Got By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

In this week's segment of "small business is hard," a local consumer tasked business owners with solving homelessness along Lake Street in Oak Park, among their other responsibilities.  In the end, a supportive Facebook group of local moms came to their aid, but it added to a heavy load after a heavy few days.

Homelessness? What?

Indeed, someone felt strongly enough about some panhandlers near Oak Park's Lake Street and Marion Street intersection to post negative reviews of the nearby businesses on Google and Yelp.  The reviewer set up an account and anonymous profile on both sites this weekend and posted one-star ratings on four local businesses.  Each review included the same cut-and-paste description of what the reviewer called the "Panhandler Capital" in Oak Park and our "panhandler crisis."  (Crisis? Seriously?) The reviewer seems to think that responsibility falls on the small business owners to fix it.

Note that the reviewer did not mention any interaction with any of the businesses nor any customer service or product issues.  This was simply a one-star jab to get the business owners' attention so they themselves would deal with whatever panhandlers there happened to be.

That's a lot. If you really want to make a positive impact, contact the Oak Park Homelessness Coalition or Housing Forward.  If you don't feel safe, call the police.  At minimum, stop inside and talk to the owner before posting a review online.  Please.

Whether you use Yelp, Google or Open Table reviews yourself, other people do.  Tourists and newcomers especially.  A one-star rating on the internet can turn away business.  In fact, this is a call to action opportunity: if you have a terrific experience with a business, please consider posting a positive review online.  It only takes a minute and means more than you think.

By the end of the weekend, the social media crisis had passed.  After another owner posted the story on the "Oak Park Working Moms" Facebook group, enough people "flagged" the review as inappropriate and the sites themselves removed the posts. Thank you, everyone who commented and acted.

But what a way to spend an otherwise beautiful weekend.  Small business is hard.

Contact:
Email: cyen@oprfchamber.org Twitter: @OPRFChamber

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and RiverForest.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad