Gracious Gratitude
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Gracious Gratitude

Day 340

Standing up to bullies

One of the things about being a small business owner is the scourge of social media — specifically review sites/feature on sites. While it’s one way to get business and establish brand visibility, in more cases than not it’s also an opportunity for people whose own self-hatred, insecurity and misery leads them to attack. It could be someone who just didn’t get their way and they retaliate by griping. It could be someone who doesn’t like someone and they lash out personally. It could be both.

I’ve had an array of experiences and can tell you with full disclosure that there are a couple of less positive reviews for which I completely see where my part was in that person’s experience. In the cases of negative comments that were from valid, real experiences (all two of them) I learned a ton. I gained insight as to how to better run my business. I learned lessons about how to better interact with people, and in general how to be a better business owner and better person in the process.

We have quite a few reviews on various platforms, the vast majority of which are positive. There are some negative and like I said, two of the one stars are based on real, actual experiences of real, actual people. The rest? Well, several are cases of over-entitlement. People whose belief is that they can treat others badly, break rules and then complain when they don’t get their way. Oh and then there are the ones driven by misogyny and homophobia.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that on first read, they hurt … and then they piss me off. What I want to do is fire back a direct and utterly transparent screed, eviscerating them. Slicing them to the bone. I don’t. I don’t mostly because that makes me no better than they are. It lowers me to their sophomoric and pedestrian level. It also just is rude.

So where appropriate, I respond in as professional and thoughtful a manner as I can. Copping to whatever aspect of the accusation might have veracity, I then am direct about the learning. I offer the opportunity to speak directly and to address their concerns.

What’s my point? Well, my own experience has made me super sensitive to online reviews. When I have my own negative experiences with a business, I endeavor to connect with them directly to address it. Or I just don’t frequent the business any more. And when I see that there are other business owners facing attacks, I find myself feeling solidarity, and wanting to step up.

Enter Brian Howard, accomplished culinary professional, chef and owner of a stupendous new(ish) Las Vegas restaurant — Sparrow + Wolf. He’s been getting attacked viciously by … vegans. They’ve been attacking him for…well, they disagree with his menu. He accommodated (not that he even had to, by the way) and was utterly professional in how he addressed them.

Apparently that wasn’t good enough.

The attacks have gone too far — a litany of one-star reviews on line, attacks on social media, emails and the attacks have gotten personal. They’ve made threats to him and to his family. To say that this is utterly unacceptable is a colossal understatement.

So tonight I, along with several of my friends, went to this restaurant to show our solidarity and support for this wonderful restauranteur.

If you’re in Las Vegas and you haven’t been to Sparrow + Wolf yet, do yourself a favor. Do.

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:

  • Great Sunday workouts
  • That sleeping in for me still means I get up early and have a full day
  • Sunday Bliss
  • Dinner with friends
  • Laughter that ends in snorts
  • Freshly coiffed hair
  • Fresh sheets on my bed
  • The clean scent of laundry
  • Vanilla/sandelwood candles
  • My dogs
  • How Truman’s hair feels after he’s been bathed and brushed
  • That Truman looks like a magical forest creature after he’s been bathed and brushed
  • Cleaning up while listening to the Blues



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Cathy Brooks

Cathy Brooks

Raconteur and Silicon Valley expat who’s gone to the dogs … literally. Read more here