Tweetstorm against Firestone and Hilton

When John is talking about "satisfaction" in this story, he refers to his broken backpack on his walk through Europe.

John’s tweet storm with the Firestone company and the Hilton hotel (RL41)

Not getting his car repaired properly

In March of 2011 John went on a screed against the Firestone tire company. It was John’s first ever tweetstorm. He had gotten his dad's car, which had a book-value of maybe $1800, but which various members of his family certainly put $40.000 in to paste it into shape every time it had been demolished. John’s mom is still driving it to this day. John took it to the Firestone in North Seattle, they repaired it at great expense, John put it into gear and it made a sound like you threw sea gravel into a blender. He walked back into the office very slowly and said ”I don’t think you have fixed the car”, he let the guy start it and it made the same horrible sound.

Obviously nobody in their organization had even put a key in it to see if it was ready and repaired before they called John down there to pick it up. They guy immediately took an approach with John that he had clearly learned from some corporate disaster preparedness person. When a customer gets hostile, you should immediately retreat into a very condescending manner, you should immediately be on guard and when the person uses profanity, here is what you should say. The guy said something like ”We can get it done by a week from next Tuesday”, John replied ”You are got to be shitting me!” and the guy said ”Sir, there is no need to use profanity” John was covered in 1000 layers of desire to firebomb the business while it was open and full of customers. He was going to be saving everybody in this neighborhood by immolating them in this Firestone, rather than live another moment in a world where this asshole has any authority over John and whether or not John can drive away in his car.

Firestone tweetstorm

Instead John started his first ever tweetstorm (first tweet, later tweet). Although he had been on Twitter for over a year, it had never occurred to him to tweetstorm before, but now he went on sending out tweets for a day, saying that Firestone, the company are abortion providers, puppy killers and child rapists. It was very exciting and #firestone became a trending topic that day because other people joined in on the fun. John did not get any corporate satisfaction, because Firestone did not have a dedicated Twitter monitor at the time, so it wasn’t like several years later when he tweetstormed the Hilton hotel that he was getting emails right away and frantic knocks on his hotel room door, but he does feel like on that particular day he cost Firestone a little bit and took a little bit out. Maybe it is a completely impudent position, but John does believe in his heart of hearts that he has affected their business permanently to the tune of the $1800 he spent there.

John encourages everyone listening to never patronize a Firestone, because they are abortionists and baby killers. They are a shitty company run by shitty people who have a shitty policy about how to deal with people who use the word ”shit” in a conversational use. People working there will surely use the word ”shit” periodically, like if they turn a wrench and hurt themselves. They are grease monkeys and they are a swearing class! Are you going to make it about me using profanity instead of how you and your business have fucked me royally out of three days of my life? Would John have done a tweetstorm if he had 20 followers? No!

Companies hoping you will go away

Merlin’s friend Heather is a very successful and well-known blogger. John wished he was a successful and well-known blogger who had figured out a way to monetize his blog. Heather has a 9-bedroom house and she got a washer and dryer that didn't work. She was trying to be the girl-version of a gentleman and she said ”Look guys, I bought this, it doesn’t work, you got to fix this” and she was really cool about it. She didn’t even play that particular 1.5 million-follower-card. She went happy-go-chappy on that shit and as they did the anti-Hilton, she made them look so bad and got so many people marshaled on her side. Everybody has been in that situation. She had played their little game, she waited for them to do the phone call, she filled out the RMA, and they were fucking stone-walling her because they thought she would stop. That is what is happening in the Firestone training seminar: All those fuck stains think they are being trained that if they will wait long enough, John Roderick will put his tail between his legs, walk out there and come back again like his dad did. He will go away frustrated and then come back to pay his bill politely and feel ashamed for himself that he said poo.

The corporate world has figured out that if you are dissatisfied with how your hotel room is prepared, they can contact you on the side, tweet you from their corporate account and say ”Hey, follow us so we can DM you” and then they will say ”Sorry about the problem! How can we make it up to you? What about a free night in a hotel?” and they are offering you to provide the service that you have originally contracted them to provide, which is a night in a hotel. They are trying to placate you with nothing! This is the whole business of similar attempts that start with something like ”Hey Delta Airlines, you screwed up my reservation!” and then Delta Airlines comes back and upgrades them on their next flight and 99% of the people out there are like ”I got satisfaction! I was so mad and they are so great and so responsive!” In John's cases with the Hilton hotel and the Firestone, his feeling was that he was contracting them to provide him a certain service and he is not an unreasonable person. Through the power of social media, John is at a certain point no longer working with the possibility of that company rectifying their mistake. All of his energy is going into a kind of Scarlet letter that he wants to brand that business with. The satisfaction he is going to get now is not the satisfaction of them making it up to him, but the satisfaction of spending a day of his life publicly hating them and watching them twist on the line.

Hilton Hotel tweetstorm

(first tweet, later tweet)

As John got into his hotel room at the Hilton in Alexandria Virginia in June of 2012, it smelled like an abattoir. He called down to the front desk and told them that he had asked for a room, but has obviously been put in a place where they butcher sheep. He asked them to move him to a room that does not smell like this and they gave him a bunch of bullshit. He was not going to go back to the front desk, he was not going to jump through a single hoop, but he would sit here in this room, not touching any surfaces, until they would send a person to his door with a key to a different room. They finally did and his new room was down the hall on the same floor where they had been butchering sheep. It was no better than the last one. At that point he had given them the opportunity, they had blown it and their offer to put John in the bridal suite on the 15th floor was not a solution because they were just trying to plug a hole in the dike by sending a guy to his door, by tweeting him, and they even found his personal email and were frantically emailing him to stop. Eventually John said to the customer service rep in Houston who was sending him 5 emails a day how to make this right: ”One week in Hawaii at the Hilton Honolulu on Waikiki!”

How it should be done

Here is how it should go: You call down to the desk, you say it is not clean and it is stinky. They say: "I am terribly sorry, we are taking care of it immediately!" They will call you right back and tell you that they will put you in the pope suite on the top floor, and in just a minute their best bellperson is going to come to your room and move your luggage up there, you are getting a free meal tonight and there will be a bottle of wine that you are not going to drink because you don’t drink. What you don’t do is to ask what the customer wants them to do about it. When John called down to the front desk, the first thing they said was that they are really busy down there right now, which John knew because he had just waited in line for 30 minutes to be checked into his hotel room, while they had been playing fucking Tiddlywinks, Words with Friends or whatever instead of checking people into their rooms. He knew how busy it was down there and it was about to get a lot busier. Now he had crossed the threshold to being a customer in his room, he was no longer being some dope waiting in line to be a customer. He was ensconced in customership and he should be the only thing on the guy’s mind right now. Come up here and put me in the pope suite! They took him out of the place where they stored the dead tontons and put him down the hall into a room where they expected him to sleep inside a dead tonton. John was not prepared to do that.

Merlin hopes that some day he earns the right to be on something like the Supertrain board. Your problem, Firestone-guy, Hilton-guy and Social Media douche is that you try containment way too late! Containment is taking care of it as soon as I say something and if you want me to be the guy who says ”Thank you for DM-ing me on Twitter”, you are much more likely to get that if you agree that you fucked up, apologize for it and then fix it by exceeding my expectations. Don’t ask what you can do to make it right, but try some shit out. John wants to encourage people who have 500 or 115 Twitter followers to also not sell their good name too cheaply. Do not sell your satisfaction for a giftbag of hand lotion! You have fucked up and it is more gratifying to me to punish you and to put your social media people to work, so maybe a printout of this exchange is going to end up on some manager’s desk.

In the long run that is going to have a more profound effect than if the guy who’s job it is to give people free hotel rooms gives somebody a free hotel room, because you will still be sitting in a room that smells like sheep guts. Even if you are in the pope suite by then, it is all running a little too smoothly. We need to stand athwart the coming mediocracy storm and say ”Enough!” Don't be placated by someone who has only the authority to placate you and nothing else! It is not about hotel rooms or satisfaction, but it is about a slippery slope in which we slide deeper and deeper into letting these people have some kind of private fuck-up. Are you a Chamberlain or are you a Churchill? We will fight them on the beaches! We will fight them in the air! We will never surrender!

More examples

Merlin’s problem is that he doesn’t have any staying power, but he will burn and steam! In one case he actually did look up the names of everybody on the board, found out their email addresses, and threatened them with implications. John has always felt that denying yourself gratification is probably the most important training exercise you can do. You need to sit in your place wherever you are and deny yourself the thing you want the most. It will improve your ability to sit in a place where you really want something and deny yourself that thing, even if that thing is the satisfaction of sending somebody an angry email.

Somebody sent John an email the other day that should have been an apology, but instead they said that they shouldn’t hang out anymore because both of them were too unstable. John was not unstable at all, but they had fucked up and owed John an apology. The email demanded a response from John and as he was starting to compose his response, he realized that he had no end-game. This was a situation where John had to deny himself the thing he wanted the most, which in this case was to reply and retort to this person. He kept saying to himself like you say to a dog: ”Leave it! Leave it!” John says that to himself a lot during the course of a day and it trains him to go all the way through a process like the one with the Hilton hotel. There were 1000 opportunities to get some cheap satisfaction, but he said ”No!” and he was going to sit here on his carpet of nails and cultivate this peak until he has a diamond point. John is climbing a ladder, but it is not the Buddhist ladder of enlightenment. If there is reincarnation, it is going to be a very oblique angle into John's next form. He is not necessarily working his way into a higher frame, but it is going to go through a prism and he is going to come out the other side as a box of Cracker Jacks, as a solitary wave on the ocean, or as a wind.

Overselling hotel rooms

One of the first things Merlin does in a hotel room in addition to putting on gloves and a mask is that all the marketing materials and all the things with a logo on it go into the lowest drawer, including the water. He is always checking his bill because they often enough bill him for the water he didn’t have. He doesn’t even want to see the water or any of it! If he were to sit down and read all the marketing material, he would read so much about their luxurious service and how they take care of you. There was a blog post by Danah Boyd who had an experience where they had oversold her hotel and as she got there, they sent her on a buss to the other part of town.

This happened to John in Buenos Aires during a Rolling Stones concert where they played for a million people and the last 550.000 people were watching it on a video stream with a time delay where they riff was getting to you 11 minutes after it was played. The city was completely sold out to South American Rolling Stones fans and John showed up at his luxury hotel and they were oversold. What do you mean ”You are sorry?” He was very clear that he was not in the least bit sorry and he told John that there is a hotel somewhere that is not as good as this one and that is the deal. Anyway, next! In a way, it was refreshing, because he did not offer him a solution that was not a solution. John had arrived too late, they had sold a bunch of hotel rooms and everybody got there before him. This was South America and they are not pretending that they care, because he is not coming back there anyway. John went to a restaurant, had a delicious steak and went down the road to a different town.

2018-April: John tweeting at Lyft (OM59)

In April of 2018, John tweeted at Lyft, which did not result in a tweet storm, but which he mentioned as his latest feud with big corporations.

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