Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haute Topic! What's on My Mind?

When it comes to travel… it’s my thing. And with that comes the opportunity to visit various destinations, properties, restaurants and spas as a guest. Generally, I’m expected to capture a story and tell others about my experience. I write a lot and often I contribute articles without compensation because I love what I do.

When I decided to pick a spot for a girlfriends brunch story idea… I decided to reach out to Concentrics and highlight one of their restaurants in Virginia Highland. So I invited a group of professional women to join me at Murphy’s on Sunday. Little did we know that what could have been a great experience was about to become a rude awakening.

When I arrived at Murphy’s half the party was there and another woman ran late because of “mommy stuff.” But never-the-less we expected a great afternoon of networking and chatting about ways to support one another’s passions and businesses. During the course of our visit there were some things that the restaurant could have done better, improved upon. But I didn’t focus on that… so I thanked Concentrics for inviting me in to sample the brunch.

To my surprise, I received an email from Concentrics accusing the group of not leaving a tip, staying too long and being late. I was not happy about it… so I called them on it. Ironically, the email didn’t mention the long wait to get our order placed, the dish coming out with a raw egg that I made clear I cannot eat or the fact that one of the girls was overcharged by $55 and called to inquire about it, but received a less than professional response from a manager.

Not only was the information wrong about arrival, tipping and length of stay without taking into account our wait, but it was the way they delivered the information. There was no courtesy call to get our side of the story and no sensitivity to an email that “plays into stereotypes about black women” because you accused us of not tipping even though it’s optional. Perhaps, I shouldn’t expect someone who isn’t a woman of color to get that… but there’s always hope.

It’s unfortunate that in 2010, we still have issues that arise out of stereotypes that cause hurt and bring insults when it could have been avoided by simply picking up the phone and talking to me or us. Now, after the fact, the head of the company wants to talk. As my followers, you tell me what we should talk about?

I appreciate the women who were not at Murphy’s, but understand that when you judge one group of black women—you judge us all. And I am so happy to have a network of girlfriends who support me… even if they were not there. We all have shared experiences that remind us of who others think we are without getting the facts straight; we understand the pain that it causes.

Therefore, until I receive a complete and sincere apology, I will not return to another Concentrics restaurant. I ask that those of you who feel the same way… share your story and refrain from patronizing businesses that stir this kind of raw emotion without putting forth an effort to make it right. Concentrics and Murphy’s have an opportunity to show us that we matter, that we are welcome to enjoy a pleasant experience and walk away with a good taste in our mouths instead of something sour.

I’m not the kind of writer who just goes along to get a meal, but rather one with conviction, courage and passion. I’m just one writer with one voice, but collectively we can make a difference.
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