posted by Anthony Rotolo (@rotolo)
(Read the original post that started this discussion: Price Chopper Attacks Customer’s Job Over Negative Tweet)
Photo originally from The Shrewsbury Lantern
The goal of this blog is to discuss the business and social media issues made visible by the controversial actions taken by Price Chopper against a customer who complained about their grocery store via Twitter. Since first blogging about this story three days ago, there has been a great deal of discussion within the comments on this site and other blogs/news sites. The continuing dialogue is indeed a valuable learning experience.
The discussion has raised several additional questions over the last three days. Many have been addressed in the comments section (by me, and also in official statements by Price Chopper). In an effort to clarify, I’ve summarized some of the common questions/comments and provided answers below.
Did this really happen, or is this a social media stunt?
Unfortunately, this really happened. Price Chopper has also confirmed and apologized for the situation.
What is the intention of this blog?
This blog was created to start a discussion about the business and social media issues related to the controversial actions taken by Price Chopper against a customer who complained about their store via social media. This blog is written by an educator who studies social media in enterprise organizations. Although the author personally believes that Price Chopper’s actions were inappropriate, the goal of this blog is to include all perspectives — including those of Price Chopper — to help others approach similar situations from an informed position.
How was the blog author involved in the situation with Price Chopper?
As stated in the original article, the customer who was targeted by Price Chopper is a real-life friend of the author. Since the author studies and teaches about social media in business, the customer contacted his friend to consult on the situation as it occurred. However, all information posted by the author was confirmed with the individuals involved, and the statements made by the Price Chopper associate were reviewed in writing. This blog was not written based on the word of a friend alone.
Does the customer’s employer have a business relationship with Price Chopper?
No. The customer’s employer does not have a business relationship with Price Chopper.
Are the comments/responses from Price Chopper legit?
Responses on this site from “Heidi Reale” and “Ameerah” have been confirmed. Comments posted under those names are coming from official representatives of Price Chopper. This was verified through direct communication with Heidi Reale.
Why isn’t the email Price Chopper sent to the customer’s employer posted here?
The email was not posted here in an effort to shield the identity of the individuals involved, including the Price Chopper representative who took this unfortunate action. Price Chopper has confirmed (on this blog) that their associate did indeed contact the employer via email.
Price Chopper says this was the fault of a single, unauthorized employee…
Heidi Reale, on behalf of Price Chopper, stated (on this blog) that their associate was not authorized to speak for the company or to contact the customer’s employer. Price Chopper has also stated that the associate is not a member of the “Customer Insights” team that manages the @PriceChopperNY Twitter account. However, there has been no explanation of how the associate became involved, or why the Twitter team was not aware of the customer’s complaint or actions taken.
Why wasn’t anyone else at Price Chopper contacted before this story was shared online?
Price Chopper had been in contact with the customer and his employer directly. The Price Chopper associate contacted the employer from an “@pricechopper.com” email address and represented herself as a “Public Relations Specialist” at Price Chopper. She does, in fact, hold that position at the company. By the very nature of her position, the associate is authorized to speak for Price Chopper. She was very clear about the company’s position — in writing — and there was no reason to question her role as spokesperson for Price Chopper. The fact that Price Chopper corporate is not supportive of the associate’s actions in hindsight does not change the fact that she acted in an official capacity on behalf of their organization.
Are you trying to get the Price Chopper associate in trouble? Is this blog revenge?
Absolutely not. The name of the Price Chopper associate who was responsible for this action was never revealed by this blog. Price Chopper has revealed her name, and that was their decision. There is no desire to see any action taken against the individual Price Chopper associate(s) involved.