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The Toothbrush Saga: Award winning journalist calls the police on an employee for a toothbrush, social media organizes a ‘spitefunding’ in support of the employee

Faith in humanity restored.

Amidst all the negativity that is found in abundance on social media, every once in a while there is a heartwarming story that puts a smile on all our faces. Rarely, though, do such stories involve political or media sections of social media. And this is what makes this story so special and rather unusual.

It all began when David Leavitt, ‘Award-Winning Multimedia Journalist’, decided to call the Police on an employee of a store on the 18th of January because she refused to sell an electric toothbrush for a cent. A cent is one-hundredth of a dollar, it is the paisa equivalent of the Indian rupee. According to Leavitt, the employee was not ‘honouring the price’ as per Massachusetts law.

The customer care handle of the store responded to the tweet and clarified that the price of the toothbrush was not a cent as he was claiming and requested his details. When they asked him what the Police said, the ’eminent’ journalist appeared adamant about involving the police in the matter.

Social Media was appalled at the conduct of the ’eminent journalist’ and called upon him to delete the first tweet as it contained the photo of the female employee, Tori. Some even volunteered to buy him a toothbrush if he deleted the tweet. People on social media pointed out that it was a labeling error at worst and calling the police on an employee over the matter was horrible and shameful conduct. The ’eminent journalist’ was also slammed for sharing the employee’s photo online, presumably without her consent.

The first tweet in the thread by David Leavitt that began it all might just be the worst ‘ratioed’ tweet in the history of Twitter. Being ratioed refers to a tweet that has got a lot more replies than it has retweets. It has been observed to be a good indicator of blunder tweets. The logic behind the term that grown immensely popular on the internet is this: If the number of replies to a tweet vastly outpaces its engagement in terms of likes and retweets, then something has gone horribly wrong. Leavitt’s first tweet had received over thirty-one thousand replies at the time of writing this report and just over 1,300 retweets.

The tweet that started the entire saga

People on social soon decided to cheer up Tori who, obviously, had a bad bad day at the office. One Twitter user, who tweets under the username @CarpeDonktum, decided to use the platform to give her a small treat for the misery she had to endure. Carpe Donktum started a ‘Go Fund Me’ page and appealed for people to donate so that the beleagured employee could go on a vacation. As of the time of writing this report, the campaign which had set the target at five thousand dollars had managed to raise over thirty-thousand dollars.

On the 20th of January, Tori issued her first and thus far her only statement on the campaign to send her on a vacation. She expressed her gratitude towards everyone for their generosity and support. She also said that she was looking for a worthy cause to donate the amount that was collected for her. “Your support has changed my life,” she said.

Statement by Tori (Source: @RealTargetTori/Twitter)

There appears to be a good word to describe the entire phenomenon: Spitefunding. The term is likely to have been invented by Michael Malice, a popular political commentator on social media and the author of ‘Dear Reader’. Spitefunding is a phenomenon where people voluntarily donate to a cause in order to spite or, more colloquially, ‘piss off’ those who are in opposition to it. In the current instance, as Michael Malice pointed out himself, the act of kindness had the added advantage of ‘spiting’ an unpleasant character.

The outpouring of support for Tori was motivated by genuine human empathy and also by the fact that people are sick and tired of the media fraternity who perceive themselves to be special snowflakes who are more equal than everyone else. It was reflected by the fact that although Carpe Donktum happens to be a Trump supporter, the campaign drew immense support from every corner of the political spectrum.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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