Boston Mayor’s office wants to kick off its new bike-sharing initiative with a public event. Mayor’s office calls up Boloco, a local burrito chain with a reputation for community involvement, and says something like, “Hey! The mayah really likes your burritos. Think you could throw some our way for this bike thing?” And Boloco responds with something like, “Sure!” and commences assembly of 200 burritos for which the chain sought no compensation other than some free publicity. All good so far.
But then the day of the burrito drop rolls around, and Boloco gets a call from the City asking if they have a permit to give out free burritos. Boloco responds with something like “Are you $&!*~(@ kidding me?” at which point the City threatens to shut down the Boloco outlet where the burritos are being assembled.
This is where it gets really interesting. It seems Boloco’s CEO has a Twitter account. And this guy, John Pepper, isn’t one of those CEOs who let’s some kid in the mail room send out Tweets in his name. Mr. Pepper does his own Tweetin’, and he has no rule against Tweetin’ angry. Feeling, um, under-appreciated by the city and its overbearing bureaucrats, Mr. Pepper lets fly a stream of frustrated cyber-ventilation, including this gem:
How a city can thank businesses for supporting its civic efforts with rudeness, threats, and disrespect has us reeling today… Not staying quiet any longer. Between the union rackets, bureaucracy, red tape, and lack of graciousness, it’s a wonder anything gets done.
Mayor Menino did not appreciate Pepper’s public airing of grievances. Commenting to the Globe, Menino did his best Back to the Future Biff impression: “He wants to blog, make news? OK, you do your blog.”
No, really, he said that - the clear implication being that Hizz Honah’s response would come via a less public medium. Sure enough, the two had a telephone conversation and Pepper’s subsequent remarks to the Globe were… somewhat less incendiary than his earlier Tweets. “I think he thinks I could have gone about this in a more positive manner,” Pepper remarked, referring to the Mayor.
All of this was fun, and not very consequential in the grand scheme of things. And I am guessing that after his one-on-one with the Mayor, Mr. Pepper has reconsidered his disavowal of “staying quiet.”
Still, isn’t anyone in the Boston media interested in finding out what Pepper meant by “union rackets”? The Globe editorialized about the burrito brouhaha today, but apparently did not think the union reference worth mentioning.