Image via Flickr Creative Commons by Dustin Iskandar https://goo.gl/WTewNU
Welcome to Unsolicited Advice, the weekly column in which I dispense advice no one asked for to people who don’t even know who I am. Recently I advised a young Canadian man
baby who lost his job after he complained about his lame Christmas bonus on social media. His immature behavior earned him a pink slip and a lot of internet ridicule. But that guy can relax now, because another Man baby Behaving Badly has come for his spot in the douchebag Olympics.
David Leavitt is a journalist with bylines in places like CBS and Yahoo. David did not appreciate his experience at a local Target when he tried to buy a toothbrush. A manager refused to sell him an electric toothbrush at the cost on the tag, which appeared to be erroneous. In his righteous indignation , David decided it was a good idea to post a picture of the beleaguered woman to all 213K of his Twitter followers.
But he didn’t stop there. Things got even crazier.
It looks like David could use a little advice here, and since he didn’t ask for it this is the perfect place to dispense it.
David, you’re an idiot.
I know that’s not advice but I feel like maybe not enough people have told you this in your life and it’s a good place to start. We’ve all been idiots and we’ve all needed someone to say it out loud, so don’t go thinking you’re special. One idiot to another…you’re an idiot.
Everyone has had that frustrating experience in a store where you feel you’re being treated rudely or getting shorted. Whether or not that was really happening to you, that’s how you felt and it clearly angered you. Maybe you stand and yell at the girl for a while, maybe you scream for another manager and demand to be heard, maybe you just leave and fume about it for a few hours. There are lots of options in which you still may (or may not) be the jerk but that don’t need to end in your public humiliation.
What you don’t do is take a picture of the harmless Target manager, name her and where she works and then blast it out to 213K social media followers. Not only is that childish, not only is that rude, in this day and age it is also very, very dangerous. As a journalist you of all people should know that. Thankfully – and luckily for both you and her – the internet hasn’t quite wiped away every vestige of our humanity and your tantrum was roundly and rightly ridiculed.
This woman was only doing her job. She didn’t wake up that morning and say, “Gee, how can I make David Leavitt’s life more difficult today?”. Perhaps she was disrespectful or uncaring. I wasn’t there. I don’t know. I only know that your response was disproportionate and pathetically childish.
It was absolutely unacceptable, particularly in the #MeToo era. Getting aggressive with women isn’t a good look.
But that brings me to a more serious point, because while your original post was crazy it could perhaps be chalked up to bad judgment or low blood sugar. What was disturbing is how quickly you doubled – and then tripled- down. Then you further lashed out at the criticism by talking about your dental woes. That’s not just “crazy”, it’s actually disturbing.
Calling the police? For a toothbrush? Even your response to complaints about that was bizarre. “I called 311 not 911”. Son, the proper response is, “That was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I am so sorry for wasting taxpayer dollars and law enforcement’s time because I couldn’t get this discount on a toothbrush.”
Your judgment seems grossly impaired and it makes me wonder if it physically was at the time. I don’t mean to cast aspersions. I’m just saying – when you wake up some morning a day or two from now, go back and look at that tweet thread. If it looks foreign to you, if it makes you feel any shame, go get some help. Talk to a friend, a religious leader, a therapist…this isn’t healthy behavior for a man of your stature…or any stature for that matter.
Perhaps I’m wrong though, and if so I apologize. Maybe you are just a giant jerk, too narcissistic to notice what a giant jerk you look like to hundreds of thousands of people today. At any rate, take this advice – if you don’t think you owe that woman an apology, apologize anyway. Swallow your pride, do it publicly and privately and then cry about it in your diary if you have to. You are a grown man and you live in a civilized society. Courtesy and good manners – increasingly rare as they are (obviously) – are vital to preserving a safe and pleasant social compact. Courtesy and good manners dictate that no matter who is at fault, you take the “L” here and shut the hell up. You look crazy. Stop.
Not every battle is meant to be fought. I wonder if you were actually fighting some other battle that had nothing to do with Target or toothbrushes.
As I write this you have yet to remove the posts. I hope that is a quiet sign of repentance rather than of the arrogance to still believe you did nothing wrong. The GoFundMe that was started for Tori the Target Manager is at about $10,000 right now. Who knows how that money might change her life? Your tweets keep driving people over there. So maybe you get it and maybe this is your way of saying sorry. If so, good for you.
But you still need to apologize and then go take a good, long look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is the man you really want to be.
*Note: While it did feel bit icky to repost this tweet, what David did was wrong and this woman deserved to be publicly defended. She deserves to know people out there won’t reward this.
*Click here to donate to Tori’s GoFundMe. And leave her a nice message because I’m sure she’s less than thrilled that this is the picture America now associates with her.