Today's Dr. Textiquette addresses the destructive and humiliating power of the text message. When used incorrectly, the text message can turn an unfortunate but common occurrence, like a privately owned restaurant closing its doors, into the lead story on a local nightly newscast.
"But this is America!" you shout. "Small businesses not owned by massive homogenous chains close every day! That's how the system works. How do I get my failing business on the nightly news and publicly shame myself in the process?"
Simple. When it's time to close your doors, just do like the owner of Barducci's Italian Bistro in Winter Park, Fla did. Fire everyone on your staff via text message.
He could have at least included a frowny face emoticon. (Screencap via WFTV Channel 9)
According to Florida's WFTV news, Barducci's owner Gregory Kennedy was forced to close the restaurant without any warning to the staff. This is something that typically would merit some local gossip, not a news report. But Kennedy took the extra step to ensure his failed business and even bigger failed attempt at human communication would make the news: he turned his restaurant closing into a story about the callousness of using modern technology to inform people they were out of a job.
Firing an entire staff of employees isn't newsworthy in itself. Giant companies do that every day to make sure their senior executives don't have to take a diminished quarterly bonus. They'll sometimes do it even more inhumanely by hiring that guy George Clooney played in Up In The Air to do it for them, but it still won't be a story you hear about. When one little restaurant lets everyone go via a text, however, you can be sure the link will be forwarded to you within ten minutes of the story breaking.
As far as modern news-gathering goes, the best way to guarantee your story gets covered is to somehow involve a widely-used technology that we're all addicted to, but that we all kind of hate. Just killing someone won't make your story go viral. But if you kill someone because they unfriended you on Facebook, everyone will know your name by end of day. Same goes with firing an entire staff by text message. Who does that?! (Answer: Barducci's owner Gregory Kennedy.)
Just to make sure Kennedy's restaurant closing wouldn't be brushed off by news editors as not that big a deal, he doubled down by sending his text message on the 4th of July, when the only thing people are supposed to be doing with their cell phones is making barely visible recordings of fireworks displays instead of watching them with their eyes.
So the simple prescription for announcing to the entire country at once that your restaurant failed and you're not very good with people is as follows:
1. Fire your staff via text message.
2. Do it on a major holiday like the 4th of July.
3. Bonus: Add another layer of tech failure by fucking over everyone who bought the Groupons you offered just before closing!
It's newsworthy enough that there are two people who still use Groupon. (Screencap via WFTV Channel 9)
Congrats, Gregory Kennedy. Your restaurant may be gone, but you will live on in our memory as a guy who maybe shouldn't be in charge of people.
Watch the full segment below:
(By Bob Powers)