As we were dealing with this, the barker from Creole Cookery (whose name is Solomon) came across the street toward us with a pleasant smile and started trying to hand out menus and invite us all to come over to eat. I told him “Solomon, right now we’re dealing with a bit of an emergency.” He continued to try to give a sales pitch to my group. I came over and said “Solomon, this is not an appropriate time to be handing out menus, we are dealing with a bit of a crisis.” Well, he went away and shortly afterward a young woman came over with menus, smiling, and started trying to hand them out. I told her the same thing, in a stern voice. She said she had a right to hand out menus and that I shouldn’t speak to her that way. I said “We’re dealing with an issue now, you need to go.”
Mind you, I have a woman sitting in a doorway with a group around her, I have others trying me help me hail a cab while I’m waiting for a cab company to answer the phone and here is Creole Cookery trying to make a sale without offering any assistance – just a sales pitch. Eventually another man comes over and rudely tells me that they can AND WILL offer menus to these people. I said “Look, we’re in the middle of a health issue here – this is not an appropriate time.” His response was “Bring her over into the air conditioning and you all can have a drink until she feels better." He said this despite the fact that she was sitting in an open shop doorway and the air conditioning was blasting out from the shop where we were.
One of my guests said “Really?”
THEN --- A.J. (who was still trying to force menus into my guests' hands) said “Keep us in mind for breakfast. We’re open for breakfast.” No one in my group accepted a menu and pretty much everyone was offended that Creole Cookery saw this as an opportunity to make a sale. Eventually a taxicab came along, the woman’s friend helped her to the cab and they went back to their hotel. I finished my story and quickly moved along.
I just want everyone to know about this – here the people of Creole Cookery had an opportunity to say “Let me help you get a cab” – or to come over with a bottle of water – or offer to call an ambulance or…ANYTHING! Instead of offering assistance they tried to shove menus into the hands of a group of people who were concerned for this woman and said “Come and have dinner here! Come have a drink here! Come have breakfast here!” That tells you the kind of place Creole Cookery is. Let's look for a moment at how this could have played out. Nothing wrong with Solomon coming over to pass out menus but once he knew what was happening - imagine if the next person came with a damp towel, a large cup of ice water and a "How can we help?" This PR would be completely different. I would be telling everyone how wonderful they were for providing assistance and recommending Creole Cookery to everyone. Instead - well, here we are; I will choose another route for my tour and tell a different ghost story and I will not stop in front of Creole Cookery ever again.
Tell everyone you know.