Covered by NBC news affiliate KRNV, Reno resident Saul Zelaznog was arrested for a probation violation on August 1,2013 after he was publicly shamed for skipping out on a $100 check at a local brewpub called Brewer’s Cabinet. Earlier in the week, Zelaznog had dined at Brewer’s Cabinet with friends, but claimed that he was unable to pay his portion of the check because he forgot his wallet. Before Zelaznog was able to leave the restaurant, one of the servers at Brewer’s Cabinet managed to take a quick picture with a smartphone in order to provide evidence for the police.
After filing a police report, the Brewer’s Cabinet management put up Zelaznog’s picture on the company’s official Facebook page in order to bring attention to the incident and warn other business owners in the area.
The message attached to the post said: “ATTN RENO: If you know, or see, this dude, please call RENO POLICE DEPT at 334-2121 immediately, and then remind him that his tab at The Brewer’s Cabinet is still waiting to be paid. And, while you’re at it, you could tell him that visiting restaurants/bars with your friends, running up a huge bill, roughing up servers and then bailing is pretty uncool… pathetic, really. Get a life, man.”
After the post went viral within the Reno community, more owners of bars and restaurants in the area confirmed that Zelaznog had also skipped out on tabs at their businesses. Local media picked up on the story and tried to approach Zelaznog to get his side of the story. When the Reno Gazette Journal located him, Zelaznog said “They’re acting like I ran out of there, I was going to be back to take care of my tab.”
He also indicated that he was trying to get his family to wire him the money in order to pay the $100 tab. However, it seems that Zelaznog ‘s family didn’t come through in time. Based on this incident, the Reno Parole & Probation Department picked up Zelaznog and arrested him for violating the terms of his parole.
Shaming people on social media networks like Facebook has become a popular trend when attempting to bring attention to cheating spouses or significant others. During June 2013, Pennsylvania mom Steph Strayer was riding on a train traveling from Philadelphia when she publicly posted a picture on Facebook of a man that had been allegedly bragging about cheating on his wife. Along with the picture that showed the man’s face, Strayer wrote “If this is your husband, I have endured a 2 hour train ride from Philadelphia listening to this loser and his friends brag about their multiple affairs and how their wives are too stupid to catch on. Oh please repost…“
After posting the picture, Facebook users immediately starting sharing the photo. Before Strayer took the photo down, it had racked up approximately 183,000 shares on the social network. Strayer likely removed the photo since it’s possible that the man could have been lying or the post simply wasn’t true to begin with.
It’s possible that future Facebook shaming attempts will simply be a recorded feed of an incident rather than a picture with a caption since most smartphones have the ability to record video. Products like Google Glass could also make that possibility even more likely, since recording someone using Google Glass could potentially be more discreet than constantly holding up a smartphone.