It is not my desire to disrespect ‘ma bredren’.
I am perfectly aware that I am of the Negro race and I am proud to be who I am. If I ever decided to disown my roots, my fat nose, full lips, dark skin and hair that goes up with the wind and stays up, would betray me anyhow.
But I and many ‘of my kind’ who dare to admit it, have noticed a pattern with black people when it comes to business – running a business, especially if it means owing a shop of some sort – we are not very good at it.
Now of course, within every body of people there is an exception to the rule, but here in England there seems to be a lack of skill amongst my folk for being enterprising and giving good quality customer service.
Laid back and sleeping
The amount of times my mum has dashed into the newly- opened black carribbean cuisine store and stood there salivating then asked for a roti to be told, there is none because they ran out of flour. So a plate of curried goat is requested. No goat, it ran away before they could catch it. Saltfish? It’s gone off and stinks more than it does anyway. Jamaican patti? “Er, there should be some on the shelves. All gone? Oh, yes, we sold two this morning.”
I have gone into similar shops, found what I want, to be then told by the insouciant lady behind the counter that I cannot have it because she’s lost the keys to the till.
I mentioned this to an Asian friend who was wondering why all the shops in town that are run by black people have closed down within less than 6 months. “Oh, now I understand.” She said.
Tacky head should serve tacky head
And if you look at the two black hair product shops that are thriving well, they are both owned by and run by Asians who know nothing really about hair shrinkage when it gets wet, myriads of greases and oils, lace front wigs and braid pins.
That same day I asked my Asian friend if she knew of any shops in town that sold dry Methi leaves. This is the stuff that you smell on the clothes of our eastern ladies that makes you want a curry (or gag) It is not used in curries much commercially and even in takeaways it is often omitted, but if you are wanting a real tasty curry-smelly dish, this is the stuff to add. The western world refer to it as Fenugreek. It is ten times more likely to linger on the clothes than garlic, cumin, chillies or any Garam Masala mix.
I use it to add beautiful flavour to my lentil curry but because of it’s strong, distinctive aroma, it is used sparingly because it makes my house, hair & underwear reek of it after use.
Go to Blacker Road
My friend told me that there wasn’t a place in town that sells it and that I’d have to trundle back up to the ethnic area where there is plentiful supply.
However, as I was passing the ‘black shop’, I decided to walk in and ask for it anyway. To my surprise the owner said he did sell it and promptly took me to a shelf where he had 3 remaining boxes of this delicious stuff. He handed me a box and I stood there smirking, eagerly wanting to text my friend and tell her she was wrong.
I might have known
However, there was something wrong in the shop. The man was scrutinizing the two boxes on the shelves. He looked at me and said in a very nonchalant way, “Er…they are out of date though Miss.” It was May 2104. I looked at the sell by date which said in big black letters, “Exp: June 2013”.
I sighed and asked him when his next batch would be coming in. “Me Nah know.”
How do you spell a sigh?
Which leaves me wondering, how does one type a sigh on the keyboard? If I put, ‘Huh’ it sounds like I’m either asking a question or having an attitude. Does anybody know how to type a sigh?
We all have our faults and I certainly have many, but God encourages us to do all things with perfection. He wants us to take pride in our work, not for the purpose of being competitive or boastful, but just to know that we have strived to be and do our best, as it is rewarding for ourselves and makes others think, godly thoughts. I have often thought about God when some non-religious person has treated me kindly and professionally.
1Corinthians 10:31 says, “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” He himself took pleasure in the amazing things he created at the beginning of time: “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
However, I am also aware that God tells us that we should not judge others:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank of wood in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3)
Yea, it’s true. How can I make such assumptions when I’m not always enterprising myself? And even if I was the best entrepreneur, I should still have a humble heart towards those who are struggling to make ends meet, owing to poor trade skills.
I should pray for my brothers and sisters, not pull them down or mock them. It’s hard enough to keep your head above water in this world – I should ask God to help those who struggle in the area of commercial acumen and customer service, to gain understanding of how they can improve and thereby not just survive, but have a good swim around in life without the risk of drowning.