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Jeff Williams
June 21, 2021 | Jeff Williams

Oh the Joys of Business Ownership!

You would think that after starting a small business (and all that entails) and surviving a once-in-a-generation (we hope) world-wide pandemic that few things could contine to surprise and challenge...well, you'd be wrong!

As many of you know, businesses today are blessed (and cursed) by the proliferation of webites and apps that allow customers to rate their experiences at your operation. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred I don't concern myself as I am confident that our patrons receive great customer service and are served superior products. Regardless of the rating I personally respond to each and every review.  Of course it's natural to be thankful and humbled by five-star reviews and difficult to read anything negative that may be posted.

A review of the negative persuasion was recently offered via Yelp by a gentleman who felt mistreated as he was informed that our restrooms are reserved for our customers.  This gentleman pulled up out front, perpendicular to our existing parking, walked right past our two posted (and very obvious) signs stating "No Public Restrooms, No Exceptions" and asked to use our faciities. When informed they were for customers-only he offered to purchase a bottle of wine.  At that point, I relented and he did is business.  Upon leaving he asked to purchase a bottle of water (seemingly thankful for the use of the facilities).  It was, of course, at that time that our POS system decided to freeze up, requiring that I re-login. He had no cash so I told him to "just forget it" but a kind customer at the bar paid his $2.00 tab and off he went. (I subsequently and politely refused the kind $2.00 offer).  Of course, his recall of the events varied considerably and this goes to show that perspective matters.

Reviews will be what they will be and perspectives will often differ.  What does remain constant however is the right of a business owner to refuse service and/or limit access to available amenities (so long, of course, as such refusals and/or limitations are not in violation of statutes prohibiting discrimation of protected classes). I didn't open my winery to be a rest stop for bladder/bowel emergencies or conveniences nor do I desire to clean up after anymore people than necessary.  The "policy" was put into place as the result of bad experiences with itenerate visitors and this episode cements the view that we have done the right thing for our business despite a poor review/rating.

One of the cleanest rest stops in Texas is, literally, less than two miles away.  That peolpe feel entitled to ignore posted policies and use any random business for their convenience speaks to the continued erosion of civility and manners in today's society. I ask that you, dear reader, remember to use your manners...!


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