LETTER: GROW victim of ‘Facebook smear campaign’

Over the past week, GROW has been the target of a political Facebook smear campaign.  We believe that we were randomly chosen and that the person involved has no idea who we are and what we are about.  They wrote a scathing, untrue and hurtful review and posted it on a national political page.  As a result, people from many different parts of the country negatively “reviewed” our restaurant and bashed us based on ignorance and a negative agenda. I had to bite my tongue and not hastily reply to the lovely woman from Texas (never having been to CT, let alone to GROW) who said that our food sucked and that she would never come back to our restaurant again.

For the life of me, I cannot understand the logic behind these actions.  We are a small business, trying our best to grow and thrive in a beautiful country where we are allowed the freedom to do so.  We welcome all to our establishment with open arms and a warm place at our table.

I have seen this before.  A former employee who is disgruntled and angry creates a false identity and posts on a small deli’s page that they are a “customer” who just saw roaches and or mice scurrying around the place and that the service was horrible.  They were disgusted and will never patronize the place again.  This brand of disease spreads like wildfire.  People immediately comment, vowing “never to visit that disgusting deli.”  “How dare they not care about roaches?”   “I want to vomit just thinking about it!”

Now it is up to the business owner to scramble, trying to figure out what the heck just happened.  They are forced into a corner, defending their impeccable reputation.  Years and years of hard work can go down the drain just because a baseless rumor spreads over the ether, fueled by one person’s opinion that they should have been able to take six smoke breaks in a shift. (I am loosely basing this employee on a few that I have had in the past and several which have been employed by other business owners I know).

Facebook, which can be a great platform for advertising and posting yummy food pictures, can be a death sentence when placed in the hands of hate and anger.  Fortunately, in our case, the negativity was short lived and obviously random. But for others, it can be a devastating blow.  Before believing any negative reviews and or posts, please investigate the source.  Do they have any history?  Does this person have any real interests? Jobs? Family?  Investigate the target.  How were the reviews previously?  What is their reputation in the community?

We are all in this together and we have the power to either build a greater community or tear the very fabric from which we were created.  Let’s choose the former.  Together.