Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Black-Owned Don't Mean Nothing to Me
I had to comment on this, because a Facebook friend asked a question on his status about why it’s not racist to put black-owned on your business but it would be to put white-owned on your business. I’m not really in trying to figure out the philosophy about why one is okay while the other would have people foaming at the mouth. Life is full of double-standards, so what. But I did want to touch on why anyone would put black-owned on their business in the first place. Is this something that blossomed out the L.A. riots of 1992, you know those started on my birthday, if it is it’s just ridiculous. Putting black-owned on your business is not a reason for me to step into it and start spending my hard-earned money, is it? I think not.
As black people I think we’re sometimes brainwashed or just plain stupid, we give our allegiance to things with absolutely no thought to exactly why we’re so willingly handing over our allegiance. I work really hard for my money as most of us do and because I work hard for my money, I try to spend it wisely. In this economy that’s the smart thing to do but really that’s the smart thing to do even when things are booming.
I certainly don’t mean that I only frequent businesses where the owners aren’t black that would be ridiculous. I say I frequent businesses where the owners appreciate my business, are professional, the service is good, and the prices are in line with that service. Personally, I’d pay more for good service it’s worth it.
I’m going to share a story with you about why I stopped going to my black stylist (a salon owner) and started going to a white stylist. Which will shed some light on why being a black-owned business is just not enough for me to be your customer. I’d been going to my black stylist for awhile, she did my hair great but there always something missing, I almost felt like I was going to her out of desperation. She was reasonable in cost, a little cheaper than the person I go to now but really that didn’t make a difference when it came to service and professionalism. I would walk in for an appointment, that she never called to remind me I had and would sit for 30 minutes sometimes before another stylist would say, ‘mmm [insert her name], I think your 12:00 is here’ nodding their head towards me. She was never on time and I am stickler about being timely, my time is valuable, everyone’s is and it just irks me when people are late especially when it happens repeatedly. I find it insulting. I shouldn’t have to remind you or hunt you down for you to realize you have an appointment with me; she didn’t even have spot for me to check-in. She was at least late 30 minutes to an hour and half all the time, usually because she was trying to do three or four clients hair at once. I’d spend 2 hours under a dryer because she was trying to shuffle all her clients, start one head, while finishing up another. When I sat in her chair there was always just a ton of people hanging out there, talking, gossiping, and commenting it was just weird. They weren’t getting their hair done, they were just hanging out. People with their kids running around and everyone eating full on lunches will doing your hair. I had just had enough, I couldn’t take it. I found my new stylist and it was total difference, reminders of appointments, professionalism, on time, she was never with more than one client at once so I was her focus during my appointment time, clean, no kids running around, no one eating their lunch while they did my hair, and there were not people hanging out at her station while my services were being done. Yes, she cost more but I was happy to give my money to something worth it.
I am not a person that believes I owe allegiance to the black community and all it entails. I owe allegiance to me, now if any business whether it be black or white-owned wants my business they have to earn it. If I stepped into a white-owned business and got crappy service, and believe me I have and they didn’t get my money either, I’d be out the door. Really I’m not the kind of customer that goes into hysterics about being treated badly or folks being unprofessional, all I do is take my money and business and go elsewhere. The only thing that happens with me is that you never see me again and you never know why. What this means is I don’t actively look for black-owned businesses and I don’t actively shun them. It means that anyone that wants my dollars has to do a good job and many black-owned businesses do that, they are competitive and good businesses. I have a business and I don’t expect blind loyalty to me because we just happen to share the same racial background. I have to earn people’s business, which means I have to do all the things that make that happen. Putting a black-owned sign on the outside of your storefront is not going to make me want to go in. I wish some black-owned businesses would do the actual hard work of making their business professional, competitive, and providing great service that would get them business from anyone, including me.