RE: [PRMindshare] RE: [PRQuorum] XP - Social attack
- I don't care who's right, but I know this woman was wrong. There are
legitimate means for the redress of grievances that are fair to all parties
(in intent) - and I suspect that this is even stronger in Canada (can't
confirm, but I sense that Canada might work that way). Certainly in the US,
there are means of redress. Which is why I feel that this woman is a
terrorist - she ignored them, and punished the guy without a trial or a
chance to confront his accuser (a basic tenet of US law, enshrined in the US
Constitution just to prevent such things).
Irony Alert: her "subtle" and "eminently balanced" presentation of what she
perceives as a "wrong" by the restaurant was little short of blackmail, and
had all the elegance of a lynch mob. This is often the approach taken by
someone who knows she's wrong, but who wants to win anyway, knowing a man
with a business at stake has something to lose, while she doesn't.
1. Did the restaurant have a handicapped section for wheel chairs?
2. Were the better tables filled or reserved? Entertainment suggests
the potential of a sold-out crowd.
3. Were the seats all reserved (as is the case in some dinner clubs)
just as they are in a theater?
4. Did the woman have a background (or reputation) for being a
self-centered "it's all about me" troublemaker?
OK, maybe the restaurant owner was a jerk - it happens. However, those who
OWN businesses in the customer service field tend to bend over backwards to
serve customers, rather than to antagonize them - a $6/hour clerk at some
chain donut shop might not be nice, but the owner of a place with
entertainment is probably very nice.
I patronize restaurants that are tight-packed and have accommodations (ample
for their volume needs - and LV attracts a lot of old farts with wheel
chairs and oxy-tanks and stuff, so "ample" is a generous term) for those in
wheel chairs only around the periphery or near the front door or kitchen
door. Those people in wheelchairs and power chairs take up a lot of room
and without careful choreography, they can block fire exits, etc.
In short . maybe this woman was in the right, but I can see a lot of ways in
which she may have been wrong. Which is why when a dispute comes up, it's
important to hear BOTH sides.
If I was his PR guy, I'd tell him of a lesson I learned in my first job - as
the window guy at McDonalds. "If you're wrong, apologize and fix it. If
you're right, apologize and fix it." My boss meant this - when you're
right, it's a good bet that the customer knows that, too. He's playing a
little game over an item that sells (at that time) for half a buck ('you
forgot the fries .' was the most common complaint among those who didn't
order fries). IF you MAKE HIM WRONG, he'll get pissed and not only won't
come back, but he'll complain to his friends. If you allow him to be right
even (especially) when he's wrong, he'll be happy and come back.
ONLY if you see a guy pulling the same thing over and over should you do
something. And that something is to turn it over to the manager. I have no
problem confronting a repeat offender, but people make mistakes, and those
people I want to come back .
Anyway, my advice to the restaurant owner. Apologize for all after-the-fact
complaints, and give them a return-visit free meal. Only confront serial
abusers, and then advisedly (if they repeat, just apologize without the
freebie . if they're gaming the system, and want more than an apology, maybe
they won't come back).
However, this whole thing offends me - "there ought to be a law" against
those who post one-sided attacks like this that cannot be answered. Absent
those laws, though, apology is the only sane approach - and do it before the
bitch puts up a facebook lynch mob page.
Ned Barnett, APR
Marketing/PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
Barnett Marketing Communications
420 N. Nellis Blvd. A3-276
Las Vegas NV 89110
702-696-1200 - ned@...
From: PRMindshare@yahoogroups.com [mailto:PRMindshare@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of Duncan Matheson
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 5:34 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; PRMindshare@yahoogroups.com;
Subject: [PRMindshare] RE: [PRQuorum] XP - Social attack
The front page of our local paper yesterday carried a story about a Facebook
page that was started by a woman who felt she was done wrong by a local
restaurant. It told of her and her wheelchair bound friend being given a
poor table and when they wanted to move to a better one to better see the
entertainment, the manager refused to let them. Anyway, the Facebook page,
prior to the Monday story had ballooned to 1300+ people. The restaurant was
taking quite the hit. This morning front page again with the development
that the manager has apologized and the woman has taken down the site.
I appreciate this is happening more and more often, and of course it speaks
volumes to the power of the social media and, by extension, of the consumer.
The growth of the Facebook site is one thing, but then for it to land on the
front page of the paper is something else again. It also has precious little
to do with who is right or wrong, which brings me to my point. The
restaurant guy didn't call me, but if he had, what can a business do in the
face of this; what advice could a lowly PR thingie possibly give? Get on
there and apologize as an effort to stop the bleeding? What if he wasn't in
We're in the midst of a social media battle on an advocacy issue and in that
case we simply have our own site, but I don't see that as a solution for the
restaurant. Is this as no-win as it appears? Who has some thoughts?
Bissett Matheson Communications Ltd.
Fredericton office (506) 457-1627
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- First, I'll assume he wasn't in the wrong. Otherwise I wouldn't be
taking his case.
My approach would be to deflect and to take the side of the
complainer and the 1300 people following the case. Let's say he was
adhering to the fire marshal's rules about clearance, access to
exits, etc. The restauranteur's position would be along these lines:
"I agree completely with the concerns of (complainer). It's very
frustrating that our patrons with different accessibility needs often
suffer in order to comply with the law. In hindsight I believe I
could have managed the situation better, but I'm unfortunately not in
a position where I can afford to circumvent fire department rules. I
hope (complainer) and her guest will feel welcome here like all our
other patrons, and I look forward to working with the fire marshal to
find an acceptable solution."
(Or let's it's the ADA that dictates where a wheelchair can and can't
be situated in a crowded place, or OSHA, or whatever. There's got to
be a common enemy somewhere.)
--- In email@example.com, "Duncan Matheson" <duncan@...> wrote:
> The front page of our local paper yesterday carried a story about a
> page that was started by a woman who felt she was done wrong by a
> restaurant. It told of her and her wheelchair bound friend being
> poor table and when they wanted to move to a better one to better
> entertainment, the manager refused to let them. Anyway, the
> prior to the Monday story had ballooned to 1300+ people. The
> taking quite the hit. This morning front page again with the
> that the manager has apologized and the woman has taken down the
> I appreciate this is happening more and more often, and of course
> volumes to the power of the social media and, by extension, of the
> The growth of the Facebook site is one thing, but then for it to
land on the
> front page of the paper is something else again. It also has
> to do with who is right or wrong, which brings me to my point. The
> restaurant guy didn't call me, but if he had, what can a business
do in the
> face of this; what advice could a lowly PR thingie possibly give?
> there and apologize as an effort to stop the bleeding? What if he
> the wrong?
> We're in the midst of a social media battle on an advocacy issue
and in that
> case we simply have our own site, but I don't see that as a
solution for the
> restaurant. Is this as no-win as it appears? Who has some