4 reasons black people struggle with supporting black businesses
it's no secret that black lives aren't deemed valuable in the world we live in. as a result, mantras such as "black lives matter", "support black businesses" and "buying black" have become wildly popular amongst many, especially young, black professionals. but what happens when supporting our friends in their businesses goes wrong? what happens when shopping at black owned vendors becomes more of a hassle and less of a benefit? well, that's what i wanna talk about here; some of the struggles blacks face while trying to support black businesses. now, i'm not saying that only black people have had these experiences. but in case you didn't already know, i'm black. so, wouldn't you know it, that's the lens i'm choosing to speak from. also, let the record show that i do make it my business to support black businesses; and it's not all of them that i've had these issues with. but here's why i've found it difficult in many cases to support them consistently.
4). the payment options are janky.
how irritating is it when you walk into a restaurant or clothing store and see a handwritten sign (with misspelled words) that reads "cash only" or "15 dollar minimum for card purchase"? it's hella annoying, right? it's just like..do they even realize how much of an inconvenience (and turn off) that is to a consumer? or is it that they don't care? and don't get me started on the websites that take you to third party sites to pay for your items. you know the ones i'm talking about; where the site seems so janky you wouldn't dream of putting your credit card information on it. then you end up cancelling the whole order and pondering on the time you just wasted.
3). lack of professionalism.
with a lot of black vendors i've patronized in the past, the professionalism hasn't always been there. sure, it's cool for there to be a certain level of familiarity between myself and the vendor because after all, we are both black and that typically comes with our culture. however, sometimes the vendors can be a little too familiar. i don't need you cursing while you're processing my order nor do i need to see you in attire that is not appropriate for where you work. it's counterproductive and ultimately makes me not wanna patronize you again.
2). inconsistent pricing.
i've seen this happen all the time. one person pays one price for an item while another person can come and pay a different price. i do understand that revenue may not be as great for smaller, black owned businesses as it is for larger, more well known businesses. however, consistency is still key. the price of the item that's listed should be the price of the option. when black owned businesses allow customers to bargain with them, it makes me question the entire legitimacy of all of their pricing and then tells me that i can bargain with them too. so now, you've started this game of bluffing where i have to try and get you down to the lowest possible price. if i wanted to bluff, i'd play poker. and if i wanted to guess, i'd play goldfish. don't make me feel like i have to guess if your product is "worth it", ya know?
1). the lines are too blurred.
many times, it's hard for vendors to separate their personal relationship with people from their professional relationship with them. that's problematic for me as a consumer. in my mind, i feel as though if i'm coming to you as a consumer of your brand, our personal relationship should be kept separate from that. if i place an order with you, i'd like the same respect you'd give a customer you didn't know. don't push my orders back or give me subpar customer service because you know me personally; that's not cool and you're the one that's gonna be mad when i begin patronizing one of your competitors because they know how to treat their customers. i ain't sorry.