Friday, October 14, 2011

Bad Tipper Summons Internet Wrath... What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Image: Victoria Liss via Facebook
There's an amazing story that's been circulating on the Internet these past few days that highlights the kind of unnecessarily malignant treatment of service-industry workers - a topic DLDGLG feels a duty to discuss. Unfortunately, this drama quickly pivots, almost predictably, to a demonstration of the hazard of misguided Internet mobs.

A bartender named Victoria Liss received not just a heartless gratuity on a check but also a vicious tip regarding her weight while working at Bimbo's Cantina in Capitol Hill, Seattle. The customer, identified on the credit card receipt as Andrew Meyer, wrote, "P.S. you could stand to loose [sic]a few pounds" in addition to leaving no tip.

Clearly, this patron's dietary advice is the definition of an ad hominem attack.

In her anger, Liss decided to turn to the Internet, essentially releasing the kraken. Using Facebook against the previously anonymous Meyer, she posted a picture of the scribbled insult. Solidarity with her begins to form around the Internet.

Taking it a step further, the west-coast bartender decided to single out her nemesis on Facebook after some research. From there, her swelling audience was provided a target for their ire. It's at this point that our tale of comeuppance goes viral:
"The story made its way to the Seattle Weekly, Stranger, Gawker and Jezebel, hitting a nerve with fellow bartenders. There was talk of 'waiter rage,' 'wanted posters' and enlisting techie friends to help unload 'haterade' on the 'douche.' Angry messages were sent to the man, depicted as the cheapest, meanest customer ever to have stepped foot in a bar.

Except there was one problem. It was the wrong Andrew Meyer."

Since then, Liss has apologized for her hasty accusations and wisely increased the privacy settings on her Facebook. Dan Savage, who had previously contributed his own colorful perspective on the incident, seems to have replaced his fiery words for a similarly apologetic response (which he calls "The Great Andrew Meyer Pogrom of 2011").

Unfortunately, a lesson in human dignity in the service industry and the inspiration of basic human solidarity became completely lost to a lesson in Internet bloodletting.

A collective face-palm could be felt around the Internet these past few days. Particularly, among bartenders, who saw an opportunity to expose some of the callousness that they confront day after day.

Note: This post has been revised since its original publication

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