Contributing Correspondent: C. Dwayne West
On last Friday, my media comrades and myself had a meeting with Mariano’s hired help. The lady who actually told the alleged (lie) was present, finally, and they brought in a trouble-shooter who has a reputation of handling black folks. He was once a part of former Mayor Richard J. Daley’s team, now he’s a so-called expert at urban economic development. I will not disclose his name nor the name of the Mariano’s spokesperson, but needless to say, they came unprepared to take care of business. What they came ready to do was attempt to place (US) in the spin-cycle.
I don’t know if they accomplished their mission, but I can say that we didn’t get a solid commitment to do business at the conclusion of that overhyped gathering. It was not a meeting I was in favor of because I just wanted them to do the right thing without all the chatter. I expressed that they follow Whole Foods’ direction and admit they failed at doing business with the black press and make good, immediately.
So far, all Mariano’s has made good on are soft gestures. And from where I stand, those unconfirmed results are weak at best. Do I think they’ll finally meet our request for them to be good community partners? Yes, I do! But they wanna feel like they’re in control of the black narrative–it makes people like them feel superior. I get it. It’s been how their (type) has always conducted business with the Negro race. But not on (OUR) watch! And in no uncertain terms are we to be taken for granted!
During this meeting, what I expressed along with my colleagues is that we will not stop addressing the issue of them being not only alleged liars but horrible business partners. We came to the meeting hoping to get some solid results and compromise–not lame excuses and pushback to why they should spend money with black media. I expressed that they clearly understand the value of the black dollar and we’ll not be relegated to charity cases. They wouldn’t have invested over $30 million to build this elaborate grocery store on 39th & King Drive if they were not aware of the loot black folks hold in their bank accounts, under their mattresses and in shoe boxes. So for them to ask (US) to do a song and dance to present black people’s worth to them was totally uncalled for.
And I hit them with the morality question. They didn’t take too well to that position. But it’s true. How can companies like Mariano’s come into the black community, for instance, and not understand the importance for them to embrace (US) as legitimate business associates and not charity cases? Because this issue that’s being raised is about strictly business and people of their ilk keeping their word and not referencing their charitable donations.
There were two aldermen present. I must say that I was quite surprised but extremely happy to hear them step-up and suggest that this issue gets resolved sooner than later. Each elected operative questioned Mariano’s position or lack there-off in terms of why have they not done business with the black press when they advertise in other (non black) mediums? When in fact, black media obliged them with countless articles pre their opening and after the store welcomed black shoppers to spend.
TBTNews, The Defender, the Crusader, the Citizen, N’DIGO and WVON, collectively scripted Works of Words, highlighting Mariano’s victorious story in solving a food dessert dilemma. And today, they continue to reap huge rewards (profits) without regard to their previous commitment!
At the meeting we voiced our collective thoughts loud and clear. The only question with situations like this one is, have they taken us seriously and what do they really plan to do? Or are they just being great spin-masters attempting to avoid being good neighbors? They’ve already insulted (US) several times. Another being the usage of the old-age slogan, which they really uttered, saying that “we handed out turkeys last Thanksgiving and are quite willing to do so again.”
The black media is prepared to take Mariano’s and others to task–and continue slamming these grocers for their negligence and ignorance. Because as Ice Cube stated in Boyz in the Hood, “Either they know…. or they just don’t care!” I think it’s the latter! But they must care! Because we know the difference and are willing to stage a war with them to prove it. Until the next edition…… Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ…