Dear Diary: Badmouthed again
We’ve been badmouthed again. I’ve never been one to handle being badmouthed. I always take it to heart. I need to stop that.
When I think of being badmouthed, the first memory that comes to mind are extreme exaggerations and falsehoods, the kinds of stories that kids tell to further put down an unpopular mate.
It’s a feeling I knew well as a child. In sixth, seventh, eighth grade, there were put-downs so bad I just wanted to hide. To be alone rather than around two-faced Nellies.
I never imagined put-downs would come again.
In my 40s. This time, to my small business. Worse than before. It’s no longer just about personal character. It’s about my livelihood. A place where I am free to be me. A place where I focus on quality, honesty, integrity. We take our business seriously. We are stewards of beer. UV-filtering lights, layering myself in clothes to tolerate the beer-friendly ambient temperature environment, rotating stock, green bottles furthest from light sources, investing in a counterfill CO2 filling stations for growler fills, always striving for quality, longest shelf life. Giving every detail attention and care. Our business, our beer, the center of my universe.
Is it human nature to tear down?
It must be human nature to denigrate, belittle, criticize, cut down to size, dis, disparage, dump on, find fault, knock*, malign, mudsling, pan, pooh pooh, put down*, rap, rip, roast, run down, slam, slander, take a dig at, take down a peg, tear down, tear to pieces, …to badmouth.
The mom on an Afterschool Special would say they do this because of jealousy. I’m not sure I buy into that. I mean, what’s there to be jealous of?
I don’t get it.
Maybe it’s human nature to tear down.
I long for beertopia.
Maybe it’s my longing for a peaceful utopia. My perceptions of the Portland beer community is one of support and building up one another. There, when attending #BBC11, I witnessed a community of beer lovers. It was a feeling of support, of single mindedness, of “We’re in it together for the great beer!”
“Most important, brewpubs fit with Portland’s deeply ingrained anti-corporate culture and local pride… Given a choice, locals prefer to support local products over mass-marketed ones.”
— Christian Ettinger of Hopworks, Portland has beer on its mind
Portland, Portlandia…in Portland it isn’t about an occupy movement. People in Portland live an occupy life. They focus on and support local products, local business. Taverns, beer stores, breweries, sharing with one another, giving positive references. It’s like a giant co-op. A beer community of cooperation. At least that’s how I perceive it to be. That’s how it’s been presented, through beer blogs, its beer-loving residents.
It’s likely that badmouthing also occurs there, isn’t it? Of course, it’s likely. But I’m not there. I don’t see all the nitty-gritty. I probably just have a case of “the grass is always greener…” at the moment.
At home, I feel divisions: Seattle. Tacoma. East Side.
Yesterday we got word of another badmouthing: Employees/owners of another small local business trash-talking my store, my offerings, to a shared customer. Do they not realize that word travels quick around here? Beer drinkers are social folk. Beer drinkers get around.
I feel a bit shattered. I refer people to other beer businesses on a daily basis. When word comes back that a place I’ve been referring is badmouthing my business to its customers, my mouth gapes a little. Really?! Are you sure?
I tell msyelf, “Take the high road.”
But I am shocked. I am saddened. I feel so many emotions.
Why do I care what other people say?
Damage to my business.
Why do I care? Because I have shared nice things about them. And they speak mean in return.
It breaks my heart.
It breaks my heart to discover that while I’ve been speaking highly, making referrals, they have been talking trash. Wow. I just don’t know what to say. I still think highly of the business, but of the mean person talking smack, I don’t even know this person. I know they’re not a regular customer at my business, that they know nothing of us from repeat personal visits. The put-downs, I’m not sure where they come from.
“They’re just …jealous,” says the Afterschool Special TV mom.
I don’t buy it. They’re kick-ass awesome. That’s why I refer people to them.
So I don’t get it.
Why the badmouthing?