2009-02-08

If You Want Something Done Right, Go To A White Person

I hear this saying often from old black people. The belief is, if you go to a black business or service, you will most likely run into problems. I will say that I have had trouble with black owned businesses in the past, but I have also had a lot of trouble with white owned businesses as well. This saying to me reeks of the mentality that blacks are automatically inferior to whites when it comes to business, intelligence, and fairness. I often hear complaints from other blacks, that they feel ripped off from black businesses as they charge more, or that the customer service is horrible, and that is why they shop at white businesses or use white services. It to me seems to be self hatred. In my personal experience in going natural, I have tended to buy from black owned businesses in regards to my hair care products. The beauty supply business is pretty much monopolized by Koreans here in America, but they tend to focus on more mainstream products and products geared towards those with relaxers. For most of my hair care products, which I tend to use products that are more natural and less processed, I tend to have to use black owned companies such as Anita Grant, Oyin Handmade, Inky Loves Nature,Curls By Sisters Smith, and others. These companies focus on a niche market, they are typically products not made in a factory, but rather on site, and they only sell online or in select small stores. You won't find these things at Wal Mart or Target. My experiences with all these companies have been positive, and they are all black owned. My only complaints have been the price with one company (at one point when I was purchasing from Anita Grant, who is based in the UK, the pound was tearing up the dollar and so even though she kept the same prices, it was costing me more) and slow shipping with Inky Loves Nature, who more than made up for it with some free samples. The customer service and products for all these companies has been great, they were able to communicate with me, and it was an overall positive experience. Now I have had problems in the past as well, but I don't attribute that to black business in general, but rather poor business skills of the individual.

Now I attribute my positive experiences with these companies to a few things. They have great products. They have great customer service. I have certain expectations of these companies. These companies are smaller than Wal Mart and Target and they can't compete with them price wise, and I know that I will pay more for these products than Suave or Herbal Essences, or some other big name brand out there in the market. I know that the shipping might be a dollar or two more than when I shop online at the big stores. They again don't have the volume to get the negotiating power of the big chain stores. I know sometimes it might take longer to get to me if I do a custom scent or order because I know they don't have the staff of a big store. I do expect to have great customer service, and so far these companies have provided that, and yes sometimes I do price shop, in this economy you have to be that way, but I know that if I support smaller businesses I am stimulating the economy and helping myself sway away from dependence on big conglomerates. So I figure it to be a win/win situation.

Now I have had problems in the past as well, but I don't attribute that to black business in general, but rather poor business skills of the individual. So why do we expect black businesses to be sub par and less than those of white businesses?