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When Digital Shaming Goes Too Far
October 15, 2011 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Meyer paid without leaving Liss any gratuity. He then took his rudeness a step further, by writing at the bottom of his bill, "P.S. You could stand to loose [sic] a few pounds." Understandably hurt, Liss did what anyone would do in this day and age: She took her anger to her computer. She posted a photo of Meyer’s receipt onto her Facebook page and wrote underneath it, "[T]he best part is he was dressed like that gay kid on Glee. Yuppie scum!"

Jezebel filed its post on Meyer under "Assholes." Dan Savage, one of the most widely read alt-weekly columnists in America, also jumped on him, Crushable picked up the Meyer story and published his full name, where he works, the name of his college, what fraternity he was in, and his full signature, all under the title, "Seattle Area Douchebag Gains Internet Notoriety For Stiffing And Insulting His Server." The article even included a passage of search terms at the end to up the likelihood it would come up if someone—employers, dates, friends—Googles Meyer’s name.

There was just one problem: They got the wrong guy.
posted by 445supermag (119 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Google will surely step up to remedy this injustice, like always.
posted by Brian B. at 7:17 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history-with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." · Mitch Ratcliffe
posted by mojohand at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2011 [70 favorites]


The outrage blogs got their traffic for the week, so really, who cares?
posted by kafziel at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why should Google fix this? They did't create the mess.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:21 PM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is there a link to the actual blog post she made?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:24 PM on October 15, 2011


Oh, to be the libel/slander attorney at the other end of Meyer's phone...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:24 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dan Savage's partial apology was so classy.
In my defense: I didn't finger the guy—he he, finger the guy—I accepted the eye witness/stiffee's ID and blogged and linked. My post amplified the stiffed bartender's misidentification and that made things worse for all those innocent Andrew Meyers out there, may they rest in peace. And I'm sorry for that—but only for that.
posted by grouse at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"GET THE PUNK ASS BASTARD! VENGEANCE IS MI- Wait, what? Who? Impossible! Awshit. Really? Damn, my bad. Uh.... terribly sorry, bro. Please don't sue me?"
posted by zarq at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there a link to the actual blog post she made?

No longer available. Someone might have a cached version somewhere.
posted by grouse at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2011


Is there a link to the actual blog post she made?

It was a photo she posted on facebook, which she has since made private, or only available for friends if not completely removed. I looked her up, since she's roughly my age in the city I went to high school in, I thought we'd have a mutual friend or something. She's put her profile on pretty major lock down.
posted by piratebowling at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2011


We have always lived in a fishbowl, the universe has a circular, fractal way of sorting things out. Nothing goes unnoticed. The internet has made this more obvious, and socially grueling. I don't care much for social gruel, preferring to make my own gruel, and sit at a distance and observe. In the case of the server, if she lets the negative energy of impotent posers, affect her, then she will have a terrible life. She can see every other facet of the diamond that is her life, but choses instead, the one with the snot on it. Then she gives herself permission to lash out, and hurt some one else, because the only way she could deal with the negative, was to be exactly as negative as the stranger to whom she paid attention. I spend some time in a public place for coffee. I have learned to listen to what people say to other people before I decide to be engaged by them. There are hardly any unpleasant people in the place, even when they are there, I never experience them. Going crazy over a tip, damn that is cheap thrills. Getting nasty over a sum under $10, that is a heady price to pay for feeling righteous, harmed, and then have vengeance. In fact that is way too much like having a safe, intimate relationship, with a stranger, only without the joygasm.
posted by Oyéah at 7:31 PM on October 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


CPB - it's not a terribly good libel case. From the stories presented, she doesn't seem to have been aware of the mistake when she made it, there's no indication the original post was made with any intent to cause real harm, and it's hard to say if actual harm has indeed been caused.
posted by kavasa at 7:31 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh hey I didn't know Alexander Payne was making a new movie.
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm, seems it's not the first time she's blamed the wrong person:

Victoria Liss, 'Loose Weight' Bartender in Wrongful-Shaming Incident, Once Got Two Wrong People Arrested and Jailed

posted by 445supermag at 7:35 PM on October 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


Going crazy over a tip, damn that is cheap thrills. Getting nasty over a sum under $10, that is a heady price to pay for feeling righteous, harmed, and then have vengeance.

This didn't get press because Liss didn't get a tip. It got press because Meyer left no tip and also wrote a nasty little message that said "You could stand to loose [sic] a few pounds" at the bottom of the receipt.
posted by grouse at 7:35 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Savage also updated his post. He wasn’t contrite, but he was about as sheepish as he gets: "[...] some are saying I shouldn't have posted this. But it was freaking everywhere already—all over Facebook, all over Jezebel—and it was a thing that happened, a thing that people were talking about, and my ignoring it or keeping it off Slog wouldn't have made a thing that didn't happen and that people weren't talking about."

Excuses don't come much lamer than "I was only part of the mob".
posted by mhoye at 7:36 PM on October 15, 2011 [40 favorites]


In my defense: I didn't finger the guy—he he, finger the guy—I accepted the eye witness/stiffee's ID and blogged and linked.

Let me translate that for you, Dan:

"In my defense, Mom: other people were throwing rocks at Andy, too."
posted by Mikey-San at 7:38 PM on October 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


As of this writing, Jezebel has yet to amend its post to say that Liss fingered the wrong Andrew Meyer.

Oh what a fucking surprise, Jezebel has once again failed to own up to their online fuckery. I AM SHOCKED AT THIS TOTALLY UNUSUAL TURN OF EVENTS.
posted by elizardbits at 7:39 PM on October 15, 2011 [37 favorites]


just one more reason to pay cash for things, i think - no one has to know your name for that
posted by pyramid termite at 7:44 PM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I tired of this crap long ago. A few years back, MetaFilter linked a story about a woman who was attempting to Googlebomb someone who, she claimed, was a Lycos employee who had been rude to her after Lycos deleted her email account. She posted the alleged email exchange on her blog, and the Internet erupted in a "FUCK THAT GUY!!" furor...based on nothing more than this anonymous woman's word.

That's what most of these stories are. It's lame. Instead of apologizing for jumping on this particular train, how about everybody opts not to board future ones. Even if the allegations are true, in most of these cases, the crime doesn't warrant an indefinite Googlebombing as punishment. Somebody wrote a nasty note to a waitress, or was rude to a customer on the phone, or asked his date to pay for half her meal after the fact...yes, it's uncool and he deserves some scorn. But not as much, or for as long, as the Internet delivers.
posted by cribcage at 7:51 PM on October 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


Griefing real life players has pitfalls.
posted by stbalbach at 7:52 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


That worked out well for everyone concerned.
posted by arcticseal at 7:52 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hmm, seems it's not the first time she's blamed the wrong person:

Victoria Liss, 'Loose Weight' Bartender in Wrongful-Shaming Incident, Once Got Two Wrong People Arrested and Jailed
Are we sure it's the same Victoria Liss?
posted by Flunkie at 7:53 PM on October 15, 2011 [35 favorites]


Liss should promptly be fired from whatever bar is stupid enough to employ her.

And every time I think I can't loathe Dan Savage any more deeply, he takes another breath.
posted by dobbs at 7:55 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


See, the thing to do isn't to tell the whole internet, just all the service and bar personnel you know. I mean, no Facebook, just make a copy of his ID. If the guy is a jerk to servers, then he deserves the appropriate kind of service.

That's it, though. Proportion.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:55 PM on October 15, 2011


kavasa: "CPB - it's not a terribly good libel case. From the stories presented, she doesn't seem to have been aware of the mistake when she made it, there's no indication the original post was made with any intent to cause real harm, and it's hard to say if actual harm has indeed been caused."

His name and all relevant pers information, pegging him as a slug, all over the internet til the end of time, seems that might cause real harm; too bad he has nowhere to turn for justice in this.

And okay, so she didn't know she was slagging the wrong person. But let's say I'm driving drunk, and kill someone I don't know due to my irresponsibility -- I'd still have to make some sort of payback. So she didn't kill him, sure, but can we just say anything about anyone, on a huge platform?
posted by dancestoblue at 8:11 PM on October 15, 2011


Next time I ( get bad service / am a jerk / am broke ) and decide to leave no tip, I'll just sign the receipt "Victoria Liss". Problem solved!
posted by hattifattener at 8:12 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is exactly this kind of self-righteous reactionary crap that made me stop reading Dan Savage and The Stranger as a whole.
posted by dhalgren at 8:19 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know, I'm no lawyer, but it seems like a pretty good libel case to me just based on my layman's understanding. Wikipedia tells me that in you have to prove three things:
  1. The statement is false.
  2. The statement caused harm.
  3. The statement was made without adequate research into its truthfulness.
#1 and #2 seem like no-brainers (for "he stiffed me and put me down for my weight"; obviously "he's a jerk" can't be proven false). I guess #3 could be argued back and forth, but it sure seems like she didn't adequately research it to me.

Side note: Am I to understand that I can publish provably false statements that cause harm, and as long as I did adequately research whether they're true or not (i.e. I know for sure that I am lying), I am not committing libel? That seems kind of weird.posted by Flunkie at 8:21 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Liss should promptly be fired from whatever bar is stupid enough to employ her.

"We've self-righteously kneejerked our way into this mess, and by god, we're going to self-righteously kneejerk our way out of it."
posted by mhoye at 8:24 PM on October 15, 2011 [53 favorites]


And bloggers are supposed to be the answer to the downfall of journalism. Yes, this will end well.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:27 PM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Liss should promptly be fired from whatever bar is stupid enough to employ her.

"We've self-righteously kneejerked our way into this mess, and by god, we're going to self-righteously kneejerk our way out of it."


Um... no. Bars are places where people should be able to come and have an evening without having their name slandered across an international message board even if they have done untoward things to their server. The bar itself didn't do the slandering in any official capacity -- Liss took it upon herself to enact personal revenge for what she felt was a personal attack. She's a liability as an employee and her employer should get rid of her before she causes actual damage to their client base.
posted by hippybear at 8:29 PM on October 15, 2011


Yeah, I'm thinking this has "Dooced" written all over it.
posted by Gator at 8:31 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, how does that saying go - point a finger and three others point back?
posted by Calzephyr at 8:34 PM on October 15, 2011


Am I misunderstanding the story, or is it Crushable, not Victoria Liss who should be apologizing to Andrew Meyer in Texas? I have the impression that Liss only exposed the receipt with the name Andrew Meyer. And she put it on her own Facebook page, which is public, but not something normally seen by thousands of people. From the linked articles, it looks like the people at Crushable are the ones who tracked down the wrong guy. I don't see anything wrong with posting the receipt on FB. The guy who stiffed her is a douche. Am I missing something?
posted by Loudmax at 8:35 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh goody, I am so glad that social media lets us look up any poor bastard with a dirt common/generic name so that something like this can happen.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:36 PM on October 15, 2011


As a possible aspie, I can't tell if the outrage is because the guy didn't tip or if the guy couldn't spell. Or whether the waitress could stand to exercise more.

We live in the age of "celebrity," now. Since Moore's Law is getting discussion about the "every two years" thing, maybe we should revise Warhol's 15 minute of fame into "15 seconds of fame... with a long tail."
posted by porpoise at 8:37 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, Crushable has this post which states that Liss herself dug up the wrong picture.
posted by hippybear at 8:39 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some posts have mentioned a review on Yelp that seems to give the other side of the story. Basically, in addition to terrible service, Liss offended his girlfriend by making a comment about how "you could use a little extra weight", and the theory is that the "you could stand to loose a few pounds" comment was a retort to that.

There was also someone going around noting comments from Liss' facebook, where she herself posted various insults, including making fun of others' weight ("Apparently that tubby queen with the woman voice from Chelsea Lately was at Rebar last night....").

And Loudmax, apparently Liss posted a photo of the wrong Andrew Meyer first on facebook.
posted by razdrez at 8:40 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyway, isn't taking someone's information from a restaurant receipt and then doing research on that name on the internet pretty much considered internet stalking? Or at least early stages of it?

Gods, I'm glad I maintain a pretty low-key non-social-media internet presence. I tend not to be douchy to people in public, but if I ever am this kind of thing can never happen to me. Either as the intended target or by mistake.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on October 15, 2011


It's amazing how we choose truthiness over the truth every time.

Dan Savage can be very puerile, but this one takes the cake for 8 year old behavior. From the beginning he's couching everything in "well, Jezebel made me do it" and then he when the mob's clearly got the wrong guy he quickly waves that excuse around.

Dan Savage is to (GLBT culture||alt-weeklies||sex columnists) what Michael Arrington was to the tech industry: A self-important jerk who says one good, smart thing for every five stupid, childish, vindictive things he throws out there, all while wearing the "journalist" hat when it's convenient then quickly ripping it off the moment it's inconvenient.

And sadly, they're both Seattle residents.

Savage isn't the problem here -- an entire city accepting a good story as true without checking the facts first is -- but he's got a role in fomenting things, and his Family Circus style "Not Me did it!" response is just another sad example of him not being willing to grow up already.
posted by dw at 8:43 PM on October 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


Hippybear, that's what I was missing. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by Loudmax at 8:49 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The kindergarten glee with which many people on the internet decide to mob up against random strangers is the real culprit here. That they were wrong is besides the point.
They'd still be guilty even if they'd been right.
posted by signal at 8:51 PM on October 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm more offended by the fact that he wrote "loose" instead of "lose" than by either the poor tipping or the insult.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:54 PM on October 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


Some posts have mentioned a review on Yelp that seems to give the other side of the story.

That review doesn't line up with the events given. The bill is $28.98; before tax it'd be $26.34. Deduct the two $10 margaritas and that's $6.34 -- which pays for one plate of food, not two, and not the double-decker tacos commented on. And he says there were things on the ticket that he didn't dispute.

And on top of that, the Andrew Meyer incident didn't happen at Bimbo's but downstairs in the Cha Cha.

Given how terrible the service is at both places (and seriously, it's horrid, and the food at Bimbo's is a food poisoning nightmare) the fact someone had bad service like this isn't surprising. But donuts to dollars this isn't Andrew Meyer.
posted by dw at 8:58 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm with infinitywaltz on this one, but I'll go one step further. If a few innocent people must have their reputations ruined in order that this great nation might learn how to spell "lose", then....so be it.
posted by facetious at 9:00 PM on October 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


More than any other typo, "loose"/"lose" drives me up the fucking wall. I think it's because the two words are actually pronounced differently. I can sort of ignore their/there/they're, etc, but "loose"/"lose" makes my brain do one of those record-scratch things. Ugh.
posted by kmz at 9:08 PM on October 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


What kmz said.
posted by bongo_x at 9:19 PM on October 15, 2011


If a few innocent people must have their reputations ruined in order that this great nation might learn how to spell "lose", then....so be it.

You put an extra dot in your ellipsis.

Runs away, cackling in pedantic glee
posted by tzikeh at 9:20 PM on October 15, 2011 [31 favorites]


Set those pounds loose!
posted by Loudmax at 9:21 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this hit all the local blogs and the r/seattle reddit and all that crap, and it was really embarrassingly petty and regrettable from the beginning.

Yeah, a jackass wrote a shitty comment on a receipt, probably took the low road. Whether or not it was in reaction to poor service or a bad attitude is irrelevant.

Waitress reacts to shitty comment and tries to wrangle internet army of outrage over some (pardon me) douchebag's commentary, also taking the low road regardless of who is right.

People titter about it, film at 11. Lame. And Capitol Hill in Seattle is sometimes too damn small and full of cranky hipsters.

Also, the food at Bimbos is bloody atrocious. I would trust McDonald's to know more about Mexican food than they apparently do.
posted by loquacious at 9:29 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, I've come to hate eating in restaurants.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:32 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was wondering if this would show up here, and considered posting it myself. Fun fact: I defriended someone over this incident.

This person was a service industry person on the Hill until a few months ago, and did far more than her fair share on her own FB wall to immediately forward the guy's FB link with Liss' side of the story, and scathing calls for some kind of "group action", raging at great length and calling pictures of the dude on his FB "Hitler youth". I was one of the only people commenting who said "You know, this isn't cool, and it's really petty; best move when you get no tip or even an insult is to forget about it and move on", to which she replied with a scathing torrent of words about how awful this insult was, and how this guy needed to be taught a lesson.

Fast forward a couple of days, I post the updates on the Seattle PI site to her wall and point out "Well, looks like you were targeting the wrong dude", and at no point would she admit she might have been in the wrong to post someone's personal information. Instead she got in a huff about how that's not the important part at all, and hey so what if this guy was mis-named, the important part is how awful a service industry worker's job is, how much "shit" they have to take (unlike the rest of us at our own jobs of course, which are Edenic paradises of smooth personal interactions), and how insults like that simply can't be tolerated.

Suffice to say, after some contentious back and forth where she astonishingly managed to show far less contrition than even Dan Savage, I sent her a mail and defriended her on FB. I wouldn't be surprised if her next wall post was saying how awful a person I am.


This episode only further supports my current pet theory that many service industry people, at least those on the Hill, are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Actually, I think that's true of most people, but I'm still refining this theory. :)

I have consistently had great interactions wherever I go, but it's like making nice with a room full of convicts; you're always on eggshells. No matter how polite I am, or how good the service I always get everywhere I go... it's not possible to miss the undercurrent that my good stead among bartenders and waitresses on the hill is contingent on my steady good tipping and being a quiet well-mannered person... but as can be seen, one tiny slip of the tongue and the wrath of Capitol Hill hipsters/servers would turn on me as surely as it did some random dude from Texas.

Cha-Cha is hipster central on the Hill, too, so that's one more reason to never go there. From what I have heard from comments and links (and screenshots of the FB posts before they went down), the owners support Liss in her actions, because why would they think she'd done anything negative?

On Capitol Hill, the customer is always wrong.
posted by hincandenza at 9:38 PM on October 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Are we sure it's the same Victoria Liss?

Are we sure we care?
posted by Grimgrin at 9:42 PM on October 15, 2011


FFS, I hate to be the one to sit here and defend Dan Savage, but...

The whole blogosphere is based around taking tiny news fragments and writing outraged blog posts about them. MetaFilter manages to filter most of this out, but how many times does someone make an FPP, the first dozen comments are people shrieking "THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER" and then someone pops in and says "actually, guys, that isn't quite true..."

Dan Savage heard a story on the web, he wrote his opinion about it, and then the original story was proven wrong. Are you absolutely sure no one here would have done the same if the story got posted to the blue before the truth came out?
posted by auto-correct at 9:45 PM on October 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Posting personal information is expressly forbidden here.
posted by Gator at 9:50 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


That they were wrong is besides the point.

It's "beside", not "besides". Or were you being ironic?
posted by marble at 9:51 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dan Savage heard a story on the web, he wrote his opinion about it, and then the original story was proven wrong. Are you absolutely sure no one here would have done the same if the story got posted to the blue before the truth came out?

I would like to think anybody here would post a real apology, not a non-apology/rationalization.
posted by kmz at 9:56 PM on October 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


If a few innocent people must have their reputations ruined in order that this great nation might learn how to spell "lose", then....so be it.

"A few?"

"Reputations ruined?"

If 90 percent of the earth's population has to perish in flames for the remaining 10 percent to stop putting an extra "o" in the word "lose," IT WILL BE WORTH IT.

Why, yes! As a matter of fact, I HAVE been drinking! Why do you ask?
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:20 PM on October 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ever wonder why those rashes of credit card theft keep happening on Cap Hill? It's because the owners of dives like Bimbo's don't give a fuck what their employees do with your credit cards or receipts.

Sorry you got butthurt, V-Liss. I'd want to humiliate the guy, too, but you've just demonstrated your ability to commit ID fraud and Bimbo's hasn't done a thing about it. Anybody smart will avoid both of you like the plague.
posted by SakuraK at 10:24 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


*nods, tosses infinitywaltz a beer*
posted by mannequito at 10:27 PM on October 15, 2011


Yeah, this'd be a great case for libel suits all around — sort of a weird inverse of a class action lawsuit, where there are actually just too many defendants.

And something impressed upon me in j-school is that the vast, vast majority of libel suits that newspapers lose are for identifying the wrong person in, essentially, local news stories. Reprinting someone else's libelous accusation is not a defense against libel suits.
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know Victoria and I saw it propagating when she posted it. It's a case of mistaken identity not particularly unique to Facebook, but people propagated it because that's what people do now. Though a friend of mine actually posted saying "are we sure this is the right guy?" - but there isn't much you can do once the crowd starts moving.

For what it's worth, Victoria's cool and this was just an accident that spiraled out of control. She posted it, and from that moment the cat was out of the bag. Once people are spreading screenshots of the update and the receipt, it's over whether Victoria wanted it over or not. The blogs would have picked up on it and posted it anyway before the correct info propagated, and then corrected later and taken the post down or updated it.

It's basic human error, amplified a million times. At OWS when thousands repeat what someone says, they call it the human microphone. Here, apparently, it's ID fraud.

And SakuraK, feel free to avoid all my dives like the plague. It doesn't sound like they would like you very much either.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:40 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't slander me bro
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:52 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'd characterize any malicious act as "human error," and chalking the fracas up to "the crowd moving" and just shrugging about it seems to conveniently ignore the fact that somebody pointed that crowd in a particular direction.

The crowd bears its own responsibility, for certain. But so does its initial instigator.
posted by cribcage at 11:57 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see her pull this shit with Mr Pink.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:58 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


FFS, I hate to be the one to sit here and defend Dan Savage, but...

The whole blogosphere is based around taking tiny news fragments and writing outraged blog posts about them. MetaFilter manages to filter most of this out, but how many times does someone make an FPP, the first dozen comments are people shrieking "THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER" and then someone pops in and says "actually, guys, that isn't quite true..."

Dan Savage heard a story on the web, he wrote his opinion about it, and then the original story was proven wrong. Are you absolutely sure no one here would have done the same if the story got posted to the blue before the truth came out?


Yeah, people here do that constantly. I love being told I'm victim-blaming when I suggest we don't have enough information to jump to snap judgments and kneejerk outrage like that.
posted by kafziel at 12:00 AM on October 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Especially when it sounds like she's made pretty much the exact same error in the past, also with negative consequences for innocent people.

The previous episode also sounds completely implausible the way she presented it, so I have my doubts that it was just an innocent mistake.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:01 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's basic human error, amplified a million times. At OWS when thousands repeat what someone says, they call it the human microphone.

Strange. I thought we called it "spreading rumor" or "a giant game of telephone." I can tell you my Twitter stream the last week has been saturated by people in Seattle, Denver, and NYC spreading "what they heard" as much as what they actually saw.

Here, apparently, it's ID fraud.

It's only been a year since the huge wave of ID fraud hit the Hill, and they're still not sure whether it was a software breach or a skimming restaurant employee. For some people seeing a bartender post a restaurant receipt is going to reinforce the idea that the latter is the problem.
posted by dw at 12:09 AM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cha-Cha is hipster central on the Hill

Really? I thought that honor belongs to Linda's.
posted by dw at 12:10 AM on October 16, 2011


For what it's worth, Victoria's cool and this was just an accident that spiraled out of control.

No, she's pretty much a prize arsehole.
posted by rodgerd at 12:11 AM on October 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Does the restaurant owner know about this or are they keeping it quiet down on the restaurant floor? I wouldn't want to go to a restaurant with a waitress who isn't above using customer credit card information for personal use, particularly if that involved posting private customer information to the fucking internet.
posted by pracowity at 12:25 AM on October 16, 2011


There is a huge lawsuit about to happen regarding Cha-Cha and their employee Ms. Liss. And Ms, Liss is very soon going to find herself unemployable in the service industry save for those establishments that advocate supersizing. And maybe not even those.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:29 AM on October 16, 2011


Thank you Capitol Hill Seattle, for making my neighborhood, Belltown / LQA, look like saints. Let me tell you, that takes a lot of work, but you guys pulled it off. Congratulations all around.

I'm thinking breakfast burritos at Bang Bang cafe tomorrow, where they not only know how to make a decent burrito, but they're, you know, nice and shit.
posted by formless at 12:34 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Nancy Grace also waited tables.
posted by Dagobert at 12:44 AM on October 16, 2011


So I can be walking along the street in the USA, minding my own business, and the cops can grab me and ask an attention whore: "is this the guy who called you a faggot and threatened to kill you?" and the attention whore answers "yes" and now I'm in jail, and my life is turned upside down for several months?

WTF America?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:57 AM on October 16, 2011


BlackLeotardFront: "For what it's worth, Victoria's cool and this was just an accident that spiraled out of control."

Guess we're going to have to agree to disagree, there.
posted by danny the boy at 1:16 AM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


This episode only further supports my current pet theory that many service industry people, at least those on the Hill, are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

Maybe it's a bubbling rage at having to get paid well below minimum wage and depend on the goodwill of strangers to make a living?
posted by bleep at 1:23 AM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


bleep: "Maybe it's a bubbling rage at having to get paid well below minimum wage and depend on the goodwill of strangers to make a living?"

1. I understand the frustration.
2. Taking it out on the customer doesn't seem like a winning strategy if your goal is to get better tips.
3. And yet somehow there exists service people who aren't filled with bubbling rage.

I was buying ice cream and this woman with the most startling good attitude helped me. She made conversation with me in a way that felt like I wasn't just another faceless customer she had to get through before break, and had such a genuine smile that I still haven't forgotten days later. Even though it was ridiculously hot out, and the store had been busy all day with customers. She handed me my ice cream and then the girl behind the register, who looked like she wanted to kill me and everyone else in the world, took my money with a scowl, and didn't bother to acknowledge me when I said "thanks."

The tragedy here isn't that I had to deal with Stabby McSourpuss, it's that they all shared one tip jar.
posted by danny the boy at 1:46 AM on October 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


"...and everyone was an asshole and together they made the world a minutely more shitty place to live in. The end. Good night, son."
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:37 AM on October 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


For what it's worth, Victoria's cool and this was just an accident that spiraled out of control.

Spilling a plate of soup on a customer is an accident.

Taking his credit card details, looking up his personal info. and then putting him up for a human flesh search by all the service industry staff who ever felt aggrieved because they got stiffed on a tip? I don't know what you call that, but accident isn't what springs to my mind.

It's all the more irritating because there's just one side of the argument. Who knows why the customer decided not to tip her? Perhaps she was incompetent? Or rude? The response certainly sounds like the kind of thing someone might say in retaliation for an earlier slight.

America needs to join the rest of the world when it comes to tipping. Pay your service staff minimum wage and let a tip be a genuine gratuity, provided when the customer feels its warranted at a level the customer feels is appropriate.

I have a woman friend who once told me about spending an uncomfortable evening eating in a restaurant in Little Italy with some women friends. When the male waiters weren't neglecting them, they were leering and making obnoxious comments about how the party were obviously all lesbians, eating as three women alone. The behaviour of the service staff completely ruined their evening, and they left the restaurant early and went home.

"You didn't leave them a tip, did you?"

Of course they did. They left whatever the standard tip is supposed to be. Double the tax or whatever. It had never even occurred to these professional women in their late thirties that tipping might not be an option.

The only tip they'd have got from me is the tip of my foot in their collective arseholes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:52 AM on October 16, 2011 [18 favorites]


It's always struck me that the idea that paying terrible wages to service staff and then subsidising those wages by making it a societal pressure to tip is one of the most American things there is.
posted by fullerine at 4:15 AM on October 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


How do we really know that anyone other than Victoria actually wrote the "loose some weight" comment. I wouldn't put it past a person with her track record to add that to the slip knowing that merely getting stiffed would not drum up the outrage she desired.
posted by jayder at 5:26 AM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's always struck me that the idea that paying terrible wages to service staff and then subsidising those wages by making it a societal pressure to tip is one of the most American things there is.

Well, just for the record, WA state doesn't allow restaurants and bars to pay below minimum wage to staff and let them try to make up the difference in tips. ALL workers in the state of WA are paid at least minimum wage, and for those in the restaurant/bar service industry, tips are truly gratuity on top of their pay.

This means that eating out in WA costs more than in most other states I've lived in, but I'm okay with that.
posted by hippybear at 5:42 AM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, hey! Look! Cord Jefferson! Went to high school with that kid; he wasn't nearly as jerkish as he made himself out to be back then. (Yes, I double checked the picture... =)
posted by carsonb at 5:43 AM on October 16, 2011


Hi, I used to work at the Cha Cha about ten years ago when it was at its old location. I don't know Victoria as she was way past my time there but I can say that the owners will not fire her and they support their employees sometimes to their detriment but they have a lot of loyalty. I still know a lot of the employees there as there are some definitely long timers. The Cha Cha has ALWAYS been the "hipster haven" in Seattle. If you care about such things, don't go. I happened to know and love very many people who went there and worked there.

Sidenote: From my Seattle experience the credit card fraud is most likely the work of meth addicts. I know they were huge into check fraud a decade ago and this seems like another side of the same coin.

Sidenote II: Oh god I hate "loose"/"lose" misuse as well.

Sidenote III: I know the owners of the Bang Bang and was at one of their weddings a few months ago. They are both very sweet and it was a wonderful wedding. I used to work with Yuki's husband Shawn, very many years ago. So, tell them a guy you don't know from the internet says hi.
posted by josher71 at 6:17 AM on October 16, 2011


Dan Savage is a hero of mine.

But he was a bully here. And he has been making anti-bullying campaigning a signature issue. I think he needs to do a lot more for this guy. And if he gets sued, sad to say, I think he deserves it.

Less sad if the Gawkermedia gets nailed for this.
posted by oneironaut at 6:22 AM on October 16, 2011


No one posts a picture of the guy who sold them a sub-prime mortgage which they couldn't repay. It's always the little stuff.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:38 AM on October 16, 2011 [13 favorites]


In Arlington we deal with these customers properly. We punch him in the dick!.
posted by humanfont at 7:09 AM on October 16, 2011


Has anyone ever used this sort of knee-jerk torch-and-pitchfork Internet mentality (which is as common here on MetaFilter as anywhere) for explicit, malicious evil? It seems like it wouldn't be very hard to ruin one of your enemy's lives with a well-placed but totally false rumor that spreads like wildfire through the net.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:10 AM on October 16, 2011


A good rule of thumb; before you post anything on the internet in a rage, sleep on it first. The internet will still be there in the morning.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:16 AM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


@humanfont Well, there would be no mistaken identity then.

@Bookhouse That has been around for a lot longer then the net. There is an old joke about someone running for mayor in Texas in which he instructs his aid to start a rumour that his opponent has sexual relations with animals. "But no one will believe that" "Not until he tries to deny it"

@hippybear Yeah, but minimum wage in America is something stupidly small. Jump it to at least $9/hour and that might be a solution.
posted by Canageek at 7:37 AM on October 16, 2011


Capitol Hill bartender Victoria Liss made national news this week when she posted a photograph on Facebook

...

So, yeah. Tomorrow I'm going to finally start on that whole "building a rocket in my backyard" project. Earth, it's been...charming.
posted by byanyothername at 7:37 AM on October 16, 2011


@hippybear Yeah, but minimum wage in America is something stupidly small. Jump it to at least $9/hour and that might be a solution.

Canageek: Minimum wage in WA state is the highest in the country -- $8.67/hour.

It will be $9.01/hour starting Jan 1, 2012.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 AM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Won't someone please think of the poor line cooks who have to put up with waitstaff 40 hours a week, and who often don't get a share of the tips?

[goes out back to the cardboard recycling area to smoke a bronto with the dishwasher]
posted by KokuRyu at 8:21 AM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know, she SOOOO mishandled this. If she is as endowed as she says she is, then she should have hit 4ch, offered photo ops for dox, and avoided this whole screwup.

(Wow, I so sound like I know what the hell I am talking about.)

And, when I used to wait tables, I had a strict 50/50 deal with the line staff. Not like I could get a tip if they were slacking off.
posted by Samizdata at 8:25 AM on October 16, 2011


Spilling a plate of soup on a customer is an accident.

Taking his credit card details, looking up his personal info. and then putting him up for a human flesh search by all the service industry staff who ever felt aggrieved because they got stiffed on a tip? I don't know what you call that, but accident isn't what springs to my mind.


This. If I was the victim in this matter (and that is completely the appropriate term to use) I would be suing both the waitress and the restaurant right now. And that the restaurant isn't smart enough to know this and hasn't kicked her ass onto the street already astounds me.

And yes, it's shameful that the guy who created an anti-bullying campaign is shrugging over being a bully because a Lord-of-the-Flies pig hunt got the best of him.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:39 AM on October 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


Some days, I am so glad that I have almost no Internet presence... no Facebook, no blog baring my sensitive soul to the world, and the digital camera didn't exist when most of my indictable youthful behaviour was committed.

Slight derail

Q. What's the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?
A: A canoe will tip.

In this economy, every time we dine out is a small celebration that we are still both working and can still afford to. So this Canadian is trying to be a little more grateful, and I've been usually tipping 20% for good service.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:06 AM on October 16, 2011


This means that eating out in WA costs more than in most other states I've lived in, but I'm okay with that.

Not that much more, really. Maybe $1 a person per meal. You feel it more in fast food than in sit-down food.

There was a story on NPR a few years ago about the Washington/Idaho border towns and how the massive disparity between WA and ID minimum wage affects the restaurant industry. The upshot: Not a whole lot. People on the Washington side of the border pay a little more, but typically won't drive across the border because a burger is $1 cheaper. On the Idaho side of the border, the main issue is restaurants holding onto their workers, knowing they can get $4-5/hr more in WA.
posted by dw at 9:42 AM on October 16, 2011


Not that much more, really. Maybe $1 a person per meal.

Well, that's not my experience. Meals I'd expect to pay $8-12/plate for in Arizona or New Mexico are $12-15/plate in WA.

It's not THAT much, but it's enough to be noticed. It's certainly not, say, the difference between eating out in Spokane and in places like Boston or NYC. That's nearly a doubling in price, but probably for different reasons other than minimum wage rate differences between the states.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 AM on October 16, 2011


Well, that's not my experience. Meals I'd expect to pay $8-12/plate for in Arizona or New Mexico are $12-15/plate in WA.

But the cost of living in general is higher in WA than in Arizona or New Mexico. There are far too many factors at play to do a straight comparison like that. The same meal would likely be even more expensive in Hawaii but that likely has little to do with wage laws.
posted by Justinian at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Q. What's the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?
A: A canoe will tip.

In this economy, every time we dine out is a small celebration that we are still both working and can still afford to. So this Canadian is trying to be a little more grateful, and I've been usually tipping 20% for good service.


Since BC introduced a 12% HST, I've stopped dining out altogether. It just is not worth it, based on the value for money you (don't) get for food and service.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on October 16, 2011


"But the cost of living in general is higher in WA than in Arizona or New Mexico. There are far too many factors at play to do a straight comparison like that. The same meal would likely be even more expensive in Hawaii but that likely has little to do with wage laws."

Nothing to do with minimum wage, but one of my regular annoyances when visiting my family back in Ann Arbor, Mi., is the number of Ann Arbor restaurants that want LA prices for entrees. The cheap beer ("Really? Four dollars for a pint of Bells?") almost makes up for it, but when I get bland thai food for $14 a plate, I can't help but be annoyed.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? Four dollars for a pint of Bells?

Four dollars a pint is cheap? In Seattle I wouldn't regard that as expensive, but neither would I call it cheap.
posted by grouse at 11:04 AM on October 16, 2011


But the cost of living in general is higher in WA than in Arizona or New Mexico. There are far too many factors at play to do a straight comparison like that. The same meal would likely be even more expensive in Hawaii but that likely has little to do with wage laws.

Well, that's not necessarily true. It's really difficult to do straight comparisons because COL varies by city as well as by state. For example, comparing Spokane, WA to Las Cruces, NM shows that a wage of $50K in Spokane would require the equivalent of $53.5K in Las Cruces to come out the same in spending power. Making that same comparison using Seattle instead of Spokane, and you'd only have to make $41K in Cruces to come out the same.

I'll grant you that COL is cheaper overall in AZ and NM vs WA, but we're talking strictly restaurant pricing here, not housing or healthcare or any of that other stuff. When I first moved here, I was always surprised at how much more a meal cost in a restaurant here than in those other two states in which I'd lived. It's all about perception and the price on the menu.

Anyway, this is a derail, and I'm done with it now.
posted by hippybear at 11:10 AM on October 16, 2011


In LA for a pint of craft beer, you're usually looking at $6 to $10. The rare times that I've seen Bell's out here, it's always been north of $10.
posted by klangklangston at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2011


The Facebook page, Boycott Cha Cha Cha till Victoria Liss is gone, doesn't seem as popular or as active as its creators may have hoped.
posted by fredludd at 12:10 PM on October 16, 2011


Shocking that people who are against whipping up Internet mobs based on little evidence don't want to join their Internet mob.
posted by grouse at 12:37 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see this incident got the NMA animation treatment.
posted by Tube at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2011


Heh.
posted by grouse at 6:56 PM on October 16, 2011


Why should Google fix this? They did't create the mess.

Because they can. Although it seems this one's on the way to redemption.

But it raises the point. One day Google will facilitate a new holocaust, and nobody will notice it was really them.
posted by Brian B. at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2011


"You cold [sic] stand to loose [sic] a few pounds"
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:02 AM on October 17, 2011


Sidenote: From my Seattle experience the credit card fraud is most likely the work of meth addicts. I know they were huge into check fraud a decade ago and this seems like another side of the same coin.

Fun local fact, a few years ago, the morning news reports one of the members of Queensryche was busted for running an ID theft ring that would raid mailboxes out on the eastside. In the end, it turns out the guy had only played in a band with a Queensryche member. A sort of double-ID theft situation.

I would laugh if Bimbo's lost their ability to take credit cards over this.
posted by nomisxid at 9:54 AM on October 17, 2011


I used to know some meth addicts and they would do things like steal mail keys and open up the mailboxes to look for valuables. They were real assholes.

I would laugh if Bimbo's lost their ability to take credit cards over this.

Yeah, not me. It still employs my friends.
posted by josher71 at 10:03 AM on October 17, 2011


("Really? Four dollars for a pint of Bells?")

Last spring I was driving to visit family in Western Michigan when my nephew called and said: "Meet me at the bar. It's Wednesday night, Bell's Oberon, $5 a pitcher."
I tipped the bartender. Oh, you know I did.
posted by Floydd at 1:39 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever had a beer at Captain Jack's in Sister Lakes, Michigan?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:19 PM on October 17, 2011


Bell's Oberon, $5 a pitcher

tell me more of this wonderful place.

You can occasionally find a deal for $10 or so for a pitcher of Bell's in the Twin Cities, if you're lucky and know the right people.

Talking about beer is a lot better use of the internet than whatever the fuck this embarrassing kerfuffle is.
posted by Think_Long at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2011


The Facebook page, Boycott Cha Cha Cha till Victoria Liss is gone, doesn't seem as popular or as active as its creators may have hoped.

and also wrote that Victoria Liss is a "weightress" which is either worse than loose/lose or a great pun/play on the offending note.
posted by xetere at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2011


Ugh. For anyone still following this story, NBC's Today Show filmed in Seattle last Friday. Their stories were a pathetic coffee competiton, the show's hostesses shopping at Nordstrom while trying to ignore the Occupy Seatttle events in the same plaza, and Victoria Liss sniveling just like she did for Dan Savage. Video here.

They conveniently forgot to mention the whole famewhore-witch-hunt thing. Seriously NBC? You can take hours to shellack her with makeup but you can't bother to confirm her story? Sorry that someone was mean, Victoria, but way to play it to the max. Has anyone even established that the customer's first name is Andrew, since all the A. Meyers so far have been falsely accused? Isn't anyone else bothered by her chavvette rant about the fictional A. Meyers' skinny gold Kate Spade bearing girlfriend? I'm so tired of classist bullshit and the people who perpetrate it to try to elevate themselves.

I have never been more ashamed to say I live in Seattle. As a feminist, I shouldn't have to put up with this opportunist representing my city. (that's a reference to v-liss whining about how as a feminist she shouldn't have to put up with being butthurt when she was mean and it backfired).
posted by SakuraK at 11:02 PM on October 23, 2011


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