Local Businesses Making it Tough to Support

by Cindy on January 7, 2015

If anyone knows me they know I am all about the local mom and pop businesses. Yes, I do shopping at Publix and Winn Dixie and even the dreaded Walmart when no one is looking, but when it comes to eating out, which I do a lot, I prefer to support local businesses. And while that sounds really good, sometimes they make it so difficult.

Take New Years Eve. I visited a local BBQ place, its nice, not cheap and I’ve eaten there twice before and had decent food. I called ahead and made reservations for 6:30 hoping to beat the rush, and I did. However, upon arriving at Papas Ranch in Odessa, Fl my experience was less than pleasant. We were seated promptly and from there, went down hill. I won’t bore you with all the details except to say we had to practically wrestle down a waiter after 20 minutes, they didn’t have the first 3 items I ordered, including RIBS and when we finally got to order food they did have, the sides all came out wrong. Did we see a manager? No. Did anyone offer to make it right for us. No. Will we go back NO

shop mom and popThen a few days later, I decide to make an online order for the Slice of Life Pizzeria in New Port Richey which I had ordered from a long time ago obviously when they were under different ownership. I placed my order to be delivered at 6;30, it came at 2;3o that afternoon. They did take it back. So, when 6L30 arrived I figured they would be bringing back some fresh food. That didn’t happen. After a half hour I called the restaurant. The girl told me they wre extremely busy and she would call the delivery guy and lo and behold about 5 minutes later the food arrive, albeit it was missing some of the order. So, one again I called the restaurant and the girl said she would have the manager call me back, that they were having several complaints like this because of the new delivery guys and that they were slammed and I could come get the food. Wait…this was delivery, if I wanted to pick it up, I wouldn’t have paid the delivery fee. And needless to say, the manager never called me back.

This is just a few of the unpleasant experiences I have had with the mom and pop places. So, my advice to those of you that complain that your community is not supporting you. How about looking at your service, your value, your products or quality of food. Just because you are a mom and pop shop does not mean you can lack in any of that, in fact, I would expect you to be better than the chains, but I can tell you that when I had a complaint with Applebees or Ruby Tuesdays, their District Managers were calling me within a week and making good on the poor service I got.

Am I a complainer, no, but I will speak up when I don’t get what I pay for or poor customer service. As a former business owner I would have wanted to know from my customers if something was lacking to make it better in order to be the best business as possible.

That seems to be the problem today. No one really cares.

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Linda January 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I totally agree with your observations. I also prefer to support small businesses, when feasible, but the problem is that sometimes the attitude of the owners is ridiculously self defeating. Take discrimination for example… Aside from racial discrimination, which happens everywhere at some point, many people in small towns simply don’t welcome ANYBODY of ANY color that wasn’t born and raised in “their” town. I encountered this in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. Despite having a military base in the parish, with an influx of people from all over creation, the locals do NOT like outsiders, and it is VERY hard to get a job there, even with qualifications, if you are not kin to Some Freakin’ Body or licking the boots of Some Freakin’ Body. This snotty attitude bleeds over into customer service as well- if you don’t look, talk or behave exactly like the locals, you WILL be looked upon with suspicion and get cold treatment during customer experiences. Business staff will give you hard looks and be less than helpful.

The business owners in that area are very elitist as well, so how you dress matters when you show up. If you’re expensively dressed, service will be a little better, but if you’re casually dressed, the attitude will be more dismissive, especially if shopping for expensive items like jewelry or vehicles. My stepfather, who isn’t a pauper by any means, is not a pretentious person- He’s got substantial savings, but doesn’t feel the need to rub anyone’s nose in it. So, when his 20 year old truck was due for replacement, he went to a dealership wearing his faded overalls and was shunned and ignored by everyone there, all of whom were more interested in soldiers (guaranteed government income=guaranteed financing/payments on time) and richly dressed civilians already driving nice cars, so he said “screw ya’ll” and went to a different dealership, where he paid the full sum in CASH for a new truck. So, uppity snobs indulging in class discrimination ended up causing a dealership to lose thousands of dollars in CASH, over the course of 10 minutes, because that’s about how long he stood around waiting for service before taking his cash elsewhere! It never occurred to the pompous sales staff that the richly dressed show offs might have “bought” their finery on credit, while the man who abstains from showboating might have a pile of cash tucked away as a result of not acquiring unnecessary crap for the sake of showboating!

It’s these unprofessional, backwards business people who cry foul when corporations with strict anti-discrimination policies (implemented to avoid getting sued, no doubt) come along and attract customers from all demographics. I knew a man who owned a menswear shop he inherited from his father- the guy had a rotten attitude towards everyone in general- didn’t like young people, didn’t like minorities, didn’t like the poor- was only selectively polite/helpful, inflated his prices and wasn’t interested in updating/expanding his inventory. He thought rich, elderly white guys seeking wingtips, and the occasional wedding time tuxedo sale or boy scout uniform, would somehow sustain his business. It did not. Young people and minorities traveled to other towns to shop, old white guys who were loyal customers eventually died, and nobody else was interested in his limited, boring inventory or curmudgeonly attitude, so he was forced to shut shop then blamed Wal-Mart for his failures.

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