If you haven’t been sitting online all day or, you know, care about important things, I will forgive you for not knowing about the supernova scale meltdown of husband and wife team at Amy’s Baking Company. What started as, perhaps, the most ridiculous episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordan Ramsay of all time (including Gordan walking off of his own show) has cascaded into an online public relations disaster for the horrible owners. The Huffington Post gives us the backstory:
One has to wonder what possessed Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Ariz., to behave the way they did on last Friday’s episode of “Kitchen Nightmares.” It’s saying something that host Gordon Ramsay comes off as the reasonable, even-keeled one.
The British chef walked off the program for the first time in the show’s history, after the couple’s antics and finger pointing proved unsurmountable challenges. Some of the more memorable moments: the couple pocketed the waitstaff’s tips, admitted to firing more than 100 people, picked a fight with a customer who’d been waiting an hour for his pizza and served up pre-made frozen raviolis.
While it is impressive that owners Amy and Samy were so awful that they failed at a show called “Kitchen Nightmares”, what happened next is just pure insanity. After the episode aired, their Facebook page was, as tends to happen when you willingly invite publicity into your place of business and then spend an hour making everyone hate your guts, inundated with negative comments about the owners and how they ran their business. Being completely reasonable people, they apologized for their awful behavior, explained it was stress and personal problems, and vowed to make big improvements to earn the respect of their customers again. Nah, just kidding. They flipped out completely.
This was followed by increasingly angry and increasingly caps locked messages that had the only real effect of making the Internet’s self appointed warrior bees swarm.
And just like that, Amy’s Baking Company set themselves up to feel the full wrath of millions of people who thrive on this kind of thing. The troll campaign began in earnest.
Eventually, maybe a concerned friend or relative, called Amy’s and said something along the lines of “Hey, I know you’re upset but, and I’m just spitballing here, maybe you should get rid of the messages that call all of your potential customers and the world as a whole godless morons. Again, not my place but like, maybe even just delete every message and call it a night?”. Sensing their entire business in jeopardy, the intrepid owners deleted all messages, took a break and hatched a scheme to damage control what was clearly very severe damage:
So they said they were hacked. And it worked about as well as when Anthony Wiener tried that excuse. That is to say, it backfired miserably and made them look even worse. I think Amy and Samy might be proving those AA meetings wrong, there really is no such thing as rock bottom. The hole can just keep getting deeper.
While most people either enjoy the terrible owners getting their (pre-made, store bought, microwaved) just desserts or find themselves relishing the sheer idiocy of these people with unabashed abandon, I can’t help but feel a little bad for them. Sure they are entirely responsible for their terrible behavior, but they are also victims of a world that they do not understand. The internet is a wonderful place, and I’m sure they were excited to establish their official restaurant facebook page, but they clearly did not understand how this medium fully works. It was like Cortes’ first meeting with the Aztecs. The disconnect between the two parties was a wide margin.
Samy, the chief writer of the facebook posts, did not know that the world online works very differently than the real world (although, ironically, it works nearly identically to MTV’s “The Real World”). He seemed to be under the assumption that if somebody has a problem with him, they need to settle it in the traditional fashion: Someone insults you, you insult them back, they insult your mother, you tell them to step outside, you throw a few haymakers, friends break you up, you go home and tell your friends how they should have seen the other guy. But on the internet, it’s an ethereal target. There is no location at which to direct your fury. You become a babbling maniac, made even more frustrated by the fact that no one seems to be getting hurt by your attacks. Even worse, the internet doesn’t care about what you say, just as long as you say it. They are like your older brother: They are just looking for a reaction. If it’s in caps lock then even better.
It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Samy and Amy had absolutely no idea how the internet works. At various times they threatened to sue Yelp and Reddit. Get the FBI involved. Challenged the entire internet to come to their restaurant to fight. Didn’t know who Patton Oswalt was. I mean, these guys were clearly out of their league here.
The only consolation that these people have is that they will inevitably get a few interviews with Matt Lauer and Jimmy Kimmel or at the very least Opie and Anthony, and most likely (because we have passed the Rubicon of even appearing to care about anything) they will be approached by TLC to make a show that will last a couple of seasons. So Reddit is claiming victory here (yay, we made stupid people look stupid!), but to the losers go the spoils.