A Cat Dies. A Company Makes Jokes About It on Twitter. Outraged? Not So Fast
The latest cat kerfuffle to blow up the Internet involves a Gawker blogger and an online food delivery company called Seamless.
Caity Weaver had some time to kill, so she did a little Internet trolling. “@Seamless and I had already been chatting because I was trying to game them out of a $7 friend-referral fee,” she writes in her Gawker post. (warning: NSFW language.)
“Don't want 2 put you in an awk position but my cat died today (RIP Houdini) so please be sensitive to that & don't burn me on this,” she tweeted.
Yup, that’s right: Weaver entreated Seamless to give her a $7 coupon she didn’t earn and used the death of her cat as a sympathy ploy.
Seamless replied to her tweet, “RIP Houdini :(. Was it his dying wish that you get a $7 coupon?”
To which she responded, “HOLY F---ING BALLS ARE YOU REALLY MAKING A JOKE ABOUT MY DEAD CAT RIGHT NOW” [sic]
It got worse from there. Seamless continued to be flippant (”Yeah, did you like [the joke about your dead cat]?”) and Weaver continued to invoke CAPSLOCK OF RAGE (“PENULTIMATE DYING WISH: NOT TO BECOME A PUNCHLINE FOR AN INTERNET FOOD ORDERING COMPANY ON THEIR CORPORATE TWITTER ACCOUNT”).
When I heard about this, my sympathies were firmly on Weaver’s side. After all, I know how much it hurts to lose a beloved cat and how much greater that hurt becomes when someone makes light of your grief.
Seamless didn’t exactly endear itself to me, either. There are times when it’s appropriate to throw snark and times when it’s not, and immediately after the death of a family member definitely falls in the “times when it’s not” category.
But when I read the post again, I caught something I hadn’t noticed before -- which was that Weaver confessed that she was trying to scam Seamless out of a $7 coupon for no other apparent reason than that she "had 20 minutes to kill before Mad Men started and they had $7 coups to give away." When it seemed like Seamless wasn’t going to buy her initial argument, she brought the dead cat into the story.
When Seamless did finally acknowledge that its response to Weaver’s tweets might have been a little tone-deaf, it did try to make things better: “Sorry. Not all of our jokes are purrfect. Our thoughts and prayers are with you right meow in this trying time.”
Weaver freaked out yet again and accused Seamless’s Twitter handler of being "a dick."
Was Weaver’s reaction really based in heartbreak, or was it a middle-school-level manipulation tactic? Was she genuinely grieving, or was she just scheming? I don’t know, but I’m pretty suspicious given that the whole exchange seems to have been inspired by boredom.
There was plenty of douchebaggery on both sides of the Weaver vs. Seamless kerfuffle, but I’m convinced that neither side was right. Regardless, I do send my condolences and compassion to Caity Weaver on the death of her beloved Houdini, and a sternly worded memo to Seamless that there really are things you just shouldn’t joke about … like the death of someone’s beloved family pet.
What do you think? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What would you do in a situation like this?
About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.