Waitress Fired over Facebook

May 19, 2010  |  Facebook

From the “what were they thinking?” file today… And let me warn you, Baby Boomers, you’re not going to believe this one.   A 22 year old waitress in North Carolina has been fired from her job at a pizzeria.  Not because she showed up late for her shift one too many times.  Not because she just couldn’t keep her orders straight.  But because she publicly criticized a customer on Facebook — all thanks to what she considered an insulting tip they left her after a meal.   Are you kidding me?  No really.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  That’s the mainstream media equivalent of buying time on a radio station to slander someone for 30 seconds, and then not expect there to be some fallout. (More…)

I’m sounding like my mother now, and I know it.  But that’s okay with me.  What has gotten into this generation of young people??? Technology seems to have left them completely devoid of all manners and all sense of etiquette.  In fact, when you use the word “manners”, kids often have no idea what you’re talking about these days.  “Etiquette?  What’s that?

I’ll tell you what it is.  It’s treating someone else the way you’d like to be treated yourself.  Seriously.   Would you like someone to rip you to shreds on Facebook?  Would you like to have someone laugh at your expense online?  Sadly, the only person who looks small, petty and cheap in this scenario is the waitress.

Maybe what we need to do to stay afloat in this technological soup we’re all swimming in – is to encourage this generation to develop some integrity.  You heard me.  INTEGRITY.  Human beings need to care about the way they interact with other human beings.  Isn’t that why we’re here?  The idea is to help each other on the journey, and to do it with some compassion and some class.  Tip or no tip.  ;-)   Post that on Facebook.  I dare you.

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  1. Sean… One crystal ball please… $25. an hour? Cheap at twice the price ;-)

  2. Kelly, I think you hit the nail on the head in saying at the very least it might save the next young person from repeating the same mistake. Humans respond to example… See someone get sunstroke on the beach and you’ll be a lot more sure to slather the 60 sunscreen all over yourself. Now that the story has gone viral, millions of teens might start to really “get it”. Let’s hope ;-)

  3. I don’t think kids of any generation understand consequences, not just today’s kids. We only learn by failing and we only change our behaviour because of consequences we are not happy with. All of the warnings are out there for kids. Just like they were for us. We didn’t listen. They won’t listen and the next generation won’t listen either. Human beings are stupid. I’m sorry, we just are. Few of us learn from observation. Whaddya mean the fire’s hot? (put’s hand over flame) OUCH! that fire’s hot. Note to self: No touchy fire anymore.

    As a species, we are doers, not thinkers. There are few thinkers and they are busy working on Nuclear fission and brain surgery.

    Should she have been fired? Moral question and one that’s already been answered by the one that had the power to do so. She’ll know next time. She should count herself fortunate she didn’t pay $65,000 to get a degree and make that blunder and lose a $65,000 a year job.

    You know what they say about glass houses. Every one of us, without exception has done something completely stupid. You can’t take back time so the best advice is to move forward.

    Let’s hope this has made the social media mainstream abuzz and it might save the next young person from repeating the same faux pas. But I doubt it.

    What were you thinking? Stupid question. They WEREN’T thinking.

  4. Like everything else that’s new there will be a Darwinian process where the weak and stupid are weeded out and those who learn by their own or other’s mistakes will be more careful. It’s just going to take time. It’s the freakin Wild West out there right now and it isn’t only kids that are showing poor judgement on the Web. Just as many adults are being idiots too. In fact, my money is on the younger people to figure out a balance first. There will be some new rules and social guidelines that we’ve never thought of by the time this is all played out, I’m sure.

    Crystal ball rentals are $20/hr btw.

  5. Sean… Just to be clear, I like your version just as much as I like Oprah’s. And yes, you can say that on the interwebby because you’re being respectful. ;-)

    Mike… Point taken! I have a friend who likes to say “Kids today!”, knowing full well that when he was a teenager, he did things every bit as misguided as OUR kids do now. It’s just that now, “stupid” is a lot more public than it was 30 years ago. And the consequences a lot more swift sometimes. ;-)

  6. Just one other thing to note here… we’re throwing around a lot of “what’s the matter with kids today” kind of stuff. Hasn’t that always been the case? Yes, the kids of today are different, as is each new generation, but can we all say that we never did anything stupid when we were young? And is it fair to generalize? Just something to keep in mind.

  7. Karen, given the nature of the comments made by the waitress, specifically naming the individuals and the restaurant, I can understand management’s reaction in this case.

  8. Thanks for comparing me to Oprah. I don’t know if I should thank you or never talk to you again. ;-) My version rhymes better than hers. I’m not a big Oprah fan and I will own up to saying that on the Interwebby because it’s my opinion and in no way did I degrade or insult her. That’s how it’s done. Class dismissed.

  9. Sean – Thanks for taking over Sharon’s soapbox! You’re right, right, right. When it doubt, leave it out. Oprah likes to say “Doubt means don’t”. Words to truly live by. The trouble is, kids these days don’t understand consequences. We absolutely should be teaching about libel and slander in schools now in this age of Social Media Mania. Mention it to your school trustee or your child’s school principal the next time you happen to see them… You never know. We might start a revolution. ;-)

  10. John – You are SO right. We seem to forget that actions have consequences and that Karma can be a you-know-what. As you point out, that business owner built his restaurant clientele by showing his customers RESPECT. His employees have a duty to do likewise. If they choose not to, they can find the door. I agree too, that this isn’t confined to youth. Too many people of all ages are venting via Social Media without understanding that it might come back to bite them where it hurts. Maybe we need to see someone else suffer the consequences before we think twice about our own behaviour. ;-)

  11. At first I was going to say what I always say…”If there’s someone you don’t want to read what you’ve written then DON’T put it on the Internet. Period.” However, Mike brings up an interesting point. Did this waitress slam the customer by name on her public page or did she have some expectation of privacy in her comments that were either read by her boss without her permission or transmitted by a third party? On second thought, I go back to my original rule. “If you don’t want the whole world to be able to read it then NEVER, EVER, EVER post it online.” I think the concepts of Liable and Slander should also be taught in grade school because it’s becoming increasingly evident that very few people know what those two words mean.

    Oh ya, one more pithy phrase that I used to use when I was deciding what to say on the radio without sounding like an idiot. “When in doubt, leave out” No one is going to miss what you don’t say and it can’t get you in trouble.

    Sharon, you can have your soapbox back.

  12. Wow!!! Lots of insightful comments flying this morning… Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, everybody. I love it ;-)
    First of all… Cam… I think you’re bang on there. We are going to see a return to traditional old-fashioned values.
    Respect and integrity were good enough for John Wayne, and he is the gold standard of “do as you would be done by” in my book. In fact, sometimes I ask myself “What would John Wayne do?”, and it points me in the right direction every time.

    Sharon…Awesome comment! When are we all going to “get it”. As you say, if you wouldn’t comfortably spout it into a microphone in the middle of your office or classroom, why on earth would you want to post it online? Viral, viral, viral. Share, share, share. Before you know it, everyone you know is aware of exactly what you said. Let’s say you’re 16, and I own the local Dairy Queen. I was going to hire you this summer, until someone pointed out to me the nasty comments you posted about a customer at your pizzeria job.
    BAM! You are off the short list, my friend. It’s that simple and that fast.

    Mike… Thanks so much for weighing in today… Great insights ;-) Went online to search the exact wording of the post… Closest I could find was this:

    “She blasted the couple on Facebook, calling them cheap and mentioning the restaurant by name. Brixx officials told the waitress a couple of days later that she was being fired because she violated a company policy banning workers from speaking disparagingly about customers and casting the restaurant in a bad light on a social network.”

    You make a good point – in that it all depends on the person involved. In my view, that makes Facebook even more dangerous… Almost like giving a clueless teenager a loaded gun and then leaving the room. I believe it’s up to us to educate today’s kids and encourage them to understand that their actions – even online – can sometimes have huge consequences.

  13. Karen, maybe you and I have the advantage of knowing how many people we can affect when reaching out on television and/or radio, while this waitress seems to not understand how many people she can reach globally with her complaint on Facebook because her lack of experience in either of those media, but that doesn’t excuse her action. I agree with the business owner on this, because she mentioned his restaurant, and that could negatively impact his business, which HE built – in part, by showing respect to his customers.
    But I think it goes beyond youth. People in general – of any age – seem to think they can hide behind their computer screens and vent their spleens and show disrepect to whomever they choose. It’s high time more people learned that there’s a certain karma demand in the world of social – or any – media, and you never know when restitution may strike.

  14. Karen, first of all thanks for sharing this. Somewhere in cyber space I saw something about this story, but in my haste to click somewhere else, it was gone before I could find out what happened.

    I agree with most of what you said, however I think in this case it has to depend on HOW the comments were made on Facebook. I mean, if she was just whining on a friends wall that someone left a lousy tip, that’s one thing, but if she made a point of identifying and ridiculing the person for it, that’s something different. And then I would still question whether being fired for it was appropriate to the circumstances.

    Yes we should treat each other with respect and help one another in the journey as you say. In the same way though, shouldn’t our work and online “personal” life be kept somewhat distinct, or are all the lines becoming blurry? I don’t see how this is anything like buying a 30 second radio spot to slander someone… I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, or maybe as I said before, it all depends on the specifics of what happened.

    @Sharon: Sorry to burst your bubble, but where did you ever get the idea that “brains come as standard operating equipment”?? I guess they do in the way that and engine is expected to be there in all cars, but they are certainly not all made equally!! Not to mention the fact that most people never bother to look at the owner’s manual…

  15. Young people — and really, people in general these days, seem to lose their sense of reality when it comes to what they post online.

    People forget that Social Media is a phenomenon whose title is comprised of two words — “Social”, which would imply people communicating and sharing with many, many people — and “Media”, and I think we’re all too aware of what that really means. Spouting off on Facebook isn’t just a place to vent to your best friend in complete privacy. Any sort of rant or malicious comment that is posted to a site like Facebook is basically an open invitation to a viral party. If you wouldn’t comfortably grab a microphone in the middle of your office, or your classroom and make your statement, then you shouldn’t be posting it on Facebook or any other social media site.

    Use your brains, people! The last time I checked, brains come as standard operating equipment on all humans!

    I’m stepping off of my soapbox now!! :-)

  16. Ah yes…integrity.

    Speaking as someone who has been laughed at all his life–mostly for being a cowboy/hillbilly/redneck/country when none of it was cool–but I digress.

    Here in England, they call people “mate.” I’m sorry, but when I go into a store, I don’t want some pizza-faced teenager calling me “mate.” I am your customer. You don’t know me. I am “sir.” Call me “mate” and I’m outta there.

    I think old-fashioned values are coming back in vogue. All of those cowboy/hillbilly/redneck/country values like: respect, honesty…for people like me, they never went out of vogue. Remember John Wayne? He was my hero–and still is. One of my favorite quotes comes from his character John Bernard Books in The Shootist:
    “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I expect the same from them.”

    Words to live by.

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