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Sep 13, 2013 02:47 AM

Red Lobster and their policy

Can't say that this surprises me, even though the policy is all about obfuscation rather than being a conscientious citizen and doing the right thing. Sometimes you have to be human first.

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  1. Wow.

    If she had posted the recp't herself I could see suspending her because of company policy. You can't just start making exceptions even if it's justifiable.
    BUT!! They had an out. They could reprimand her (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) because it was her father who did this. But they didn't.

    It will be interesting to see how this affects Dead Lobster.

    And as usual the most interesting part of the article is the comments section.


    1. While someone used an incendiary word word on the receipt, it may or may not be the credit card owner, who claims that he wrote only "none" in the tip line since the order was to-go, and signed....without the hateful comment.

      If it is indeed not the named man who wrote the slur (and on first glance, the "N's" are different in the two lines), thanks to the photo, he is branded in the press as a racist.

      Not a fan of Red Lobster, and certainly not a fan of ugly-minded troglodytes, mind you. But I'm also not a fan of "justice" via social media.

      Vigilante justice may not have been the right way to proceed in this case, whether or not this customer used hate speech.

      33 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        So you think all he wrote is "none" on the tip line, but left the total blank [instead of doubling-down and writing the total sans tip on the total line]? Just curious.

        1. re: hawkeyeui93

          I'm don't know if he did or he didn't; nor do you. We can only guess. I'm saying is that as reprehensible as this act is--if he did it, or not--social media is not the place to bring him to justice.

          Where does it stop? It's okay to out racists, but not bad tippers? Is it okay to out religious zealots? How about snarky customers?

          It's not the forum for justice.

          1. re: pinehurst

            I agree that we do not know the facts, including the handwriting analysis you suggest hereinabove. In what little is out there on this, the alleged racist did sit at her table and subsequently demanded his/her food be to-go versus a mere "pick-up" order that would possibly justify no tip. Interestingly, this is not a local story in the State's largest newspaper, which speaks volumes about the social justice climate in Tennessee.

            1. re: hawkeyeui93

              Point well taken about Tennessee. It doesn't have to be in the State's largest newspaper. It's now everywhere, via the internet.

              I'm wondering--do folks think that it was appropriate to out the racist/alleged racist on the internet? Say we know for certain that he did it....amateur hour graphology aside...say he confesses today. Is the public "outing" justified?

              1. re: pinehurst

                This is having less and less to do with the food industry, but personally I have no qualms about outing a racist. One of the things I hate most about racists is hiding their views and thinking anonymity will protect them. If a person espouses those ideas, shouldn't they proudly state them?

                At any rate, I think this is more about showing how racism still exists and also about expressing outrage at Red Lobster's policy.

                1. re: charlesbois

                  It exists and it's shameful that it does, but although clearly the victim of the racist scribbler is the chief concern, I don't like folks being tried on the internet... even folks who may be idiotic enough to sign their names to hate speech?!?! Sign of the times, I guess.

                  ETA Charlesbois is right about staying on track. This is my last swerve. Thx.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    "I don't like folks being tried on the internet."

                    There's no other place to try them but in the court of public opinion.


                2. re: pinehurst

                  In my mind yes. You want to be a dink, you should be called on it.

                  After the big black out 10 years ago they issued a watering ban in the city for about a week. Still, a day or two later there was a guy out watering his lawn. I wanted to take a picture and put it in the paper. The only thing that stopped me was money. I didn't have much.

                  You wanna be an asshole, that's up to you. But don't think it comes with impunity.


                  1. re: pinehurst

                    If he did it, he outed himself. If someone called the waitress a racist name, he has no right to complain that his racism was outed.

            2. re: pinehurst

              But this is where I said that RL could've used the "Out" they had. Just point out she was reprimanded but no other action was taken since she didn't post the pic. They had options. They just chose a very stupid one.

              I'm no graphologist but that sure seems to be the same handwriting.


              1. re: Davwud

                Great point. Red Lobster certainly made the wrong move here. It should be getting to the bottom of the situation first and foremost. There's an even larger employee issue here if the customer didn't write it [but was instead written by one of the alleged victim's co-workers].

                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                  Or the victim herself. There is a lot of information missing here. Including why a receipt was able to leave the restaurant.

                  1. re: Bigjim68

                    Do we know it left the restaurant?? Maybe her dad came to pick her up and she showed him.

                    I suppose there's also the possibility she sent him a picture of it and he posted her pic.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      Yes we know it left the restaurant. It was on Facebook, Makes no difference whether the server took a photo or stole the receipt.

                      I would be furious that my name, signature, and other information was posted. And again, all we have for evidence is the word of the server.

                      1. re: Bigjim68

                        Exactly. Companies don't want to go down as supporting racism, in any form, but they also want their customers to know that they can expect privacy and their names won't be posted online for something like this. They need to get to the bottom of it first which it sounds like they're doing. Can you imagine if they jumped on this customer and then found it a co-worker or someone else had done it as a cruel joke?

                        1. re: chowser

                          Couldn't agree more......facts before acts.....also, if true, outing a bigot on social media will not change them.....most are taught from an early age, only way to look at them is: You only live once, how sad it is to spend it hating people you don't even know. Some times this is realized, all to often though during twilight years when the candle is almost out of wax.

                        2. re: Bigjim68

                          "I would be furious that my name, signature, and other information was posted."
                          That really doesn't happen to decent human beings.

                          "And again, all we have for evidence is the word of the server."
                          That's true. At this point though, we have no reason not to believe her. But if we found out the server (or someone else did this) then heads will roll and lawsuits will be filed.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            "That really doesn't happen to decent human beings."

                            Decent human beings have bad things happen to them lots of times; having their identity stolen, computer hacked or a receipt they signed made public, etc

                            So far,all we have is the word of the server. We have no reason not to believe her because we know virtually nothing about her. The only thing we do know is that she released or allowed to be released, confidential info to be made public; which is a breach of her employers rules; as it is with virtually any employer.

                            Someone up thread said the customer denied writing the N@@@ word. We have no reason not to believe him either.

                            Maybe both the waitress and the customer are being truthful and a 3 rd party wrote the word. maybe it was a hoax, publicity stunt or a sick joke.Lots of maybes.

                            I'll wait for more facts to surface before I pass judgement as to who was "right" or "wrong" in this instance.

                            1. re: 9lives

                              "Decent human beings have bad things happen to them lots of times; having their identity stolen, computer hacked or a receipt they signed made public, etc"
                              Was this person's identity stolen?? Was their computer hacked?? That can happen to anyone. Much like getting a flat tire or sick. It isn't what is the issue here.
                              As for a decent person having their receipt posted on the internet there are a few of instances I know of. One was to show how generous a person was. One, the opposite. One was just simple jealousy on the servers part. The first one was a "Shout out." The second two the server was vilified, rightly, as the idiot.

                              If you remember back earlier in the year the young "lady" in Florida who recorded her interaction with a Dunkin Donuts employee. She ended up outing herself. It can be a dangerous game.
                              BTW, the DD employee she targeted handled it marvelously. That's how it's done.

                              People should also understand that I can find out more information about a person from the phone book than what is on that receipt.

                              I will reiterate my original point, RL had a better way to handle this. They chose not to.

                              He said/she said: Ya, that's gonna happen. I choose to believe her. The reason is, I see that kinda stuff (the comment on the receipt) happen all the time. It's out there and we all know it. What I don't get is what her motivation would be to fake it. Again, the truth will come out and if Mr. Barnes is vilified then those responsible will have the their feet held to the fire.

                              I just have a big problem with RL on this. They really could've handled this much better.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                What should RL have done? Presumed this guy was guilty w/out looking into what really happened? People have their names dragged through the mud all the time when they're innocent (Tawana Brawley?). Personally, being thought of as a racist would be life changing, given the virality of it. He could be, in which case I have no sympathy. But, what if he's not? All we have are the words of two individuals and both could be potentially telling the truth. He says he didn't write the word, she said she received the receipt that said it. But, she never said she saw him write it. RL could back the employee and then find it it was wrong. That would be disastrous, from a lawsuit standpoint but even more from a marketing stand point. "Don't go to RL. They're likely to destroy your reputation." It makes much more sense to find out what happened and then take action. There isn't an urgency to cut and then measure.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  "What should RL have done? Presumed this guy was guilty w/out looking into what really happened?"
                                  You mean should they have just believed their own employee??

                                  "being thought of as aracist would be life changing, given the virality of it. He could be, in which case I have no sympathy. But, what if he's not?"
                                  Slander lawsuit.


                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    Yes, but the employee could be telling the truth and the customer at the same time. She received the receipt w/ that written. Someone else could have done it. Innocent until proven guilty. RL doesn't want their customer base to think they will always accept the word of an employee over a customer without getting the facts.

                                    It makes sense, imo, to get the facts first and avoid a potential slander lawsuit.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      "It makes sense, imo, to get the facts first and avoid a potential slander lawsuit."

                                      I have no problem with that. That too was an option that RL had. As I stated upstream, they had options, they chose a poor one IMO.

                                      If you read, I've made only 2 absolute statements. 1) I do not like how RL handled this. 2) I'm all for people who are dicks/racist/whatever being exposed for what they are. Which you agreed with upstream.


                                  2. re: chowser

                                    To clarify, Tawana Brawley was not the innocent party.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Thanks--I couldn't remember the police officer's name, which is a good thing.

                                    2. re: chowser

                                      "No urgency" ........IMHO, this about the most accurate point made thus far. Quick judgement's based largely on emotions are more often than not bad judgement's.

                                    3. re: Davwud

                                      With extremely limited facts, you seem to want to assume that the RL customer is "not a decent human being" and somehow deserves what he gets.

                                      You believe the waitress because you "see that kinda stuff (comment on the receipt) all the time.

                                      I don't see it all the time. In fact, I rarely if ever saw it.

                                      I can't say if she "faked it" but if she did, there might be any number of reasons for motivation.

                                      I still don't understand what you'd like RL to do differently.

                                      They suspended the waitress, continue to pay her and are trying to determine the facts; which is more than you seem willing to do.

                                      1. re: 9lives

                                        First of all I find it hard to believe that you "rarely" see racism all the time. If so, I'd like to know where you live.

                                        Secondly, it's not that I WANT to assume that the RL customer is "not a decent human being." I'm assuming that if he is, being exposed for what he is, is acceptable.

                                        "somehow deserves what he gets." I love this part. You crawl down my throat for making assumptions yet you assume I believe that if she took out and AK-47 and emptied a magazine into him I'd find that acceptable.

                                        I'd like RL to have sat her down in the office, explained to her that leaking that kind of info is not acceptable and simply put a note in her file that she did. Then tell her to get back to work. If she indeed posted it, then yes, suspend/fire her. She did not post this so they had some wiggle room here. They'd have come off looking better.

                                        If any company doesn't trust their employee to be telling the truth ahead of a customer then there are bigger issues. Which, if there were, do you not think she'd have been fired??

                                        I can only comment on the info at hand. I made an assessment and provided an opinion. ON RL.

                                        The older I get the more I buy into Occam's Razor which states that "among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected."
                                        So, we have hypotheses A) The customer is a racist. B) The employee(s) of RL are engaged in a conspiracy to defame the customer.


                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          I didn't say I don't see racism occur.

                                          I said I rarely/never see racist or other ethnic slurs written on receipts. I rarely see them posted on Facebook or some website.

                                          We can go round and round about him being exposed for what he "is" but we don't know what he is.

                                          You'd like to have RL sit her down in an office and explain to her...

                                          Yes, this is likely what would have occurred if the waitress had taken the appropriate action of contacting a supervisor after seeing the offensive word on the receipt. Instead, she gave it to her father and it somehow got made public; possibly exposing RL to a lawsuit and humiliating a customer..who denies writing this on the receipt.

                                          You've said several times that the waitress didn't post the receipt. Not directly but she did make it available to someone who did. I don't really see a meaningful distinction..and as to "wiggle room," RL is still paying her.

                                          Had she reported it to her supervisor, RL would have had the opportunity to try to determine how the word got on that receipt and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

                                          As others have pointed out, both the waitress and the customer could be telling the truth and a 3rd unrelated party could have written the word.

                                          You have 2 hypotheses. I'm saying there are other hypotheses that are possible.

                                          1. re: 9lives

                                            "I said I rarely/never see racist or other ethnic slurs written on receipts. I rarely see them posted on Facebook or some website."
                                            You took what I said too literally. Racism exists and lots of forms and graffiti is just one of them. I'll claim responsibility for not being clearer.

                                            "We can go round and round about him being exposed for what he "is" but we don't know what he is."
                                            No we don't. Which is why I've never actually called him a racist. **

                                            "You have 2 hypotheses. I'm saying there are other hypotheses that are possible."
                                            Near as I can tell the only other hypotheses are 1) a random customer wrote it. 2) It appeared magically on the receipt. I'd like to hear your competing hypotheses.

                                            ** The OP posted this which solicits opinions. I've provided 2. I don't like how RL handled this and I have no problem calling out a racist.
                                            I can only comment on the facts at hand and in the absence of conflicting evidence, assume them correct.


                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              According to the latest article you linked, the server said she posted the receipt on Facebook. I thought it was posted by her dad?

                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                I saw that too.

                                                Looks like she posted it and then it went viral after her dad reposted.Or maybe, after a number of people reposted.

                                                Anyway, in light of the new evidence, she should've been suspended without pay at the very least.


                                  3. re: Davwud

                                    Are you kidding me...yes jealous or mean people set up "decent" human beings all the time!!!!

                      2. There isn't enough information to draw a conclusion, although my first response, I'll admit it that I'd never go to Red Lobster... but then I'd never have gone in the first place. It seems like there were problems between the customer and the server and we don't know where it initiated. If the guy wrote that, he deserves the repercussions, no matter how poorly the exchange went. It's inexcusable.

                        As a calligrapher, I think there is enough similarity between the two words, looking at the direction of the pen strokes in the letter N/n and also in the letter e that I'd think the same person wrote both. I'm not a graphologist so would believe it if someone told me I was wrong. That said, that doesn't mean the customer wrote it. He could have left it blank. He could have written both. I do believe, sadly, in this day and age, that people have those feelings. I'm not sure there are those who are stupid enough to write it in public, unless it's completely anonymous. Then again, I underestimate how stupid some people can be.

                        Red Lobster did not fire her but suspended her WITH pay until they could get to the bottom of it all. I'll wait for their next step before refusing to go their on these grounds (vs refusing to go there because they serve bad food).

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: chowser

                          The only side issue I have with a server being suspended "with pay" is that her base salary is what most likely is being paid [and not the tips she would have earned working].

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                            That's a good point. I hope they accommodate that.

                            1. re: chowser

                              I'll hold my breath on that one.

                              She may be a big benefactor in the future though. I can smell a lawsuit.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                Public shaming. If it occurred the way she's claimed and they don't bend over backward to make it up for her, they'll either face a Paula Deen-like uproaror have to do the right thing. I don't trust that corporations have heart but they know the bottom line.

                        2. Things a server should know for sure working for a chain after all the receipts that were leaked to the internet this summer.

                          a) you post a receipt from your job showing the name of the customer you will be fired.

                          That should pretty much cover it.

                          1. too bad they forgot the part, "suspended with pay"

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: genoO

                              No they didn't.

                              "A spokesman for Red Lobster, Mike Bernstein, said in an email to the Huffington Post that suspension with pay is “standard procedure” when company policy is violated."

                              1. re: chowser

                                That's a strange policy. In my company, there is no suspension for violating company policy. The exception would be when the facts are in doubt. There are no facts in dispute in this case unless posting of store property is permitted.