Monday, October 14, 2013

Cuzzy Bros Accra- It's About People...At Least Some People

I would be a fool to say that racism and discrimination didn't exist in Accra because it does. However, it is not the racism we are used to in the United States. Every time that a Ghanaian jumps for a white man and leaves a man of his own color standing to the side- that is unless he can verify the black man's financial status and sees some financial gain in it, it becomes painfully evident that there are color lines in Accra and unfortunately they are enforced by the people who need to break them the most.

So, although, it is not right. I have become used to being overlooked by negligent staff at various restaurants. In fact, its quite funny the contrast in the reaction I get when with my local Ghanaian friends and my white diplomatic friends. However, I know that I cannot hold management of these establishments responsible because well they can't help if their staff is culturally inclined to favor white people over blacks.  Plus most of the business owners really are genuinely nice people.

However, though some of owners are inevitably jerks as well, which brings us to Cuzzy Bros Accra. This cute little place opened up about six months ago. I was there at their launch and typically go between 2-4 times a month. Now, I have invited several of my friends there and they have declined...their reason, one of the managers, a South African, was prejudiced. I asked them how they knew that and they said they knew him from Rhapsody's and they weren't interested in going.

I found this hard to believe because I knew the other boss from New Zealand and, well, he is awesome so I continued to go. That was until yesterday's incident.

So picture this, Accra, Ghana 2013. The sun is beating down on the cement pavement and there is a slight buzz in the restaurant from its patrons. As we select our table in the shade a waitress asks us what we want to drink. We order a large water and peruse the menu. She returns, I order. My friend, who is a local Ghanaian, starts to order and the girl walks off while she is in mid-sentence. Doesn't say anything just walks off. Now there is a boy standing there so I ask him why did the girl go. He says nothing and shrugs his shoulders. The girl returns and I then ask her why would she walk off and we weren't done with the order. Of course, she just gives a blank stare and says she thought we were finished ordering.

Now perhaps I wouldn't have been so sensitive, but there have been two distinct times where I have gone to Cuzzy Bros Accra with my white colleagues and been neglected. One time a server even took my friend's drink order, changed it out twice and then took her order....all without asking me what I wanted.  It was only after we called it to the server's attention that she said they were sorry. So for this to be happening a third time, it really was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The manager notices me talking to the girl asking her why she would walk off in the middle of the order. I then proceed to tell him how I feel his staff seems to have an issue waiting on black people. His response, "If you don't like the way we do business you should leave."

So I just laughed, grabbed my purse and left. But it got me thinking. How is it does Cuzzy Bros Accra do business? After all, I can't imagine a customer being chastised because a Cuzzy Bros' server walked off before they were finished ordering. Typically in most of these cases, the owners rush over and apologize. Furthermore, I think this would have been the perfect opportunity to tell me that it isn't true about Cuzzy Bros Accra and that it is not the case. Instead of "If you don't like the way you do business, I should leave."

Now, I don't know if this South African guy is a racist, I can't really say. But I do know he isn't a good business man, but then again, he has made it clear, I am not his target market. I am sure if I was, he would have tried to save the experience for me in some way or form.

It's just sad for him I have a big mouth and a blog. I would wish them ill, but I have a feeling this guy will sabotage himself.

Until next time. Smooches.