know what else has been said or done that affects my reputation.
I was in a non voting position as the VP of MARKETING with FIRRE and could not fathom why I was being accused of such horrible things.
So after more digging, it turns out that a member of the Canadian Lonewolves named Alpine who knows that in Digby I was accepting donations for FIRRE asked how much I raised. Panther went to Bruce Ollson of Kountry Kitchen Bakery in Thorsby - and who happens to be the National treasurer for FIRRE to see if I had sent in the donations. Bruce said he had gotten nothing and hence the allegations. Did anyone come to me and ask me? NO.
Once I had the heads up as to what I was supposed to have stolen - I was able to clear up a problem I had with my books that were not balancing. I had sent a donation cheque for $244 and change to FIRRE and it had never been cashed - because of the allegations and the fact that the cheque was now stale dated, I took the money and donated it to Liane Langlois to get transcripts from the Stuart Young trial to create a defence booklet for riders fighting their tickets. Riders Rights were after all one of the mandates of FIRRE, so at least the funds went to an appropriate cause.
I sent the copy of the un cashed cheque - because I photo copy everything I do, to Bruce along with a letter stating my intentions and asking, as a sponsor and member, to find out where the funds for FIRRE went - to this date no one will return my calls or acknowledge my letter.
So, folks, there you have my sad tale - I have no more heart to fight, I feel so abused.
This is not the way I am accustomed to having "Bikers" deal with things.
I have not, until now told anyone who accused me. I have decided instead to share the emails - the concrete proof of what was done to me and by whom - behind my back.
Had it not been for someone who felt I deserved a fair shake, I might never have known what was going on.
I resent being bad mouthed to thousands before being given an opportunity to prove that I had never taken anything that did not belong to me.
I still to this day do not know WHO I am supposed to have threatened - no one will tell me the truth.
I have lost advertisers, sponsors and my reputation has been damaged - but how do you take some one to court and throw good money after bad when you have ZERO chance of being compensated?
This man is part of two non profits, both that do good work, Sundance Canine Rescue and the Central Alberta Memorial Society. He is part of a riding club, The Canadian Lonewolves. I did not feel it appropriate to hurt this man's wife who works hard to save animals, nor did I wish to have FIRRE further hurt or the Canadian Lonewolves. The SA FIRRE chapter is alive and well and doing good work. There are people within the Canadian Lonewolves that I had considered friends - but now I am banned from participating in that group or supporting their good works because of one man's Accusations and OPINION that is groundless and that he admits is groundless.
Yes, this is a sad tale and it proves yet again, what kind of damage can be done to a person, their business and their reputation when false, groundless accusations are spread.
The next time YOU have a bad experience, be it with a shop, business or person - perhaps a chat with the owner or person could resolve the misunderstanding, bad experience or misinformation and save a whole lot people grief. THINK before you speak - understand the ramifications of your words.
The true reason that I share this tale in such a public way is so that my good name and reputation can be restored in some small manner - it is also the reason why I will not fundraise for any organization ever again. I will promote and sponsor - but NEVER will I fund raise and take donations for anything unless it is through the sales of my own products and is 1000% transparent.
I believe that this kind of back biting and disturbing behaviour is why so many refuse to volunteer. It is too easy to be destroyed for your efforts.
Belt Drive Betty - former volunteer