And mostly it’s because people forget that nothing is private on Facebook. The latest case of what can only to called “Facebook weird” happened this week on the Pigalle restaurant Facebook page.
An unhappy diner posted a complaint on the page (which has since been removed). She described her Thanksgiving meal at the French restaurant on Charles Street in Boston as “awful” and compared the taste of the pumpkin pie she ordered to “vomit.” Here’s a sample:
“Really horrible pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving!! Wow. I don’t have a clue as to why you would think that throwing pumpkin chunks into a cold pre baked pie shell and then covering it with a cream sauce that literally tasted like vomit. I am very serious and topping it off with whipped cream that was runny would in any way be something that can be called pumpkin pie?”
Was the posting harsh? Sure it was. But so was the way over the top response from Pigalle Chef Marc Orfaly:
“hey sandy , go [censored] your self! if you have any questions on how to proceed, please call me at [phone number removed]“
Yes, he really said the F-word. It only got worse from there as Orfaly went on several profanity-laced rants calling the customer everything thing from fat and disgusting to uneducated and unpolished. The back and forth wasn’t pretty.
It also wasn’t private as the restaurant and customer soon realized. Bloggers and media picked up on the story – from Mashable to the Boston Globe – and soon it was a viral sensation.
Orfaly has since apologized. His apology said, in part:
“Last night a disappointed customer aired her concerns here rather than telling us in the restaurant. I must first apologize for my comments. They were not in the spirit of Pigalle, and nor do I wish for them to reflect on the hard work of my staff and their commitment towards hospitality. I am sorry.”
The apology has gotten (as of this afternoon) 44 likes and 251 comments. A lot of the comments took Orfaly to task for his behavior. Since when was it ever acceptable to insult and swear at other people?
This is an example of how the real-time nature of social media can bite brands and individuals. Firing off status updates, comments, tweets, etc. when angry is rarely a good idea. It might feel good for one second to insult someone criticizing you, but it generally reflects worse on you than on the other person. Behavior counts on social media.
Brands need to accept the good with the bad. Orfaly missed an opportunity to display grace and dignity and create a positive out of a negative. He undercut his own reputation and that of his restaurant.
But at least the unhappy customer is back on his side. She has posted under Orfaly’s apology that she had a long conversation with the chef and they have become fast friends.
In fact, she says she’s going to try the restaurant again. My bet is that she avoids the pumpkin pie.
Is Facebook weird? Only as weird as people.
What’s your take on this story?
Boston Globe article on the Pigalle Facebook Incident
Eater story on the incident