Owning and running your own business is a tough gig. I’m speaking of the hands on, make it happen and work your tail off small business owner. There are also the folks who have created a job for themselves and are seemingly entrepreneurs solely to provide something to do when it is convenient for them to do it. This message is not for them and has been covered before in a previous article.

Other than the obvious financial, logistical and staffing nightmares there is another proverbial “Sword of Damocles” that hangs over their head daily. I’m referring to the dreaded social media review posts. Somewhere in my documentation with my smartphone there must be an announcement that one of the features of this new phone is to provide the user a license to text, post and otherwise slam individuals, businesses and government entities to their hearts content without fear of causing any harm or repercussions.

Restaurants are particularly vulnerable to these onslaughts disguised as “reviews”. What starts out as someone posting that their waitress served them overcooked broccoli, crumbles 30 posts later to a story about almost being poisoned during a dinner they had way back during the Clinton administration. This courage from a keyboard can be excruciating for the owner who is trying their best but are one mistake or one apathetic employee away from a social media assault. The back and forth from posters explaining how they were wronged, is exhausting and leaves one to wonder, what is the point? This helping or Yelping, as some might say, really isn’t much more than good old session of “I’m in a bad mood and someone is going to pay”.

The most common justification I hear is that the poster is “just sayin’”, as if that excludes them from any malice their words have brought forth. Whatever happened to, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it? What if we add this to the aforementioned smartphone documentation that the license to post includes a requirement for the poster to also converse in person with the owner/manager of the business? Perhaps then, errors and mistakes could be nipped in the bud, more civil dialog can be had between patrons and management and constructive criticism will replace keyboard courage.

So it’s time to climb down from my soapbox before I get thrown off. It’s been a tough week and I just needed to vent to someone, so thank you for indulging me in my rant. All that stuff I said about people hiding behind a keyboard was meant to be constructive and my opinion only.

You know…….Just Sayin’.

Joe Casteel

2019 President, Lake County Chamber of Commerce
Owner, North Bay Merchant Services

Joe Casteel is a 20 year veteran of the Electronic Payment industry and moved his business to Lake County in 2006. A proud member of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and current President, Joe and his wife Jacie have called Lake County their home since 2001.