Yesterday, my heart sister joined a group on facebook that was taking a localish-to-her bakery to task for a tagline on their website (which, of course, made me interested). The tagline, which can no longer be found was “So good it makes fat people cry.”
The business is a cottage-bakery, making cakes, cupcakes, pies, and cookies. So, way to go with alienating potential customers. It has been suggested they (the owners) were trying to be edgy and funny. In my opinion, they missed their mark.
It’s okay, though, it’s a free country, right? Well, yes, until the person who started the facebook page talking about them emailed them and politely said the tagline was offensive and could they take it down. *NOTE: She did not start the facebook page until after she’d tried talking to them and was treated rudely, and then talked about on their Twitter accounts.* While they were under no obligation to do as they were asked (hey, it’s still a free country and if you want to offend people and possibly decrease sales when people refuse to go to your establishment, you can do so), what they did was reprehensible.
They went on Twitter, under their private accounts (but accounts that were attached to the bakery’s Twitter account) and started slamming the person who called them on their tagline. They used terms like “fat cunt” and talked about “whiny fat people”. While they didn’t mention the woman by name in their tweets, anybody who knew what was going on could understand. At one point, one of the owners complained of whiny fat people who made her migraine so bad her meds weren’t working.
Aw. Poor thing.
Later, as they started getting fallout from their tweets, they deleted them and put their private accounts to private, complaining that they couldn’t even say what they wanted in their private accounts anymore.
Aw. Poor things.
Today, on their blog, they have an apology. First, they called the woman who complained by name. So anybody who saw the previous comments now know for sure who they were calling a fat cunt yesterday. Then they excuse their actions by saying the stress of opening a business was getting to them. And finally, they state “tweets you found offensive have been removed”. Because, you know, being called a fat cunt isn’t offensive at all.
Here’s a few tips for you, Carrie and David, owners of Crumb:
1) You don’t have a brick and mortar shop, so everything you do is by social media. If you attach your private Twitter accounts to your business account, and then act in as unprofessional manner as you did, you cannot then whine about how you can’t even say what you want on your private accounts anymore. By attaching those accounts to the Crumb business account, you have made them an extension of the business account. Which means, if you are rude and crude to people, they will call you on it, and talk about your business’ rudeness.
2) For a company who’s not been in business very long, do you really think that insulting at least part of your customer base is a savy business plan? Especially when you are charging an arm and leg for your product * , and have a history of being rude in person when a customer has a problem with the items they received?
3) An apology that states “tweets you were offended by” is not an apology. An apology that uses “too much stress” as a way to alleviate your responsibility for your actions (the tagline in the first place, what you said on your twitter to discredit her) is not an apology.
4) If starting a business is that stressful to you that you have to be so rude, you might want to consider folding up your aprons now. Because I can tell you it ain’t gonna get any less stressful. Not even if you get Paula Dean famous. Especially not if you get Paula Dean famous. (And after this debacle, I doubt you’ll be able to get that famous.)
If you truly mean your apology, you’ll start over and take responsibility for yourselves. You’ll own your actions and reactions, and stop trying to get out of the predicament you put yourself in. But that might mean you grow up and act like adults who own a business, instead of schoolyard bullies who think they can get away with calling a fat woman who had a problem with your tagline a “fat cunt”.
Personally, I’m hoping this will be a growth opportunity for you — not for your business. With all the negative press you’ve garnered, I don’t see how you will be able to make a go of your company now. I mean personally.
However, I’m not holding my breath.
*Unfortunately, the Yelp review of their business explaining their prices for some cupcakes ($8 per cupcake and a minimum order of 12 cupcakes) seems to be taken down, so I can’t link to it.