Grocery Store Rep. Confronts Tweeting Customer

Store public relations representative calls customer "destructive and negative."

ByABC News
October 19, 2010, 12:02 PM

Oct. 20, 2010— -- It all started with a simple tweet from a grocery store aisle last month.

"Every time I go to @PriceChopperNY I realize why they r not @wegmans . Tonight -bare produce areas & this sign 4 ex" tweeted @jjhoster, a disappointed Price Chopper customer in Syracuse, N.Y.

In his tweet, Jonathan Hoster, a senior admission officer at Syracuse University, had included a picture of Price Chopper's aisle 10 which houses baking supplies, cooking oils, kitchen gadgets, pie fillings, syrups and ? trash bags. It's mildly amusing, but a public relations specialist at Price Chopper didn't find it funny.

Price Chopper employee Ameerah Cetawayo sent a reply to Hoster from her personal Twitter account. And she didn't stop there -- she also e-mailed Hoster's employer from her official corporate e-mail address with accusations that the customer was "destructive and negative."

And this is where the firestorm erupted. For the next week, @PriceChopperNY received angry and disappointed @mentions from Twitter users everywhere for their poor use of social media.

"Wow, can't believe @PriceChopperNY would do this - attacks customer and notifies his employer over a negative tweet -," @Jdross, a New Media Director at Hamilton College, tweeted just hours after the incident took place. Holster told he cannot comment on the incident.

Professor Anthony Rotolo, the main social media strategist at Syracuse University, is a strong advocate of "good social media practices" and a friend of Hoster. He was outraged by the social media faux pas.

"As a social media user and human being, I am horrified," Rotolo wrote in his blog, "Price Chopper Attacks Customer's Job Over Negative Tweet: pricechopperfail."

But instead of sending an angry e-mail to the company in defense of his friend, Rotolo took his concerns to cyberspace, posting this invitation on his blog: pricechopperfail.