Majikthyse has challenged Boots to reconcile their lofty claims of corporate and social responsibility with their willingness to deceive their customers through the sale of quackery.
As to be expected, Boots responded in their usual way, which was to evade his sensible and honest questions. Now, it’s quite normal for companies to issue rather wishy-washy answers, when called on sensitive issues. Most of us work for a company, and anyone working with the public will know that it’s not always possible to give a direct answer. The thing is, Boots are not an ordinary company.
If a company is honest and describes their goal as being “To make oddles of money!”, it’s fair to expect that they won’t be focussing much on the ethical side. If on the other hand, a company claims “..We aim to reflect integrity and stewardship in everything we do.”, then you would expect a certain level of moral responsibility. That quote is from the Boots Corporate Social Responsibility policy. How much integrity is there in selling useless alternative medicine products?
Ultimately it’s the choice of the consumer, but should a trusted high-street chemist be selling these things alongside real medicine. In my local branch, the fake medicine sits directly opposite real medicine. As well as the usual homeopathy crap, they’re selling the infamous Silent Knight Ring – a ring that supposedly defies all known medical knowledge by curing snoring. How would we feel if Dixons, a major electrical retailer, sold DVD players that claimed to provide Dolby Stereo, yet were just providing regular stereo output?
Pay a visit to your local Boots, have a look at their alternative products, and then ask yourself if you really want to give money to company with the moral integrity of wild west snake-oil salesman?
The Guardian has recent coverage of Boot’s ongoing journey in to quack medicine: