Working in food service can be a thankless job, and it’s easy for an employee to get frustrated if he or she feels like their work isn’t fully appreciated. When one New York City food truck employee voiced that frustration on Twitter, he was called out by the recipient and then fired mere days later.
Brendan O’Connor is an intern at The Awl, a “New York City-based web concern,” who formerly worked for The Milk Truck, a food truck specializing in what he called “gamified grilled cheese.” On a rainy Monday morning, close to 12 employees of Glass, Lewis & Co., a shareholder advisory firm, ordered about $170 worth of food, and didn’t leave a tip.
“I asked some of the group as they were picking up their orders if they had intended to not tip. They hemmed and hawed and walked away,” wrote O’Connor for The Awl. “Well. I could have not said anything. I could have made it a subtweet. I probably should have made it a subtweet. But I didn’t, because of some misguided notions about having "the courage of your convictions," or whatever.”
Shout out to the good people of Glass, Lewis & Co. for placing a $170 order and not leaving a tip. @glasslewis— Brendan O'Connor (@OConnorB_) July 22, 2013
Two days later, O’Connor was called by his boss and fired, and the following Twitter exchange happened between the two companies.
@milktrucknyc We appreciate it, and look forward to doing business with you again!— Glass Lewis & Co. (@GlassLewis) July 24, 2013
In his piece for The Awl, O’Connor raised several questions regarding the role of social media in the workplace:
“If social media is going to be used in one way to monitor worker productivity, why can it not also be used to advocate for a more civil exchange between worker and consumer? And why wouldn't a food service entity, while it's judging employees on social media, also judge its customers? The business practice of running a restaurant is to cultivate great customers and spurn bad ones,” he wrote.