So…minutes ago I was on the phone with “Mr. Wilson”, who owns several IHOP’s in the Atlanta area; one of which is the Greenbriar Mall IHOP. The conversation he and I had was upsetting on so many levels that I had to end the call to keep from cursing him. I am both appalled and grateful for his call. I am appalled by the carelessness in his tone and demeanor. I am grateful because he made plain to me the issue at hand.
My conversation with Mr. Wilson was about 20 minutes long. Unfortunately I was not expecting the call, as it has been about a week since I launched my compliant. Had I known he would call today, I would have recorded it. The conversation was a journalist wet dream, filled with disconnected, arrogant quotables that would surely bite him in the ass if heard publicly. Here are some of the things that he said:
“I don’t like the ‘facebook’ generation. I would much rather prefer the elderly patronage of that area”
“You could have the worst restaurant in the world and still make a bunch of money over there [the west end and surrounding areas] because no one else is willing to invest in it.”
“I don’t receive any complaints about that restaurant. Your complaint is the first we have had over there in months…”
“White people don’t run their businesses like that. They don’t go on social media and write letters. They address the issue right then in the store…”
When I originally posted my complaint to my Facebook page I got a bunch of “Likes” and comments from my friends who had been there and had a similar experience. Yet, these same friends have never launched a complaint about that location. Here are two of my favorites:
Here are some complaints from the Google page for that location:
The problem that I have with Mr. Wilson and the Greenbriar Mall IHOP is one that is not specific to his establishment. He is completely correct in saying that he does not receive any complaints. But there in, also, lies the problem. He doesn’t know that the service at his restaurant is shitty because no one ever gives him any feedback. Mean while, money is pouring in from that location because it’s the only one of it’s kind in that area. The only feed back he gets is the constant stream of income from what he claimed to be his highest producing location.
This is the problem nation wide in predominately black communities. We are our own worst enemy. We, as a people, do not let our voices be heard. We complain to ourselves and go on about our day. Yet, we continue to patronize the establishments that provide us with sub-par service. It’s a cycle that must be broken. We will continue to get shitty service until we speak up. The problem we face is not specific to restaurants and big businesses. It’s a problem that predominately black communities face on all sides from schools, public parks, government services and the like.
I want to show the nation that change can happen, if only you let your voice be heard, using the Greenbriar IHOP as an example. Giving your feedback is easier than it’s ever been. We don’t have to send anything by “snail mail”. We happen to live in the age of social media. Giving someone your opinion is as easy as clicking a few buttons and takes less than five minutes from the comfort of your home. Or you can use the many, readily available social media sites that we already use on a daily basis.
Personally, I love the “Historic West End” of Atlanta. I loved it before it was “Historic”, back when people were scared to drive down it’s streets. I want to see it improve. I spend my money and spread the word about any business that is willing to give our community a chance and you should too. So, I am putting my community on my back and personally taking on the challenge of spreading the word to others to give feedback to establishments in our community and all predominately black community establishments in the United States.
If you are reading this and have ever been to the Greenbriar Mall IHOP, please take the time to fill out the short survey on the IHOP website about your experience, whether it was good, bad, or indifferent.
P.S. I went to the Greenbriar IHOP facebook page and I have been blocked from commenting. Because that’s gonna stop me…
© Stephen R. Freshley and wordbending, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephen R. Freshley and Word Bending a secret but not so secret blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.