Carrollton's Jeff Hinkle got a lot of publicity Wednesday and Thursday from one of his business cards featuring his lawn care service business, Mow Masters. Most of the time, getting viral attention on social media for one's business would be a good thing — advertising that money can't buy. For Hinkle, however, it's been the opposite; Mow Masters has been bombarded with negative reviews across the internet, forcing Google to stop allowing user reviews for the company.
The reviewers' anger stems from one thing, a presumably racist business card Hinkle is using. In classy multicolored text and several fonts, including Comic Sans, Hinkle proclaims that Mow Masters is here to "take back Carrollton — one lawn at a time." He's not talking about securing your yard from pests or weeds, either.
No, Hinkle — who did not answer repeated phone calls from the Observer on Thursday — is proud to proclaim that he is Carrollton's "alternative to illegal lawn services." Mow Masters, the company's website makes clear, isn't like all those other lawn companies.
"We are American owned, we pay our taxes, we work hard, and we do the right thing," the website says.
If one were to be inclined at all to give Hinkle the benefit of the doubt by, say, rationalizing his card away by assuming that he's talking about the hordes of Carrollton teenagers who cut lawns around the suburb and then don't give Uncle Sam his cut, his responses to several negative Google reviews will quickly dispel that notion.
In response to a review from Ana Tapia, which simply reads "Bad Service," Hinkle says the following.
"This person was never a customer. Liar/Fake. Leftist rhetoric expressing hate for America!"
After another bad review, Hinkle invokes his wife and son as proof that he isn't racist before tattling on himself with his last sentence.
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"If you read the entire card, it has to do with Honest American Business [sic] who operate within the law. Customer [sic] want verifiable credentials when hiring. BTW, my wife is Hispanic [deceased] and she [sic] my son has brown skin.
"Illegally operating lawn service [sic] are lawn service [sic] who don't abide by standard business laws, that all American businesses have to. Most don't pay income tax, don't payroll tax, don't abide by the state sales tax law, don't get a business license from the city, don't have their employees criminal background checked, hire underage workers, or pay less than minimum wages, drive without drivers licenses, and the list goes on. They only have a name and phone #, no verifiable credentials. M[y] crew and I know and talk to these crews, and they brag that they don't have to follow any laws and make a ton of cash.
"The race card is over played and doesn't work anymore. Most people don't want to hire people who don't exist on paper."
Whatever message Hinkle was trying to send with his card, it's left a mark. His voicemail box is full, his Google review score is down to one star, and his Yelp score looks to be headed the same way, with more reviews being posted by the minute.