How not to do social media: a comedy in three acts
There are few workers I feel sympathy for as much as waiters and waitresses. It's often a thankless and very difficult job. Because of idiotic loopholes in the laws, a restaurant can still pay a waiter or waitress much less than minimum wage, expecting that the server will make up the difference through tips.
For myself, I rarely tip less than 20% because I know how tough a server's job can be. To me, it's just a social contract. So you can imagine my utter dismay when reading about a pastor who made a horrible comment on an Applebees receipt containing an 18% gratuity added for a party of 8 or more: "I give God 10%, why should you get 18%?"
Let's leave the sheer stupidity of that statement alone for a moment. What Applebees did next simply boggles the mind. They fired the server who posted a photo of the receipt online, citing a violation of customer privacy. That might make sense, except that Applebees themselves officially posted a receipt showing the comments of a grateful customer on their own Facebook page not that long ago. That photo of a receipt (shown here), containing the signature and full name of a customer, mysteriously disappeared from Applebee's Facebook page shortly after this all went public. Naturally, this offended a large number of people on the Net.
The resultant viral explosion and social media nightmare reads like a comedy in four acts:
- Applebees refuses to support its employee against an awful customer and hypocritically fires the server who posted the photo;
- Applebees attempts to cover up their own activity that mirrors what they fired the server for, starts deleting unfavorable comments, and then tries to hide their official statement about the fiasco when it receives over 20,000 negative comments;
- Applebees then proceeds to actually argue personally with their customers, tagging them with canned replies on their Facebook page, including ones that talk about how they care so much they're replying at 5 in the morning; and
- Applebees starts frantically posting multiple photos of menu items in an attempt to push all the negative stuff farther down on their Facebook timeline, hoping that people will just forget about all of this.
At this point, it's unclear how Applebees could do any worse with their social media. But it sure is entertaining to read about. Sit back with a cup of coffee and read with me how utterly NOT to handle a social media fiasco.