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Words Matter!

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Had there been independent paint retailers in Central America in 300 AD their shelves would have been stocked with Maya Blue, a blend of indigo pigments, palygorskite clay and copal tree resin which was impervious to the effects of time and environment.

Custom colors were not available!

Maya Blue was commonly used by artisans making pottery or other art of the era, though crafts was not the coating's only application.

Mayans also used their private label coating to paint human sacrifices before pitching them into Sacred Cenote, a 300-meter-deep well designed for the task.

And while there’s no record of how many people the Mayan sacrificed, there's reason to believe that Mayan dealers would have made a killing from all the killing: when archaeologists dredged Sacred Cenote in 1909 they discovered the well's floor was covered with a layer of Maya Blue more than 15-feet thick!

A volume of more than 3.5 million gallons. Which at just a few mils of wet film thickness per sacrifice, adds up a lot of Mayans.

Credit for Admitting It?

THE paint brand whose logo reflects an ecological disaster continues to make news in all the wrong ways.

Already infamous for a history of unethical behavior towards employees, the country’s largest paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams was forced to admit that they have no more regard for the law than they do for their employees!

Sherwin-Williams recently agreed to pay $1,000,000 to resolve a False Claims Act allegation according to United States Attorney Jacqueline Romero, whose office led THE investigation.

With their agreement to pay Sherwin admitted that they “Participated in a scheme to defraud the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program;” though the company accepted no criminal responsibility.

Romero added that Sherwin-Williams was “knowingly complicit” with a “fraudulent scheme” in their efforts to supply the paint for the George Platt Bridge project.

Though the project required that all the coatings manufactured for the bridge's repainting be manufactured by a disadvantaged business!

Confident that the rules did not apply to them, Sherwin-Williams employees "schemed" with their co-conspirator to "cheat the government program, and the smaller or otherwise disadvantaged paint manufacturers the job was intended to support" according to US Attorney Romero.

Romero adding that Sherwin went so far as to create documents "designed to conceal their fraud.”

California Dreaming

Consumers in California are suing Sherwin-Williams, accusing the paint maker of operating a “deceptive bait-and-switch scheme” by adding an undisclosed 4% “supply chain surcharge” to all invoices rather than raising their prices in a more transparent way.

The consumers are claiming the paint maker is using THE "deception" to make their products seem less expensive, giving the brand an “unfair advantage over honest sellers.”

The case in California is similar to other cases the company faces around the country with surcharge related consumer cases currently progressing through two federal districts courts and several state court systems.

THE Price is Right

Sherwin-Williams of-course is free to add a surcharge to their invoices; many dealers I know considered similar actions during the recent period of high inflation.

What makes Sherwin's actions fraudulent the complaint alleges, is that the company fails to disclose the surcharge, instead choosing to add 4% to the bottom of every transaction.

Explaining to surcharge to anyone who noticed!

For their part Sherwin claims the company is acting ethically and that the cases should be dismissed.

Though judges don't agree!


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