This post contains spoilers of Serial, but only the first five episodes or so. You can probably read it and still listen to the podcast from the beginning if you haven't already.
At the crux of the case in the cultural phenomenon podcast Serial is a car ride and murder that supposedly took place in 21 minutes. It begins at Woodlawn High School in Maryland and ends in a nearby Best Buy. In that 21 minutes, Adnan Syed supposedly met up with his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, got a ride in her car out of the busy high school parking lot to Best Buy, strangled her in the parking lot, put her in body in the trunk, and then walked to a pay phone in front of the store to call his friend Jay. Serial host Sarah Koenig has pretty effectively established that that 21-minute trip could not have happened the way the prosecution presented it, and one of the most crucial aspects of disputing the story is that the pay phone in front of that Best Buy might never have been there.
That's the background behind this tweet, sent out yesterday by the official Best Buy account.
Trying to get some insider-Twitter points by making a joke about a current pop culture sensation is one thing. Doing it at the expense of a 15-year-old murder is another. As such, outrage quickly commenced and the tweet was deleted. Best Buy issued the following apology:
You can't blame them that much for wanting to at least mention the pay phone. After all, Best Buy is mentioned enough times in the podcast that you'd think they were paying for product placement.
If you haven't yet listened to Serial, it's quite engaging and has inspired as much discussion and debate as any audio journalism has in recent years. Start with Episode 1.