Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown

applebby R.L. Stollar

Hell hath no fury like a Facebook scorned. In today’s digital age, most of us assume everyone understands this fact. But every now and again, people surprise us. An ever-increasing element of this reality is that the hounds of Reddit, the Twitter armies, and Facebook vigilantes are more than willing to remind people that we live in a publicized world. You can’t hide behind privacy statements or legal jargon or appeals to company policy to pacify an Internet mob. Once you cross the line of Internet etiquette, the people of the World Wide Web will hunt you down and do their best to ruin you forever.

Applebee’s apparently never took note of this. You’ve most likely heard about their most recent encounter with virality. But in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a brief summary:

A waitress at a St. Louis Applebee’s lost her job for posting online the receipt upon which a pastor had declined to leave a tip, with a snarky note saying she gave God 10 percent.

After her dinner on Jan. 25, Pastor Alois Bell crossed out the automatic 18 percent tip charged for parties of more than eight. “I give God 10% why do you get 18,” she wrote above her signature.

Employee Chelsea Welch — a colleague of the stiffed server — took a picture of the receipt and uploaded it to the online site Reddit. She subsequently lost her job, an Applebee’s spokesman confirmed to TheSmokingGun.com, for violating a customer’s privacy.

Yesterday on Fox 2 Now, the pastor issued a (sort of?) apology.

All this information, of course, is so yesterday. “Pastor gets waitress fired” was Chapter One in this strangely entrancing saga, on par with a slow-motion train wreck from which you cannot tear away your eyes. Chapter Two is where Applebee’s apparently wants to commit suicide in front of our digital eyes.

Applebee’s fired the waitress in question, named Chelsea Welch. This created a fury of rage on the Internet, with social media users taking to their weapons of choice and lambasting away, thousands at a time, against the restaurant’s decisions. Numerous “Boycott Applebee’s” groups sprung up on Facebook, along with “Rehire Chelsea Welch” and other similar groups. Applebee’s website has a “What’s the Buzz” widget, that shows what people are saying on Twitter about the company. It’s been non-stop attacks, all publicly displayed on Applebee’s own page:

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