When I was pregnant, I happily signed up for my Bounty pack. I did it for the freebies, which turned out to be pretty disappointing; one fingernail’s worth of Sudocrem, six water wipes and a lot of instantly-recycled leaflets.
Even now, five years on, I am still receiving spam emails as a direct result although GDPR did get rid of a lot of them, god bless it.
However that is thankfully where my personal bad experience of Bounty ends, for I had no more contact with them after that.
By the time my babies were born, I had wised up to the whole thing.
I was warned that they would call by in the hours after I’d given birth and try to sell some amateur photos of my child to me at extortionate prices. I was told they wanted to take my details to sell on to companies who would then contact me trying to sell me everything from breast pumps to life insurance. That they might imply I needed to take their pack full of adverts in order to get child benefit forms; I obviously knew this was untrue as they are freely available online.
So when she knocked (for my local hospital has private rooms) I told the Bounty woman I wasn’t interested. I may have, in my post-c-section pain uttered the words ‘no fucking way, tell her to piss off’ to my husband who probably was a bit more polite to her face.
A few friends of mine had their new baby’s photos taken by the Bounty lady.
Some were happy to have someone to coo over their baby and thankful that they had nice pictures to cherish. Others hadn’t realised that the Bounty people weren’t hospital staff, and felt very pressured to buy keyrings and large canvases they didn’t want and felt in hindsight that the pictures were not very good.
One friend didn’t realise that her picture showed her son bringing up a big globule of milky sick until it was already hanging above her fireplace. It isn’t something a professional photographer would miss; but Bounty ladies are not professional photographers.
In fact in many instances, their behaviour is not professional at all.
Bounty sales reps have come under fire again recently and a petition has been started to remove them from maternity wards.
I am fully in support of this, as you may have gathered from the preamble. I asked over on my Facebook page what others’ experiences were of Bounty.
Here is the full thread; note that this isn’t a balanced piece because, quite frankly, I don’t have a balanced view of this subject. Mirroring my friends’ opinions, there were some positive experiences in there, but there were far too many comments along these lines:
My eldest was born six weeks premature; I had severe preeclampsia. He was born by emergency section under a general anaesthetic; it was all hideous and unexpected and I was completely and utterly traumatised. I’ll never forget the day we were supposed to go home, and they told me we couldn’t. I broke down in tears screaming on the floor…and this little woman poked her head round the curtains and all joyously said did we want some pictures of our baby. She had no tact or common sense to realise how upset I was and how not everyone is in a very happy place when they come around!
The bounty woman came into my room and then had a go at me for her not being able to do her job because my son was in the NICU! Horrible experience.
My baby was in SCBU and we were waiting to speak to a consultant. I was in tears and the bounty woman wouldn’t leave us alone. I hate them.
I experienced 3 encounters in 4 days. The first time I was being wheeled up to the ward extremely ill and with a baby fighting for her life on NICU. The Bounty lady (sat behind the nurses station) asked if I had forgotten my baby and laughed loudly at her own ‘joke’. It has to stop.
She flung open the curtain of my cubicle, with no regard for what might have been happening behind it and asked if I wanted photos. She didn’t even notice the lack of baby, who was down in NNU, poorly. I was on the maternity ward, on my bed, in tears, trying my hardest to express a few drops of milk for him.
It’s absolutely appalling. Why are new mothers treated in this way?
You wouldn’t expect a sales rep at your hospital bed if you were suffering from a broken leg, or cancer, a heart attack or, well – anything else at all.
Why is it acceptable then to target vulnerable new mothers, who may be in physical pain, awash with hormones and sleep deprivation? Who may have suffered traumatic births? Who might be bleeding and raw, naked and trying to feed their baby with tears streaming down their face? Who may have been separated from their newborn, and are consumed with worry about whether they’ll even get to take them home?
The maternity ward is, as ALL hospital wards are, an inappropriate place for sales reps.
The fact is that Bounty pay a large sum for access to new mothers. I know the NHS are under a lot of strain with staff shortages, huge government cuts and increasing medical negligence claims but to my mind this selling of direct access to patients is not the way to plug that gap.
By all means, allow them to pay for access to communal areas where parents can opt-in to their services should they wish to, although if you really want a newborn photographer, there are many many of these around with professional qualifications who would be delighted to snap your newborn and will do it a darn sight better. And give them some training into how to be a decent, tactful human being because one story like those above is one too many.
This is a collaborative post.