ICS Magazine

Don't Overlook the Message to the Masses

May 14, 2007

Regular readers of ICS and visitors to the ICS Bulletin Board are by now quite familiar with the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval Program and the controversy surrounding it.

A March ICS feature written by CRI President Werner Braun titled “The CRI SOA Program” has drawn a number of Letters to the Editor. In observing both tone and content, it’s evident the issues surrounding the program will not be going away any time soon. But don’t let the intensity of this make you lose sight of other issues.

Everyone knows it’s impossible to be all places all the time. That said, the industry keeps a pretty good eye on various goings-on in the mainstream media when it comes to carpet and hard-surface maintenance. It seems there is a hardly an instance of false or misleading reporting that, if not directly addressed, is not brought to light for all to see on one of the industry Bulletin Boards or at an association meeting or trade show. That’s because every professional working in the industry knows that for all the hard work and effort put into the education of his or her client base, it only takes one half-baked segment on the local news to undo a year’s worth of goodwill.

Local news is bad enough; national news is something else. And it’s a national audience that tunes into the Today Show and visits its Web site. In March, Lou Manfredini, WGN radio’s “Mr. Fix-It” and Today Show regular, wrote an article titled “Floor cleaning 101” (at press time it was still available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17692069/) wherein he states, in reference to removing stains from carpet: “And did you know that most carpet stain removers actually void your warrantee(sic)? Tech™ stain remover will take out almost any stain from your carpeting, upholstery and clothing. It’s the only cleaner approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute.”

How do you think that last sentence might impact the average Today Show fan, the next time you’re called out to clean her carpet?

There will always be instances of misinformation. It’s up to everyone involved in the industry, from newbie technician to trade publication, to identify and correct that information. From those efforts, true progress will be made.