Restaurants Are Trying Their Best Right Now. Please Don’t “Cancel” Them
Cancel culture is the act of no longer supporting a public figure or company after they have said or done something that is considered inappropriate or offensive. Sometimes the “canceling” is completely deserved like when Roseanne Barr Tweeted out some “Ambien-influenced” racist crap and was immediately fired from her own TV series or when the public turned against Kevin Spacey after Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp accused him of sexual advances when Rapp was just 14-years-old. Last week, the CEO and founder of CrossFit stepped down after making insensitive comments about the killing of George Floyd and the pandemic in a buy-one-offensive-comment, get-one-free combo meal deal. But what about when canceling something isn’t appropriate like when a restaurant customer posts a 1-star review about their dining experience because it didn’t go the way they had hoped it would? A slightly longer wait for your to-go buffalo wings isn’t reason enough to bash a business online in the hopes of discouraging others from trying out the restaurant, but in these days of new COVID-19 regulations, it’s happening way too often.
Restaurants right now are struggling, not just financially, but also in how to even run a customer-centric business while adhering to the ever-changing guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus. Restaurant owners are gingerly opening their doors for business, but some customers are practically knocking the doors down in an attempt to get back to a normal way of life and as soon as something happens they don’t approve of, they’re quick to hop onto the Internet to tell the world how “awful” it was.
Take, for example, Jennifer M. who was so disappointed with Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in Concord, CA after they reopened for dine-in service that she had to give them a one star review on Yelp.
After seeing on their website that she should call to make a reservation, she was told by the hostess that the restaurant is now first come/first serve only. Perhaps with rearranging tables, ordering more hand sanitizer and masks for their employees and generally trying to get a handle on things, the restaurant just didn’t find time to update their website. When Jennifer got there to discover a one hour wait, her first instinct was to give them a negative review, despite claiming to have supported the restaurant several times during COVID. One wonders if she ever bothered to give them a good review for all the times she was satisfied. It matters not: CANCEL THEM!
Or what about Kelly who does not recommend Lembo’s Italian Restaurant in Akron, OH because their new “policy makes absolutely no sense?”
Not only did she have to wait an extra ten minutes for her pizza to be personally delivered to her car, she also wants to know why they can’t just hand it to her at the window. “Who do you think you are protecting with this policy?” she writes in her review. Actually, they are trying to protect Kelly and their employees as well, but that probably means very little to her since this is a “non-event virus.” She will not be back. CANCEL THEM!
Finally, we have Revonda who went to a Texas Roadhouse in Louisville, KY and did not approve of how her waiter was keeping socially distant from her.
Like it or not, Revonda needs to accept that this is where we are in our country right now. Restaurant servers are trying to navigate this new normal even though what they can and cannot do changes every single day. The server wasn’t treating her as if she had “the plague,” he was treating his customer with respect. This, coupled with the fact that her steak was served well done instead of her requested medium well (a mere difference of about ten degrees) merited a one star review and she will not be going back. CANCEL THEM!
When it comes to cancel culture, we need to exercise that right carefully. If a celebrity reveals themself to be a flat out racist, by all means, cancel them immediately. If it comes out that an organization donates huge sums of money to a hate group, go for it and cancel them too. But if you go to a restaurant and the staff seems to be struggling with new health department regulations due to COVID-19, maybe just give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re trying their best. If you wait a little longer than you think you should for your food, take a second to think about the server who is just as stressed out about as you are. You don’t need to give them one star on Yelp or trash them on Facebook. Just give them some time to adjust to this new way of working and take a moment for yourself to question if they truly deserve to be canceled. Waiting twenty minutes for a pizza may be an inconvenience, but is it as bad as Roseanne Barr comparing an African-American woman to an ape? No, it isn’t. So enjoy your pizza and please step away from the keyboard.