Marc Maron Probably Shouldn’t Be Trashing Local Businesses on Instagram

A dust-up with a Seattle guitar shop shows the pitfalls of celebrities putting small businesses on blast

Marc Maron attends the Los Angeles premiere of MGM's "Respect" at Regency Village Theatre on August 08, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Maron recently had a dust-up with a local Seattle guitar store on social media.
Marc Maron attends the premiere of MGM's "Respect" on August 08, 2021 in Los Angeles.
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Marc Maron, the podcaster, comedian and actor, had a brief social media dust-up with a Seattle-based guitar store on Wednesday — and that interaction suggests that celebrities should be more careful using their pulpit to criticize a local business.

In a now-deleted post on Instagram, Maron took a selfie outside of Emerald City Guitars and wrote the equivalent of “went in looking at Strats, had cash, was treated very badly, would never buy anything here. If you go, make sure to make a ‘reservation’ and bring your tax returns.” (Note: This is not the exact wording.)

The post garnered thousands of responses and likes, as did a later post where Maron extolled another Seattle music store, Thunder Road Guitars.

We’d say roughly 99% of the comments on both the deleted post and the new one were either complimentary to Maron — including ones from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and local music giants Sub Pop — or shots taken at Emerald City Guitars (“more like Emerald Shitty Guitars” was one that admittedly made us laugh).

Emerald City, as of now, has posted nothing on social media (we left them a message asking for comment, we’ll post if they reply). Still, a few things here:

We don’t know what happened. Maybe Maron experienced particularly terrible customer service. Maybe he was at fault. We do know he later erased the post and addressed the incident on Twitter, where the comedian did get some negative feedback.

While it appears there was some sort of amicable resolution — and Maron gets credit for taking down the original post and dealing with the matter to some degree — he still singled out a small business without providing greater context.

Essentially, he got thousands of views and “likes” on a post that reflected negatively on a local guitar shop and then resolved the issue, on a separate social media site, with a post that garnered almost no views or interaction. It’s the equivalent of a newspaper printing a damning front-page story and then an apology in a small box on page eighteen the next day. (This is a good time to discuss how to apologize.)

Again, this is speculative. If the original guitar shop had engaged in truly despicable behavior — involving prejudice, potentially — it deserves to be called out. But nothing of the sort was mentioned. As well, it’s good that Maron did promote another small business (Thunder Road Guitars), which he could have done without all the previous finger-pointing.

It’s not like this writer hasn’t left angry reviews for companies on social media or sites like Yelp. We also know that we’re not celebrities and we do it only as a last resort (see: airlines) or when we’ve been egregiously cheated out of money or services (see: cable companies). In his Twitter post, Maron said it wasn’t about money.

As fans of Maron, we hope he enjoys his new guitar and somehow after the fact wins an Emmy for the now-canceled Netflix show GLOW, for which he was criminally overlooked. And we also hope all Seattle guitar shops continue to provide good service for local music fans and do not become targets for podcast/comedy fanboys.

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