A pilfered Palm Bay, a viral video, and an anticipated apology: it’s a case of social media shaming that may have worked.
A West Kelowna pub and beer and wine store says it’s removing a Facebook video of an alleged thief after she was tagged in the post that soon went viral, and has the woman’s family claiming cyberbullying.
Whiski Jack’s General Manager Travis McPherson says the whole thing started Friday night, when staff saw security footage of a woman entering the store with a friend and clearly pocketing a single can of Palm Bay before taking off.
It’s the kind of incident that would likely be written off in Metro Vancouver, but West Kelowna being a smaller community, McPherson says they weren’t ready to give up so easily.
“We just don’t do the volume that the big stores do. [It’s] very noticeable. Every bottle of vodka or every can of Palm Bay that goes out the door, we see that.”
“We managed to get her name and number by just going through our staff members, and their acquaintances and social media, and found out her name and number and were able to text her, and talk to her through Facebook.”
McPherson says the goal wasn’t originally to shame, but rather to get her to take responsibility. Staff told the woman they had footage of her taking the can, and offered her three days to come back and pay for it and apologize, otherwise, they’d post it to Facebook.
He says she ignored the offer, and so Monday the video went up in a post asking “seriously, who steals ONE can of Palm Bay?”
They also tagged her in the post, making it visible to all of her Facebook connections.
It wasn’t long before the video went viral, racking up more than 5,000 views and nearly 100 shares — prompting the woman’s family to ask them to delete it, with some accusing the pub of cyberbullying.
“That was clearly not our intention. We made that very clear to her. All we wanted was the money and an apology and we would take the video down.”