Some people never cease to amaze.
1. I think there is a misperception amongst some people (knuckleheads, we’ll call them) that any publicity is good publicity. No, bad PR is bad. A local restaurant made similar mistakes, saying whatever they wanted and then thinking that deleting the offending comments made it all better (that restaurant is now closed). Yes, you can say whatever you want anytime you want; it’s a free country. However, know that you’re going to get some blowback shrapnel coming your way. If receiving such negative publicity is part of your business plan, then have at it. Otherwise, you’re probably sullying your brand.
2. Also, I don’t think these same knuckleheads understand the multiplicative power of social media. You simply cannot treat people like crap, because it’s so damned easy to out such behavior. Why would you ever say things like this to people, either online or off? Slightly offtopic: I’ve always wondered about the legality of posting such emails. Do you need permission? And does that depend on what state you’re in? I’ll have to ask my friends @CraigGMoore and @JeffSchultzEsq about this.
3. Finally, this is not a social media problem. This is just a human relations problem. This is one person or set of people treating another human being like shit. Social media takes the shitty treatment and airs it out for all to see. I’d like to think we’d see less (or none) of this as time goes by and more such examples are made public. But we should be clear that this is not a social media issue. It’s just a company treating its customers poorly.
REALLY AWESOME POSTSCRIPT: Out of business?
REALLY AWESOME POSTSCRIPT 2 – Here’s a 2012 business goal for you: make sure people DON’T make movies like this about your business! (WARNING: this video is rated R – it contains foul language. Do not watch it if you don’t want to hear such words)