Follow me with a metaphor…
Boy meets Girl. They enter a relationship. Boy cheats on girl. Girl finds out and dumps Boy. Girl tells all her friends about Cheater McCheatington (Boy) via facebook posts, sub-tweeting and, of course, word of mouth. Boy feels stupid and is outcasted by all the Girls.
Aftermath: Girl has a chip on her shoulder towards any Boy who reminds her of first Boy. This is unfair to the new Boy that enters Girl’s life. Meanwhile Boy matures, understands his wrongdoings and learns from his mistakes. He eventually becomes a better/wiser Man. Yet his name has been tarnished amongst the Girls so he must try twice as hard to gain their trust/respect.
In this metaphor black consumers are the “Girl” and Black-owned businesses (BOBs) are the “Boy.” We were scarred from this bad relationship (transaction) and everyone has to pay for it. All it takes (for black folks) is ONE bad experience with a Black-owned business to mess it up for every other BOB. It’s as if ALL Black-owned businesses are ‘doing the time’ for ONE business’ crime. That’s not fair, nor logical. So you have a bad experience, it happens to the best of us. It’s an isolated moment in time. It doesn’t make sense to penalize all BOBs because of another, unrelated business’s error. Don’t get me wrong, these bad experiences are not justifiable, nor should they be tolerated (we’ll get to that in another post). I’m just saying it’s irrational to take out our frustration on more –if not all- Black-owned businesses.
Treat each business as you would a first date. Come in with an open mind, expect the best and come back if you enjoyed your experience. This chip on our shoulder must be addressed in order to give Black-owned businesses a fair chance. Your business (revenue) is more important than the employee (expense) who ruined your experience causing you not to return. It’s really a human resources oversight. It’s not a personal attack on you and your needs as a consumer.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that we don't have this attitude toward "other" owned businesses. If an Asian-owned business gives you bad service, you don't boycott all Asian-owned businesses. So, why do that with your own?
Message: Give all Black-owned businesses a fair chance before you deride all of us. The part does not necessarily equal the whole.