There is a guy on Facebook who covers the “restaurant scene” for my hometown of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. He posts tidbits and “behind the scenes” information about some of my favorite places… and I never miss a post. In fact, when I see he’s posted, I often go to his Facebook page and make sure I didn’t miss any when I wasn’t looking.
As of the time I’m writing this, he has almost 6,000 fans of his page, which is impressive considering there are around 100,000 people in this town. Think about that. Six percent of the people in this town (and a handful of people who have moved away) want fun facts about local places to EAT.
So, a few weeks ago, he posted about a local pizza place that has 12 electric cars (our town is trying to be an “EV Town”) they use for delivery.
That’s cool, right? A local pizza place that is being kind to the environment and forward thinking? If that’s all the article talked about, people would have applauded. But the posting was about how efficient those cars were during the winter versus the summer.
It went on to say that they didn’t do as well during the winter because they had to run the defrost to keep the cars warm, just enough to keep the windows defrosted. What about in the summer, you ask? I mean, it’s like 200 degrees outside! Wouldn’t the air conditioner use more battery than the heater?
About that…. the article goes on to say that the owner has pulled the fuse out of the car that would allow the air conditioner to be used.
So you’re going to tell me that these guys are lined up like planes circling over O’Hare waiting for their next delivery in a car without air conditioning? That stinks…. literally.
Who wants a sweaty delivery guy delivering your pizza? No one… apparently.
That’s when the comments started and this PR opportunity backfired. Rather than it being a warm and fuzzy article about how this pizza place is trying to save the planet, it turned into a lynching of the owner who is “Grinchy” (one commenter’s words, not mine).
I can imagine the interview with the owner… they were probably joking around and he said something like “yeah, I can’t take the fuse out for the heater! Ha Ha!”. But when 6,000 people (or more depending on if the pizza place initially shared the post on their Facebook page) saw this post, many had the same thoughts as I did: Wow.. that’s kind of a crappy thing to do (and I didn’t even post… so how many others were thinking the same thing?). Now, every time I order from this place (and you know I like pizza, so it’s going to happen), I’ll probably just go and pick it up, rather than have a sweaty delivery driver bring it to me.
Or better yet, I’ll just order from them in the winter.
Social media can lynch someone in a matter of days, or even hours. Be careful what you wish for. Free publicity on social media is great! That’s the best function of twitter and facebook: free advertising! But, a little bit of information shared the wrong way can be detrimental.