One Chili’s Ruins Veterans Day for All Chili’s, Everywhere

“On a day where we served more than 200,000 free meals as a small gesture of our appreciation for our veterans and active military for their service, we fell short,” said Kelli Valade, President of Chili’s Bar and Grill in a statement released following a 11/11 PR fiasco (Brinker). You can watch the event go down in the Facebook post that has gone viral, here. The abbreviated version goes as follows, a Trump supporter, also a veteran, suspected a man, named Ernest Walker, wasn’t actually a veteran, and that his service dog was not a service dog. This man’s suspicion led the manager of the said Chili’s (located a stone’s throw from Denton in Cedar Hill, Texas), to question Walker’s veteran status and service dog (Wright).

If you weren’t aware, you can’t question a service dog. It’s part of the ADA law that says, basically, if your dog helps with your disability, it’s a service dog. I worked with a nonprofit for adults with disabilities, and I am very familiar with this law. No place of business is allowed to question you about it, so if you believe the dog helps you and is worthy, you can bring it in. Asking about a service dog’s credibility is ILLEGAL, no matter what the instance, so that action was Chili’s first boo-boo. Their managers should know this law, and the fact that the one in the video doesn’t shows he probably shouldn’t be manager in the first place.

Full disclosure, I worked at a Chili’s in high school and had a very positive experience. My managers were excellent and I enjoyed working under Brinker, the parent company of Chili’s, and I do believe in their merit as a company. All of my experiences, for the most part, were great. I know this is probably not everyone’s experience, and I know not all management is great. I understand that. But here’s the thing I can’t get over: it was one free meal. The manager had already given this man a free, rightfully-deserved meal, as Chili’s gives to all veterans who show valid military ID on Veteran’s day. Why did he feel it was necessary to take it away? A single free meal, regardless of what it was, should mean absolutely nothing to Chili’s. Especially if he had a service dog, why would he question this man’s validity? Who knows.

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But, in this instance, most people assume racism. Even though that might not be the case, it looks bad for Brinker at every angle on this one. Which, if you work for Chili’s or Brinker, is a big bummer. Like Valade said, Chili’s gave away 200,000 free meals, and made a lot of veterans feel appreciated and valued. And over 200,000 did. They left with free food in their bellies and gratitude for the brand. But, since one manager messed up, all of that work goes unnoticed, and one ruining just one veteran’s experience on veteran’s day is cruel, any way you slice it. I’m sorry for your loss, Brinker, and I am sorry for Ernest Walker’s terrible Chili’s experience. A GoFundMe has been set up in his name, and has raised near $6,000 for his “dinner,” and I have to think that that much money, from the goodwill of the internet, not Brinker, has got to help ease the pain. And, as someone who knows from experience that not all Chili’s are bad, take it from me: Brinker did more good than bad on November 11th, and while the public may never recognize it, 200,000 veterans are thankful, and that’s important too.

 

Sources Cited:

Brinker. (n.d.). Open Letter from Kelli Valade, President of Chili’s® Grill & Bar. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://brinker.mediaroom.com/newsreleases?item=135354

Wright, I. J. (2016, November 15). Chili’s Crisis Proves How Little It Takes to Sink a PR Effort. Retrieved November 17, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/chilis-veterans-day

 

Snapbots: A Solid PR Stunt When America Needs it Most

by Maddie Migis

snapbot

America is done. Tired of hearing about nothing but Trump and Clinton for the past three months, and in some cases, defeated by the results. So, in the midst of a lot of nasty hate language, protests, and non-stop news coverage, America was aching for a good PR campaign.

Insert Snapchat’s Snapbot–selling spectacles, a limited-range pair of video-capturing glasses that retails, only in the Snapbot, for $129. The spectacles are meant for recording video, like snapchat, and the video can be synced to the app accordingly (Heath). It’s definitely a boutique product, only for the most dedicated snappers, or those very concerned with documenting their life in real-time.

It’s a great and hopeful thing at a dismal time. And, priced at $129, the spectacles are accessible to many demographics (Wright). If consumers are dedicated enough, and lucky enough, the spectacles would be a very impressive Christmas gift.

The whole experience is really cool. Snapbots all come with a user interface that helps users decide between the three available colors–black, coral, and teal–by showing how each color would look on their face (Wright). In this way, Snapchat was able to come up with a clever way around the vending machine’s inability to allow customers to try on glasses.

So far, the Snapbots have only been spotted in Venice Beach, California (Heath). It seems that the Snapbots will be the only way for people to get their hands on spectacles. The Snapbots will only be in one place at one time, and the only tell of their location will appear on a map 24 hours before they show up at their ever-elusive locations. It’s fun, surprising, and accessible, to a lucky few. It’s the PR campaign America needs right now.

I am not so dedicated to the brand, and most consumers aren’t either. That’s why the exclusivity of the product works so well. The Snapbots ended up being just what the public has needed in a time of unrest and disagreeance, little bots that look like minions but spit out video-glasses (Wright). It’s the little things in life. Thanks, Snapchat, for a great PR campaign and a good distraction from what’s actually going on in our country.

Sources Cited:

Heath, A. (2016, November 10). Snapchat will sell its Spectacles camera glasses through pop-up vending machines. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-spectacles-vending-machines-2016-11
Wright, I. J. (2016, November 10). Snapchat Spectacles’ Spectacular PR-Stunt Launch. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/snapchat-spectacles-launch

Powerful Dem Women Want YOU to Join the Girl Club

by Maddie Migis

Emily’s List, a PAC devoted to trying to get pro-choice women democratic candidates elected, just produced a really cool ad. And while yes, PACs aren’t usually the most desirable thing today, this ad is cool. Especially for women.

The point of this video, which you can watch here, is to get women to vote for other women. The video stresses the importance of voting for other women to ensure gender equality. The video also points out that believe-it-or-not,”[y]ou didn’t get here because you’re a woman. You got here because you’re the best person for the job,” says Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (Logan). Women are powerful, and this video does a great job of presenting these powerful women for what they are: forces to be reckoned with.

At the end, an appearance is made by none other than Hillary Clinton, the ultimate #GirlBoss of politics, who re-affirms the message: girls get stuff done. It’s a great, empowering video, showcasing every single Democratic woman in the Senate, and of course, their fearless leader, the pinnacle of female politicians (Logan).

Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s hard to argue the benefits of having strong female role-models in political circles. These women are well-known for their political choices, too, but regardless of their party affiliation, these women can serve as role models across the spectrum for being successful and speaking their minds.

I, of course, love it. I love when other women are empowered by powerful role models such as these Senators (and Hillary). And, after all, the boys can keep “fight club,” because “girl club” is way cooler. After all, “[t]he first rule of girl club is to talk about girl club. Talking is good. It builds community and consensus.”-Tammy Baldwin, Democrat, Wisconsin (Logan).

 

Sources Cited:
Fiorozi, P. (2016, November 3). Clinton, Dem women star in ‘Girl Club’ ad. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/304278-clinton-dem-women-star-in-girl-club-ad

Girl Club by Emily’s List. (2016, November 3). Video [Girl Club]. Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0A6fTN6Jn0: Emily’s List.

Logan, E. (2016, November 3). Get Your Daily Dose of Girl Power With This Awesome New Video from the Democratic Women in Office. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from http://www.glamour.com/story/democratic-women-appear-in-girl-club-video