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Applebee's uses Facebook in response to firing of waitress, creates PR nightmare

Applebee's uses Facebook in response to firing of waitress, creates PR nightmare

The God Discussion reported on 31 January 2013 about a waitress named Chelsea, who was fired from her job after she posted an image of a receipt she got from a table that was left by a guest who happened to be a Pastor. The image is in the header picture for this article.

The note the Pastor left said, 'I give God 10% Why do you get 18,' and was accompanied by a zero in the tip portion of the receipt. Chelsea posted the image to Reddit as a lighthearted joke, stating,

“I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining.”

As most restaurants do, Applebee's adds an automatic gratuity for parties that have over a certain number of guests. This number varies by restaurants, but is commonly eight or more patrons. According to the reciept, the Pastor scratched out the $6.29 gratuity and wrote the zero as referred to earlier, along with the note.

According to a story written journalist, R.L. Stoller, 'Pastor gets waitress fired' was only the beginning. What ensued was a bizarre series of replies and actions by what appears to be the official Applebee's Facebook account, and as Stoller points out, is like a 'slow-motion train wreck from which you cannot tear away your eyes.' Stoller unfolds how 'Chapter Two' is where Applebee’s 'apparently wants to commit suicide in front of our digital eyes.'

What followed was a cacophony of commentary from Applebee's, which resulted in tens and tens of thousands of comments from consumers and supporters of Chelsea. Applebee's behavior throughout this debacle can only be described as 'perplexing,' at best.

Navigate over to R.L.'s story, which is exhaustive (in a good way), and includes screenshots from the Applebee's public Facebook page and other media. Stoller did great job rolling this out for us, and shows exactly what a corporation should not do when faced with a sensitive issue that anyone with a rudimentary understanding of how quickly something like this can blow up.


About Al Stefanelli

Al is a retired author, writer and journalist. His books include "Free Thoughts - A Collection Of Essays By An American Atheist" and "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth." Al began writing in 1985, starting with the New York Times. In 1993 he joined a McClatchy newspaper, writing a weekly column for ten years. His writing continues to be widely distributed on the Internet and in print. He also produced and hosted a weekly syndicated radio broadcast from 1995 to 1998, and his work won a North Carolina Journalism award in 1998. Al is the former Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for "The Clergy Project." He is also a former Southern Baptist Pastor, having served two churches and as pulpit supply for three counties. Currently, he writes part time for The God Discussion, co-hosts the Internet radio programs, "The God Discussion Show" and "Reap Sow Radio." Al lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, GA.
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