I waited awhile on this one, both to gather my facts, and cool my head.
I don’t post things like this often, as I prefer to focus on the positive (and the food!), but at the same time I believe, as I state below, that “those who are silent, are understood to consent.”
…and I hate bullies.
To whom is may concern:
As a chef, food blogger, and cookbook author, I have been a die-hard Traeger fan for many years. I love the product (especially my Tex) and have dedicated many blog posts to the recipes I cook, and share, on it.
I wanted to write and let you know why I’m now looking at other manufacturers.
As a professional in the food industry, I spend a great deal of time on social media; marketing my work, researching and sharing new recipes, and just talking with folks about grilling and smoking.
A few years back, I was directed, by a Traeger employee, to check out the Facebook group: Traeger Grill Owners (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1118784574873328/), which I then joined.
As someone who uses social media, and especially Facebook, on a daily basis, I need to let you know that this is, by far, the worst group I’ve ever been a part of.
Over the course of my membership to that group, I have seen countless new members constantly mocked and ridiculed for asking basic grilling questions, expressing product concerns, or mentioning any other brand that they use.
Name-calling, harassment, and bullying are the norm, and the number of people banned from the group for a first “offense” (questions, concerns, etc.,) is an almost daily occurrence, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen on a Facebook group, either as a member or an admin.
The admin(s) are completely unresponsive to any requests for explanations of why posts or members are banned, or why these behaviors from specific members is tolerated, seeming to rely on a small group of “Good Ol’ Boys” to enforce or justify their decisions. Whether this is a deliberate tactic, or simply an inability to enforce rule, I don’t know, but it’s the reality.
There are, in fact, groups comprised specifically of people who have left, or been banned from, that group:
banned from traeger grill owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/677258199084763/
Traeger Grill Owners Anyone Can Join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1176907055706145/
The fact that these groups, combined, have more than 3,000 members, as opposed to just 260 in Traeger Grill Owners, should be very telling.
The fact that they are both popular, thriving groups, while focusing on the positive, reaching out and helping new and prospective owners, and just generally enjoying the product and each other, should be very telling to Traeger Grill Owners.
Yet, it is still one of the first group that is shown, on a Facebook group search for “Traeger.” Likely because of a very high join rate, and NOT based on average membership.
As a business, Traeger needs to ask itself:
If so many people have left that group to join these others, how many more, especially first time Traeger users (the core of any business’s marketing efforts) and those considering purchasing your products, have just given up on the brand, entirely.
After a lifetime as a professional chef, I have a pretty thick skin…many others, however, do not.
Nonetheless, after two years of this, I finally gave up and left the group (before being banned, myself). I only wish I had done so earlier.
This group is hurting your business, however unfairly, and pushing people away from your product. Other brands, and their users, are actually using the negative experiences of the Traeger Grill Owners page to encourage people to choose or switch to their product
And it’s working.
I don’t know if Traeger, as a company, has any control or influence over this group, but if you do, I suggest that you use it, quickly. I’m not the only one that has left this group with a bad taste for Traeger in their mouths…and I’m not the only one with a platform to share my experience.
I’m not looking for an apology, or anything else, from your company, and I have not given up on you, and I’m not writing from any vindictiveness of spirit, but truly believe that “those who are silent, are understood to consent.”
Please make sure that this message is relayed up the corporate ladder to those who need to know what’s going on.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
Perry P. Perkins
*This letter was sent to Traeger Grills, via their website (https://www.traegergrills.com/contact-us) on January 4th, 2018. Any responses will be added to this post immediately.