CHICAGO — A recent article in The Fort Myers, FL, The News-Press publicized one operator’s unscrupulous behavior. National Automatic Merchandising Association president and chief executive Richard Geerdes responded by sending a letter to the editor to set the record straight about the industry’s professionalism and integrity (see letter below).
In the June 10 News-Press column, investigative reporter Melanie Payne recounted a complaint she received from a Comfort Suites hotel disgruntled with the service it received from local Demko Vending.
Payne reported that the hotel’s general manager complained that commission payments from operator Bill Demko dwindled over the past few years and eventually stopped. She also expressed her discontent with his service, claiming a soda machine was out of order for seven months. According to the hotel manager, the operator justified this lapse by telling her the hotel was overlooked because it was one of his smaller accounts.
The manager responded by informing Demko that the hotel was ending its 15-year business relationship with his company to contract with a new operator. It then took three months for him to remove his equipment, she told the newspaper.
The Comfort Suites manager said the hotel is pleased with its new vending company, which has installed more modern machines, and in less than three months, paid a commission of more than $300.
Contending that Demko has not paid commissions for more than a year, Hardin estimates she’s owed more than $1,000. When contacted by the newspaper, Demko, unwilling to discuss the matter, said only that he admits to owing his former client $110.91.
June 11, 2008
2442 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fort Myers, 33901.
As President of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), the trade association that represents the nation’s vending industry, I am writing to share your disgust about Comfort Inn’s experience with its vending contractor as described in the story told in your paper today.
This contractor is not a part of our organization and is in no way representative of the tens of thousands of hardworking ethical professionals who are members of our organization and who operate their businesses based on the highest business and ethical standards.
In fact, our members are so committed to operating their businesses under the most stringent ethical standards possible that to be a member of NAMA they must sign a Business and Ethical Standards Code which is designed to create and promote the highest principles of honesty, integrity and responsibility in the ethical conduct of business.
The truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of hard working, dedicated professional in our industry who are all committed to offering the freshest food possible to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I suggest that any company looking for a vending contractor first verify that it is a member of NAMA. The members of our organization have always worked hard to provide a quality product at the lowest price possible for our nation’s consumers and will continue to do so in the future.
Richard M. Geerdes, NCE
President & CEO
The National Automatic Merchandising Association