Do Abusive Cheapskates Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy?

A recent article at AOL Jobs has been today’s Internet sensation. It seems a pastor stiffed a waitress and added a snotty note on her receipt about giving 10% to God, so why does a server deserve 18%? A followup article at The Consumerist prompted an update of the original article, but it raised an interesting question or two. (Read both articles for the relevant facts.)


A lot of people are focusing on Applebees’ firing of the person (not the server involved in the incident) who posted the picture. That individual said later, “I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook — I checked.”

As readers, we’re on the horns of a dilemma, because douchebaggery of this nature is very appropriately outed… or wait, is it? Is this fodder for an article over at Not Always Right (here is a delightful example) or is it senseless voyeurism of the kind we would expect to find in the National Enquirer or People magazine?

Well, I don’t read either of those publications (although I am a proud owner of a copy of The Irrational Inquirer, a parody edition by Larry Durocher and Tony Hendra), but I find both angst and satisfaction when reading about ignorant behavior toward those who serve the public, especially when it’s richly rewarded.

The “pastor” (and I use the scare quotes deliberately) left her nasty note in public, and so on the one hand her shame should be public. On the other hand, I think the poster of the photo made some tactical errors by reporting the incident without removing any PII (personally identifiable information). As much as I was sorry to hear she was fired, I think I have to stand with Applebee’s on their personnel action – the posting of the photo was a breach of expected privacy, even if the person involved was a total jerk. You’ll notice that “Not Always Right” is very careful to give only the kind of store and a generic location, and never reveals names, dates, or identifiable places.

Moral: If you’re going to out the douchebaggery, make sure you do so in a non-identifiable way, or you might just lose your situation!

The Old Wolf has spoken.

2 responses to “Do Abusive Cheapskates Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy?

  1. Pingback: Tipping is not optional | Playing in the World Game

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