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The Pickiness Of The Masses
August 4, 2011 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Fuck You Yelper, a collection of unhelpfulful Yelp reviews
posted by The Whelk (148 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favorite are the seemingly ubiquitous two- and three-star reviews of businesses that read: "I've never been here, but I've walked by a few times and it seems like a cool place."

Yelp needs a feature that auto-corrects these to "O HAI I LIEK TO HEAR MY KEYBOARD MAKE CLICKY SOUNDS YAAAAY!!"
posted by phunniemee at 3:44 PM on August 4, 2011 [57 favorites]


followed by a link to keyboard cat, ideally.
posted by elizardbits at 3:47 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The concept is strong, given what I've seen of Yelp, which has tons of terrible writeups.

But the examples on the site are mostly terrible -- that is, terribly poor ways of illustrating the phenomenon.

Is that kind of the meta-point?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:47 PM on August 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


"O HAI I LIEK TO HEAR MY KEYBOARD MAKE CLICKY SOUNDS YAAAAY!!"

I bet they're not even using Model Ms.
posted by kmz at 3:48 PM on August 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


Other than that, everything was good.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:49 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I expected nothing but reviews along the lines of "This place isn't authentic [x ethnicity or national origin], all the cooks are [y ethnicity or national origin]."

Which as far as I can tell is the substance of 50% of the reviews for restaurants in San Francisco.
posted by feckless at 3:52 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stamp licking is not a hobby.
posted by clavdivs at 3:53 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The applesauce, to my horror, was hospital grade slop. Am I really so spoiled as to expect homemade with chunks of apples and darkened with spices?

Apparently. I mean, what do you expect? You ordered baby food at a restaurant.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2011 [22 favorites]


I hurt my neck from nodding in agreement so much while reading these thoughtful reviews!

★★✰✰✰
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yelp would be much more useful with some better idiot filters in place. I have a long mental checklist of reasons to stop reading and totally disregard a Yelp restaurant review — yes, the entitled complaints about service are the funniest, but there are many other reasons at least as good to ignore a reviewer: the admissions that this is the only [insert cuisine/type of food here] that the person has ever tried, the general provincialism and lack of taste that predominate outside the larger and more cosmopolitan coastal cities, the people who love tourist traps, the people who post reviews of fast-food chains. It takes a lot of digging through idiots to find the real chowhounds' leads and tips that are still buried in there somewhere. If I hadn't had a ton of great meals after an hour's browsing and idiot-sifting, it wouldn't seem worth it at all; as it is, I just wish more of it could be automated.
posted by RogerB at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Theres Nothing Wrong with hespanics!!
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


AND IT'S ON A TUMBLR BLOG- I GUESS I HAVE TO SAY THAT TO MAKE IT EVEN BETTER, IT NEEDS MORE CATS AND JAVASCRIPT!!!!!!!!!
posted by TheBones at 3:59 PM on August 4, 2011


My current pet peeve are people who base their review of a restaurant solely on that one time they met friends for a drink at the bar there.
posted by gyc at 3:59 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"O HAI I LIEK TO HEAR MY KEYBOARD MAKE CLICKY SOUNDS YAAAAY!!"

I bet they're not even using Model Ms.


But I bet they are using internet explorer.
posted by TheBones at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2011


I threatened to start something like this after I read a review for one place that said, "I'm going to have to take a star off because they only take cash," followed by a review for another place that said "Minus one star because they're in an industrial park." Dear god, free parking, the horror!

I love Yelp, but I kind of hate Yelpers.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:04 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yelp basically stopped working for me around the time my Friend was having a disgruntled ex employee writes nasty reviewers about his cafe and suddenly every single eatery that wasn't murdering diners and turning them into sloppy joes was rated five star double plus.

Trip Advisor is more helpful but it does reveal a level of princess peaness I had not expected in the public at large.
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I feel genuinely sorry for restaurants who are essentially being held hostage by Yelp reviews. Imagine if your entire livelihood were being determined by the comments on your YouTube video.
posted by ErikaB at 4:07 PM on August 4, 2011 [25 favorites]


heh...you said peaness
posted by phunniemee at 4:07 PM on August 4, 2011 [43 favorites]


Is this the thread where I get to complain about how an angry Yelper christened me with the sobriquet "Mary Sunshine Sparklepants" because (a) I greet customers and am generally friendly, and (b) I asked for her ID because her signature had worn off the back of her card? Or the passive-aggressive positive review that a former employee posted about one of our colleagues, saying that they're "clean" and "non-hazardous"?
posted by pxe2000 at 4:10 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


"O HAI I LIEK TO HEAR MY KEYBOARD MAKE CLICKY SOUNDS YAAAAY!!"

I bet they're not even using Model Ms.

But I bet they are using internet explorer.


Version 6.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:12 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This place isn't authentic [x ethnicity or national origin], all the cooks are [y ethnicity or national origin]

That's very true, but for me it's not as bad as the early reviews of the Japanese beef bowl place near my house. After it opened people were posting reviews saying shit like "WTF, it's basically just meat and rice!" What in the hell are you expecting from something called a beef bowl? There's a fucking backlit picture of meat on rice in a bowl right next to it on the menu overhead!

What possesses someone to write a review of food they know nothing about or that serves a kind of food they don't like to begin with? It's like complaining that KFC only serves chicken.
posted by Hoopo at 4:13 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a pizza place in San Francisco (Pi Bar) with a People Hate Us on Yelp sign in their window.

(Apparently they got a bunch of early reviews right after they opened, before they got all the opening-month snags worked out.)
posted by kristi at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think the real issue is that Yelp started out as a community for people who care about food — and also absorbed a lot of the energy that used to go into the Chowhound forums before they were sold and subsequently fucked — but then it got big fast, and didn't have any guidelines or standards in place to help it scale gracefully. Indeed, the site is apparently intentionally run on a quantity-over-quality basis. I mean, what are the deletion criteria for a Yelp review? Evidently reviews don't have to say anything about the food a restaurant serves, or really even give an assurance of firsthand familiarity with the business being reviewed. It's no wonder the entitled narcissists treat Yelp as a soapbox for their absurd service complaints, since it apparently wants to be that, as long as it gets more reviews posted.

I wonder if it would help if they asked reviewers to self-assess the way that, e.g., Newegg does — "I've eaten at this place [3] times"; "I am [not very familiar] with Chinese food" — and then allowed readers to filter and only read reviews matching a certain set of criteria.
posted by RogerB at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


So... where *did* the butter come from?
posted by danl at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I'd love to be called Mary Sunshine Sparklepants.


On a side note we met with our realator last night on the successful purchase of a short sale we now call home. The bar had a Yelp review stating that it needed a Nazi Swastika out front for all the racist racism going on inside. When we got there about 75% of the staff was African American. My wife, puzzled look on her face, told the bouncer 'the internet said this place was racist'. I think it made his night.
posted by The Power Nap at 4:18 PM on August 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


The "duke" / Foursquarification of Yelp reviews have also changed the atmosphere significantly. Folks are encouraged to review just to get points / status, so it becomes a gaming system.

And I've found in any community driven review system, the audience who is going to go out of their way to writeup something about a business is when they have an axe to grind or an experience that is not in line with their expectations. In a lot of cases, I have yet to find someone who truly rates a place as a 1-2 star to do so because objectively it is bad vs the fact that they seem to rate everything 1-2 stars.

What really gets me is there doesn't readily appear to be a way to mark reviews as not helpful or obviously vindictive / out of line. This one popped up on my radar about a deeply personal attack on a freaking food truck. I don't know the owners, I do enjoy their food, and I've been around the industry enough to know that the "fuck you haters" attitude in any review just reeks of entitlement.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:19 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't bother with yelp. I don't know the expectations of the reviewer, there is no consistency across reviews, and I think online reviews are mostly written by people with an axe to grind.

I look up Masa, 4 stars! I look up Joey's luncheonette, 4 stars! Are they both just as good based on how much you pay? If I paid $9.95 for Masa would it be 127 stars? If I paid $300 for Joey's Luncheonette would it be -70 stars? Who the fuck knows.

I get excited to go to Joey's Luncheonette, thinking "holy crap! a hidden gem with 4 star food for under 15 bucks! They must be doing something awesome there" but really it is just decent $15 food.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:22 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is an honest question, but why doesn't Yelp have any sort of "this review was not helpful" flag? I read reviews by people who have complaints that have nothing to do with the place they're reviewing and it makes me nuts. I realize that clicking that button probably wouldn't do any good but it would at least make me feel like I have some power. (And since Yelp seems to be run by people who don't really care, probably prone to abuse.)

(That "This place was closed on Thanksgiving weekend!" review is what I'm talking about. That's noise. That's useless to everyone.)

I always want to like Yelp. I always want it to be helpful and informative but every time I use it, I just end up feeling frustrated. Sadly, there's not really a good alternative.
posted by darksong at 4:24 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, fuckers, Yelp exists for a reason. Because all of us, constantly need to deal with various businesses that take our money in exchange for goods or services. What do you propose? Going back to the days of Zagat or Michelin that's frequently obsolete by the time of publication, and can be gamed too? There are millions of businesses out there. In the pre-internet days, well, you just took a chance - and guess what, you can go right back into the fucking middle ages and go take a chance like you used to back in the days of your fabulous youth. Thanks, but no thanks.

Now, sure Yelp can be improved. But you got a brain, no? Of course - it's freakin' bloody obvious - when you deal with as broadly crowdsourced feedback - basically anybody - you are going to have problems. That's where your brain comes in. You read with a critical eye, and try to use your common sense and savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff. You skip the obviously biased, clueless etc. It's not perfect by any means, but it beats what was there before (i.e. nothing). It works all rightish.

And since there is such a crying need for such services - hey, skippy, get to it, you got ideas, no? Come out with a competitor and people will beat a path to your door. Easy peasy no?

But complain about idiots on the intra tubes? Chump's game.
posted by VikingSword at 4:27 PM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


★☆☆☆☆ 8/4/2011

No links to the actual reviews... I wonder why. No context, and not sure if made up. Well, I'll just Google for a key phrase, and... really?? Unselectable text?
posted by kurumi at 4:31 PM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


No, it's much better to complain about people complaining about idiots on the intra tubes.
posted by adamrice at 4:31 PM on August 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


I went to a (fabulous) restaurant and wine bar the other night and one of the most-recent Yelp reviews was a 1-star from some kid complaining that they carded him.
posted by nev at 4:33 PM on August 4, 2011


If "Chinese accent guy" isn't Chinese, that'd mess up the ambience for me as well.
posted by griphus at 4:33 PM on August 4, 2011


an easy peasy pleasy coupon would help
posted by clavdivs at 4:37 PM on August 4, 2011


Wha? I've seen lots of unhelpful Yelp reviews, but most of these are helpful, if sometimes hyperbolic. I want to know if a reviewer was never served because his waitress forgot to put in the order, or if a restaurant charges a 18% gratuity regardless of party size, or if a restaurant rewards patrons to push and shove to the head of the line by serving them first.
posted by parrot_person at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, fuckers, Yelp exists for a reason. Because all of us,

So we got the yelp we deserve?
posted by Ad hominem at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually, I like Yelp -- and Open Table, and Urban Spoon, and Zagats -- preferably in combination so I can get as much info as possible. That's still the strength of Yelp -- that information from others tends to be more helpful than guessing from the looks of the menu or decor.

Having said that, I'd add to this selection another of my least favorite type of Yelp dining review -- and there are a lot of these -- the raves from people who are only interested in the size and potency of the alcoholic beverages.
posted by bearwife at 4:39 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


(That "This place was closed on Thanksgiving weekend!" review is what I'm talking about. That's noise. That's useless to everyone.)

Why is that useless? If I was looking for reviews of a restaurant on Thanksgiving weekend, I'd be quite glad to have that information.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:41 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I should add, as someone who travels a lot, Yelp has been handing on locating what exactly is worth investigating around me. Usually the Yelp app doesn't dig down through all the reviews (or make doing so practical), so you have to go by the star reviews.

If as you say, VikingSword, that Yelp isn't really all that bad and you just have to ignore the star reviews and critically read all the reviews, they why are they even providing a mechanism for star reviews?

They do serve a purpose, I think they need to be refined at it because it is a nice concept. I think they need to make it harder to give a shitty review (either 5+ stars my friend owns the place or 1 star my exboyfriend runs the place), and give credit for people who can write a well done and insightful review, even if it is a mediocre or low star.

I think they are trying to err on the side of keeping the businesses from gaming the system, but has no mechanism in place to keep customers or other businesses from using it to poorly review their competing spaces.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:42 PM on August 4, 2011


VikingSword : Your comment, though impassioned, lacked the kind of emotional empathy that I have come to expect, if not demand, of Metafilter. Other than that everything you said was OK.
★☆☆☆☆
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:43 PM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


Seriously, if Yelp is so bad, where are the alternatives? I'd love to use them.

The whole idea behind Yelp is that it's just your average joe doing the reviewing. That's a feature, not a bug, from Yelp's perspective. You already have Famous Food Critic doing his thing. This is different. But yes, of course, when you throw the doors open to the public you'll get all kinds.

Personally, I am grateful when a clueless person reveals their cluelessness - I can skip it. Worse are the astroturfers, the people with personal beefs etc. But you try to adjust for that.

You take the good with the bad, and on balance, Yelp is useful.

But by all means, suggest alternatives - I'm genuinely interested.
posted by VikingSword at 4:43 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I'd love to be called Mary Sunshine Sparklepants.

It actually gets old after the first half-dozen times, even when your pants sparkle.

I kind of liked the review of the bakery from the person who was 57 and "raised with manners" yet, when the clerk asked her if she had the right order, "wanted to smash her face into the cake." Which a) is clearly lacking in manners and b) would put her back at the end of the line.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


or if a restaurant rewards patrons to push and shove to the head of the line by serving them first.

That is annoying, but looking at the review it reminds me of the old-school bakeries in Astoria (very Greek, among other things.) It's a pushier form of civilization, to be sure, but you get used to it for the delicious, cheap, delicious baked goods.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2011


Why is that useless? If I was looking for reviews of a restaurant on Thanksgiving weekend, I'd be quite glad to have that information.

Yeah, I agree. Trying to find a restaurant open on Thanksgiving is a giant pain in the ass. Although, the fact that that was given as a 1-star review is bullshit.
posted by griphus at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2011


While I remember Porto's having long lines, I really don't recall the level chaos that cake smasher mentions.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2011


I used to be a Yelper but after the rampant douchebaggery, I just said, "Hell with it," and became an active particpant on my local Chowhound board, where at least the majority of the people curb the idiots and trolls.

(I can't say that for the general forums, though.)
posted by Kitteh at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2011


And for the record, at least one mefi meetup has been held at the HMS Bounty. We are obviously morons who chose to meetup at a loser bar!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:49 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


The butter one cracked me up after a recent visit to the Portland Farmer's Market (the PSU one).

A gentleman, dressed as if he were on the 7th stage of the Tour de France and straddling his bike in the middle of the path, blocking no less than 100 people that I counted while watching this aging hippy. He decided to ask some questions about a local cheese. What kind of cheese? What kind of cows? Where are the cows? How many cows? Is the cheese processed on site? Is it aged? Is the rennet from calves or bacteria?

Up to this point I thought to myself, okay, this is pretty much straight out of an episode of Portlandia, but I can let it slide. It's the farmer's market. It's Portland. He wants tasty organic gouda cheese from the 200 Jersey cows from near Corvallis fed an all-grain diet where the milk is processed on-site and aged for the USDA recommended 60+ days using non-animal hurting rennet made from bacteria with recombinant DNA.

But then, he asked the question. A question that I can't comprehend. Even a tree-hugging vegan couldn't comprehend the words that came out of his mouth. I present to you all the reason why Portland is Weird. This following question was asked, in 100% seriousness:

"Is the bacteria humanely raised?"
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:50 PM on August 4, 2011 [148 favorites]


Yeah, my point about the 1-star review for a restaurant that was closed on Thanksgiving weekend is that it's a 1-star review for a restaurant this person never presumably went to. It's useful information to know but it tells me nothing about what the food or service is like on the days when the restaurant is actually open and it brings down the overall star rating. Now, if it was a review of "We tried to go here on Thanksgiving and were surprised to see they were closed all weekend. When we tried again, the food was good but not exciting" or whatever -- that's useful.

And maybe that wasn't the greatest example but I see that kind of thing all the time on Yelp and it's frustrating.
posted by darksong at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2011


I likely would have slapped that man on behalf of all humanity.
posted by elizardbits at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


My absolute favorite Yelp reviews of all time are the ones that say "I've never been to this place because it hasn't opened yet, BUT..." Just to get a "first review" badge.

It's this sort of karma whoring that destroys the site.
posted by kdar at 4:53 PM on August 4, 2011


If you are going to complain about Yelp, then there are far more serious problems than lame reviews. There are allegations of extortion. Allegations of unseemly business practices with advertising high pressure etc. That's a far more serious issue to me. If anything, these are the kinds of things that would have be chuck Yelp right out.

But this tumblr is really picking on some low targets. It's basically "stupid shit the person in the street said". Not exactly a challenge. It's not exactly instructive, it's not funny, and I have doubts most of it is even genuine.

Yelp provides a sorely needed service. And Yelp has some very serious problems - and no, those are not the problems of lame reviews as identified by this tumblr.

So what's next?
posted by VikingSword at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


In my area all the fast food places have 5 stars, and none of the really excellent restaurants that I frequent have more than 4. I think it's because you go to McDonalds knowing exactly what you're in for, and the food's really consistent, so... that's 5 stars.

I think Yelp is a great tool, I use it all the time, but you definitely have to read through the negative reviews to determine whether or not they really matter.
posted by Huck500 at 4:55 PM on August 4, 2011


So I wonder if Yelp is still guilty of mafia-style tactics.

Also, I think Mister Fabulous just won the Internet.
posted by adamrice at 4:55 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


> And for the record, at least one mefi meetup has been held at the HMS Bounty

I love the Bounty!

I do occasionally scan Yelp when in a new city, and try to glean from the reviewers on if I would want to run into them in the space. If I do, and they give it a good review, I'll go there. If I don't, and they gave it a bad review, then chances are I'd probably love it.

> So what's next?

Do you want an answer right now? You can use google places, the free weekly newspaper just about every fucking city has, open table, and so on.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:57 PM on August 4, 2011


VikingSword: But by all means, suggest alternatives - I'm genuinely interested.

I believe a suggestion for improvement had been suggested multiple times before you posted the above: being able to flag or rate reviews as useful. Amazon does something like that.

Another option would be EatMeFi where you have to cough up 5 bucks to post reviews. Can we have EatMeFi? That'd be awesome!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:02 PM on August 4, 2011 [24 favorites]


I would like to say something negative about the quality of this person's blog, but I would just be contributing to the problem instead of providing a solution. </sanctimony>
posted by not_on_display at 5:04 PM on August 4, 2011


I find yelp most useful for basic info on a restaurant: hours, is it cash only?, does it have a happy hour?, etc. The actual reviews, eh not so much.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:04 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another option would be EatMeFi where you have to cough up 5 bucks to post reviews. Can we have EatMeFi? That'd be awesome!

I see what you did there.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:05 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


--->And for the record, at least one mefi meetup has been held at the HMS Bounty

I don't know, that place sounds...revolting. *kapow!*


--->Can we have EatMeFi?

MefEat?
posted by Winnemac at 5:05 PM on August 4, 2011


being able to flag or rate reviews as useful

You can flag reviews as Useful, Funny, or Cool, as well as sort by them on the full website. This feature has been around for years.
posted by benzenedream at 5:14 PM on August 4, 2011


EatMe
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not a coincidence that many of my favorite restaurants wear some kind of People On Yelp Hate Us badge, proudly. One of my favorites had a page on their website devoted to dumb reviews people left for them on Yelp. Apparently one person had come into the restaurant and complained "I don't see what's so Hawaiian about this place", and were asked if they meant instead to be at the Hawaiian restaurant a few doors down, replied "Look I'm just saying this isn't what I was expecting."
posted by danny the boy at 5:19 PM on August 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can we have EatMeFi? That'd be awesome!

Meatafilter.
posted by resurrexit at 5:21 PM on August 4, 2011


(In the sense of 'food'.)
posted by resurrexit at 5:22 PM on August 4, 2011


I believe a suggestion for improvement had been suggested multiple times before you posted the above: being able to flag or rate reviews as useful. Amazon does something like that.

First, it's already been done. Second, I'm asking for alternatives to Yelp, something with the same scope of the various businesses featured and the volume of evaluations. Yes, I'm aware of city pages and the like, but sorry, that's not an improvement over Yelp, it's a step back.

For better or worse, Yelp has identified a definite need, and filled it. Just as Craigslist did. Both have problems. And both have niche competitors, but they don't have the same kind of comprehensive competition, like a FedEx vs UPS for example.
posted by VikingSword at 5:22 PM on August 4, 2011


I support the idea of eat.metafilter.com.
posted by adamrice at 5:27 PM on August 4, 2011


eat metafilter

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:35 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


RogerB: ...the general provincialism and lack of taste that predominate outside the larger and more cosmopolitan coastal cities...

Fuck you, Yelper.
A. The majority of this country's largest cities are not on the coasts (or at least not the coasts you're probably thinking of).
B. The provincialism and lack of taste is just as bad in those "cosmopolitan coastal cities," it's just expressed with a different vocabulary. (See feckless' template.) It might stand out more in smaller markets simply because there are fewer overall members.
posted by me3dia at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean really, a healthy percentage of askme questions are for food recommendations, so EatMe just makes sense.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's really no reason for Yelp to exist as its own separate site as it's just a sub-set of this. Once in a while you get a good laugh (e.g., "humanely raised bacteria"), but otherwise it's meh.
posted by webhund at 5:51 PM on August 4, 2011


Vitameatametafilter.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:58 PM on August 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh, and eat.metafilter? YES.
posted by me3dia at 5:59 PM on August 4, 2011


posted by kirkaracha at 8:58 PM on August 4 [−] Favorite added! [!]
posted by clavdivs at 5:59 PM on August 4, 2011


I can't believe how many bad reviews were about places in my neighborhood.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:03 PM on August 4, 2011


An owner of one of the small food businesses I follow on twitter posted this today. I could not agree with Richie more.
posted by mollymayhem at 6:04 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mary Sunshine Sparklepants, doo dah, doo dah....
posted by eriko at 6:05 PM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


The provincialism and lack of taste is just as bad in those "cosmopolitan coastal cities," it's just expressed with a different vocabulary.

Spoken like someone who's never tried to use Yelp to find good falafel in Ohio, vegetarian food in South Dakota, or non-cornstarch-sauce Chinese in the South. The authenticity-policing that feckless is talking about is silly, yes, but it poses far less of an obstacle to finding and eating good food than the reviews by people who have no idea what the food in question is supposed to be like, because they've never eaten it anywhere but this one place.

And yes, like it or not, this is the difference between a provincial place and a cosmopolitan place in a nutshell. In a cosmopolitan place, there are people who are used to eating different cuisines, have sampled them in different places, and can assess them on their own terms; in a provincial place, reviewers' palates are way narrower. I can see you've got some kind of broader politico-cultural axe to grind here, but strictly as a question of the different local food cultures in different parts of the US, I don't see how this is even arguable.
posted by RogerB at 6:10 PM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I will say that yelp totally saved our asses when we were starving in Blythe, CA (tiny desert town near interstate 10) after a day of hiking in Joshua Tree. Admittedly we weren't looking for a specific sort of food, but the mexican food we ate was pretty damn tasty. And before speicus had the idea of using yelp, I was ready to give up and eat at a chain restaurant near the freeway.

Something I've learned from living/eating/traveling different places is that it's better to find out what is good there rather than to go in search of a particular sort of food. I'm from a small town with a substantial foodie population (and restaurants to show for it), but I would never suggest anyone seek out authentic chinese food there. I once ordered a yellow curry at the chinese/thai place and they used what appeared to be (and tasted like) crinkle cut fries for the potatoes.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2011


and give credit for people who can write a well done and insightful review, even if it is a mediocre or low star.

The Yelp Elite Squad attempts to do this. But, even the Elite Squad seems to be based more on: "You've written a lot of reviews! Welcome to the Elite Squad!" rather than: "You've written some very well written and helpful reviews! Welcome to the Elite Squad!"
posted by asnider at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Yelp and was an elite reviewer early on. That said, there are ways they run the system that distort reviews significantly.

First, Yelp has (or had) Elite-only events, usually free to attendees, at businesses. Inevitably, the next day, that business gets a bunch of five star reviews from high-reputation reviewers (typically, Elite reviewers have a hundred or more reviews and lots of awards). These reviewer rarely mention they got their meal for free, their nails done at half price, or that the business knew they were an influential Yelp reviewer.

On the one star side, if you write a negative review of a business and Yelp yanks it, there's no appeal process, and the email you get is from either a fake name or a faceless employee with no Yelp account.

The problem is, there's no real engagement with the community, so no fair oversight. The engagement is primarily with paying (or potentially paying) businesses and Elite reviewers who have Yelp-organized red carpet experiences without disclosure.
posted by zippy at 6:35 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq: "The applesauce, to my horror, was hospital grade slop. Am I really so spoiled as to expect homemade with chunks of apples and darkened with spices?

Apparently. I mean, what do you expect? You ordered baby food at a restaurant.
"

She ordered potato pancakes, which are traditionally served with applesauce. A good potato pancake should be able to stand on its own, but applesauce, when good quality, adds a lovely sweet/sour contrast to the savory potato flavor. Potato pancakes are not supposed to be greasy and heavy; they are supposed to be well-browned, crispy, and light. Her review was spot on and very useful (I will not be ordering the potato pancakes at Langer’s Delicatessen Restaurant), although she did not need to go on about being vegetarian; totally tangential to the review.

So let's just be clear: All kinds of foods are eaten for all kinds of reasons. Just because those reasons do not exist inside your own limited scope of eating knowledge does not mean that they are not valid.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:41 PM on August 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


Elite reviewers who have Yelp-organized red carpet experiences without disclosure.
I'm an Elite Squad member this year, but have not gone to a single Elite Event. Does that mean that my reviews are morally superior?

In all seriousness, you're right. There needs to be full disclosure from Elite members who are getting special treatment in exchange for a (hopefully positive) review.
posted by asnider at 6:41 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Little did I know this place charges 18% gratuity no matter how big your party is.

I dunno, that one seems pretty valid.
posted by tremspeed at 6:44 PM on August 4, 2011


Huh. Some of them are dumb reviews, but I actually agree with others.

I love Wurstkuche, for example, but the Yelp reviewer on that page is correct that it could be great but is currently just a place to wait. In fact, I attempted to go there today with an out-of-town guest and decided to go somewhere else when I saw that the line was more than a couple of people long and knew that meant I would not be able to get back to work for well over an hour. How does it take so long to cook a sausage?

And, as much as I love the foot at Porto's, it really can be a frustrating madhouse.

But the people complaining about Langer's belong on that site, for sure.
posted by The World Famous at 6:44 PM on August 4, 2011


> The problem is, there's no real engagement with the community, so no fair oversight. The engagement is primarily with paying (or potentially paying) businesses and Elite reviewers who have Yelp-organized red carpet experiences without disclosure.

Which in essence, my entire problem with yelp.

It is inherently engaging in each and every local community (it is encouraging people to rate where they shop, eat, spend free time, during their day to day activities), but it refuses to acknowledge it is doing as such. One of those things is to enable the members of community to have a say in the reviewers and the quality of the review, and also have things such as full disclosure of "this was a paid for event."
posted by mrzarquon at 6:46 PM on August 4, 2011


Non-chunky applesauce causes horror? Somewhere in Maine, Stephen King senses an opportunity.
posted by zippy at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2011


The Ensaucening! Stephen, call me!
posted by zippy at 6:54 PM on August 4, 2011


I rather like the random details of Yelp reviews. For some people it is important to know if you have to wait for hours or fight to get to the top of the queue or so on; others don't care and they can dismiss that as silly. Giving 2 stars might not be fair if that's all that's wrong, but if that's a key thing that bugs you in general I can see why you'd do it.

And I'd like to know if a) applesauce was hideous because I really like potato pancakes and b) if someone was adding 18% on to a bill automatically. Those don't seem like stupid things to mention in a review.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:56 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Porto's does not serve people who cut in line. I call bullshit on that Yelp review.
posted by sideshow at 7:14 PM on August 4, 2011


Why not call it "YOU'RE NOT YELPING" or "THANKS FOR THE YELP" or "LITTLE TO NO YELP AT ALL" or any other number of YELP/HELP combos? "FUCK YOU YELPER" is just lazy.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:32 PM on August 4, 2011 [24 favorites]


Put me to work at Harpers I could write those headlines...
posted by nathancaswell at 7:34 PM on August 4, 2011


I am not talking about specific ingredients or wine pairings, but simple questions like where the butter came from or how many counts in the espresso.

I want to punch that fucking douche in the face.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to punch that fucking douche in the face.

That was a one-star for what is most likely the best restaurant in Los Angeles. I wonder what he thinks of Denny's.
posted by drpynchon at 8:02 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what he thinks of Denny's.

As long as the waiter knows that the butter came from Sam's Club and the espresso has zero counts because it's Denny's and they don't serve espresso, well, I think he'd say it was top notch.
posted by asnider at 8:09 PM on August 4, 2011


Mary Sunshine Sparklepants is my new pony.
posted by SPrintF at 8:09 PM on August 4, 2011


Nothing brings out the internet crazy like foodtalk. 'Cause the opinion of a guy who wears pleated jorts with a belt and suspenders, wears shoes with velcro and talks about food on the internet is really useful. You know the kind of guy, that "mom's boyfriend" type who knows everything about everything, especially food and cars, but who somehow always burns the steaks and drives a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera with a bumper sticker that says "my other car is a Buick Reatta". Yeah thanks.
posted by gjc at 8:23 PM on August 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Now I am not short, I am 57.

At first I thought the reviewer was using her age to somehow support the case that she isn't short.

Then it occurred to me that she was probably just trying to say she's 5'7.
posted by jeremy b at 8:35 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be better if the name of the place being reviewed was listed at the start of the review instead of at the end.
posted by jeremy b at 8:40 PM on August 4, 2011


Complain all you want about people reviewing the fast food restaurants. I work for a library system with 60 branches, and I'm a vegetarian. If I'm suddenly called in to fill in at a library in East New York, where your choices are fast food and more fast food, it's actually incredibly useful to have Yelp to point me in the right direction. (Anywhere but White Castle, where my "lunch" was onion rings and a vanilla milkshake.) When I was without a car at a sports stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the hottest day of the summer, Yelp told me how to walk half a mile to the nearest Subway. Yelp is not my first choice for finding a great restaurant for a special occasion, but for "Here you are. Here's how you avoid starvation," it suits me fine.
posted by Jeanne at 8:47 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yelp is very useful if you use it in reverse.

If you really love or really hate a restaurant, go to yelp and find reviewers who agree with you. Then look at their other reviews and see if you have any other places in common. If you do, try the places they like.

Working like this I have found some very good places that I would have never even considered.

If Yelp could implement Netflix's recommendation engine, it would be an awesome site.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 9:01 PM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Yelp would be fantastic if no restaurant had a constant review derived from the average of all its reviews but instead used an algorithm which suggested a rating based on people who had tastes like yourself. The idea that there is "good food" and "bad food" is false on its face. Some folks crave White Castle, and I will not say they are wrong. Yes, careful reading of the reviews helps you out, but there's room for improvement. (And the flags for "funny" and "cool" lead to god-awful writing).

The current system makes it so that popular or famous restaurants actually suffer compared to obscure restaurants. For example, take the cases of Spicy Thai BBQ and Jitlada in Los Angeles. These are two very good Thai restaurants. However, Jitlada winds up on a lot of teevee shows and is constantly pimped by J. Gold while Spicy Thai BBQ is mostly only known by the kind of people who are really into Thai food. The result is that Spicy Thai has stellar Yelp reviews while Jitlada lingers around three stars.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:03 PM on August 4, 2011


And Ayn Rand said it first.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:03 PM on August 4, 2011


The waiter should have told the espresso guy, "Three! The espresso has Three. Counts. Ah. Ha. Ha. Haaaa."
posted by en forme de poire at 9:16 PM on August 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


en forme de poire: "The waiter should have told the espresso guy, "Three! The espresso has Three. Counts. Ah. Ha. Ha. Haaaa.""

Oh my god. I now feel an uncontrollable urge to quit my job and spend the next 5 years getting waitstaff jobs at progressively better and better restaurants until I am, finally, perfectly positioned to deliver that line. I will then bow to the now frozen and silent dining room and walk out of the restaurant, never to be seen again.

Fuck you, clown!
posted by danny the boy at 9:32 PM on August 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


And Ayn Rand said it first.

"Yelp?"
posted by zippy at 9:50 PM on August 4, 2011


Any comment that references the Buick Reatta gets five stars.
posted by ambient2 at 9:50 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, thought the "Ayn Rand said it first" was a reference to the author and not the prior poster.
posted by zippy at 9:53 PM on August 4, 2011


A one star review of The Donut Man?! What is wrong with you?
posted by mandanza at 10:00 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


— and also absorbed a lot of the energy that used to go into the Chowhound forums before they were sold and subsequently fucked

Yeah I don't understand, I actually feel like Chowhound has improved in the sense that now you can navigate the damn thing without tearing your hair out. I haven't found that it's gotten significantly worse, it seems like there are still some really knowledgable, passionate people on that site. Granted, I don't spend a ton of time on there, just go to it when I'm after something a few times a month or so, but I still think it beats the pants off of, well, anything else I've used in the U.S.

Of course the catch is that you have to do some intelligent searching and know roughly what you're looking for, cross reference that with a map, etc...basically use your brain in a way that a star rating system obviates the need for. So there's that.

And since there is such a crying need for such services - hey, skippy, get to it, you got ideas, no? Come out with a competitor and people will beat a path to your door. Easy peasy no?

Hmm, I'm starting to get an idea...

By the way, in Japan there is this site called supleks.jp. As far as I can tell—granted, I've only used it to investigate a small chunk of Tokyo so far—it kicks the ass of Yelp or any other rating/listing food site I've found. They seem to specialize in ramen (and also have curry, chahan, gyoza, udon and soba sections, but I haven't yet used them and am most familiar with the ramen db), and have a much more comprehensive rating system, a way to search an area with a google map overlay, and the reviews seem to be more thoughtful on average. I'm not sure why they nailed it but this doesn't exist in the U.S., and it's a great model for this kind of thing I think. I love the search features, being able to drill down by location and ranking, it's so obvious and simple.

P.S. in regards to espresso, wtf is a "count?"
posted by dubitable at 10:08 PM on August 4, 2011


I can see you've got some kind of broader politico-cultural axe to grind here

Why yes, I do. Acting as if sophisticated culinary taste and knowledge can be found only on the coasts does a disservice to the majority of the country, where plenty of fine food and discriminating palates may be found. Fuck that "flyover state" attitude. It's not uniformly tumbleweeds and cornfields out here. According to your profile, you live in New Orleans; you should know that's not true.

And actually, I have used Yelp to gather info about restaurant options in random cities across the country -- professionally, even. I've found just as many unhelpful, unknowledgeable, "provincial" reviews in major cities as I have in podunk towns. People not knowing bad food when they taste it is a uniformly distributed trait.

PS, next time you need vegetarian advice in South Dakota, try HappyCow. Specialists are your friend.
posted by me3dia at 10:26 PM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


P.S. in regards to espresso, wtf is a "count?"

Above a viscount, below a Maquis
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 PM on August 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm glad I don't go out to eat much, I think, after reading through this.
posted by maxwelton at 10:36 PM on August 4, 2011


Yelp is so infuriating, easily gamed, astroturfed, and full of axe-grinding that I don't see how it's any improvement over an online Yellow Pages site where you can sort the restaurants by type and location.
posted by ErikaB at 11:23 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yelp is not my first choice for finding a great restaurant for a special occasion, but for "Here you are. Here's how you avoid starvation," it suits me fine.

Same here. I usually end up turning to Yelp when I'm on a weekend road trip and I find myself in some random town not knowing where anything is. Usually I'm able to find my hotel on Yelp and then find things that are nearby, which is how I ended up at this tiny, amazing little place in Walla Walla, seriously, go there if you ever happen to be in Walla Walla. But I'm also a Windows Phone user, and in the new version of the software there's this awesome feature called Local Scout that my boyfriend designed eeee that pretty much does exactly that -- finds where you are and shows what's nearby. It's way more convenient to use that than to pull up the Yelp app on my phone or get out my laptop and find a wifi connection if I'm on the road, so I can see my Yelp usage is going to go way down in the very near future.

I've found just as many unhelpful, unknowledgeable, "provincial" reviews in major cities as I have in podunk towns. People not knowing bad food when they taste it is a uniformly distributed trait.

So, so true. I do sometimes use Yelp to look up places in my hometown, mostly if it's a brand new place or a place that I haven't heard good things about from people I actually know. But I have to take all the reviews with a huge grain of salt. So many reviewers will give a restaurant low ratings because they were on a bad date, or because they didn't like the way the hostess looked at them, or they thought the silverware seemed cheap. Piddly little things. And then there are people like an acquaintance of mine who keeps getting fired from places and having his Yelp friends post negative reviews of those places in retaliation.

What's funny is looking at reviews like this one or this one -- hmm, you ordered a "deconstructed" chowder and you're surprised that it came in a non-traditional format? Oh goodness, you ordered a Belgian beer and you're shocked that was served in a "wine" glass? Both those reviewers rated that restaurant poorly based on their own ignorance of what they were ordering. That's a common feature of Yelp reviews, it seems.
posted by palomar at 11:25 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another anecdote of my Yelp reviewer experience. I've written a bunch of first reviews of Bay Area businesses. I talked to one of the owners recently, several years after I wrote his first review (five stars). He was happy about it, and glad I was a repeat customer years later, but he told me what happened after the review.

Yelp called him and said "you've got a really good review on our site, you should advertise with us" He told me their rate was $300/month (he tried it and it wasn't worth it.)

I like writing good reviews of unknown places, not for the Yelp cred, but because I want to promote good things in the world.

But knowing that my reviews result in boiler room cold calls to the businesses ... ick.

I know, Yelp's got to make money, but I think they mismanage their community to the point that I think it lowers the utility of their service. And this, in turn, may be an opening for a more community-focused review site.
posted by zippy at 11:33 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed that nobody has yet mentioned the cesspool which is Yelp Talk. I think it's only plausible function is as a honeypot for trolls.

Then again, craigslist's forums have been crap for years without any noticable improvement.
posted by benzenedream at 12:26 AM on August 5, 2011


After looking through my window for several years at work, I decided to check out Metafilter (or the Blue as the yokels call it). I gotta say, it mightily exceeded my expectations. Fairly typical for a mom and pop kinda place. The bathrooms were clean and the music I found to be at a fairly decent level. One guy that worked there, I believe Certox was his name, would be cuter if he had a boat. He did serve some really nice bicycle thread. The only reason I took off a star is there were no wallabies to pacify the kid screaming in the background.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 1:13 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It tasted like Club soda with a splash of Crystal Light" is making me laugh hard.
posted by PY at 1:23 AM on August 5, 2011


VikingSword: "That's where your brain comes in. You read with a critical eye, and try to use your common sense and savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff. You skip the obviously biased, clueless etc.."

Or one could, you know.... shut the fuck up and just go have something to eat. If it sucks, whatever. Not the end of the world. Every experience in the world doesn't need to be vetted by a bunch of fuckheads on the internet in order for me to figure out if I like it or not.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:01 AM on August 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


palomar: "Both those reviewers rated that restaurant poorly based on their own ignorance of what they were ordering. That's a common feature of Yelp reviews, it seems."

Another common feature is that anyone who has ever eaten in a restaurant and can string a few sentences together suddenly believes they're François Simon.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:07 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to your profile, you live in New Orleans; you should know that's not true.

While not normally denoted by the phrase "the coasts", New Orleans is in fact on the coast. More problematically, a major category error comes from comparing New Orleans--a city whose Creole population produces food renowned the world over--with cities in "flyover states".

While the vegetarian cuisine in South Dakota surely stands on its own, you'll hopefully forgive a few cosmopolitans their ignorance.
posted by mistersquid at 4:58 AM on August 5, 2011


I can't believe I'm logging back in after more than a year to settle this particular hash. Clearly, the thing should be called FooFi. Clearly. Idiots. Cheese and Rice! Reshun.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Little did I know this place charges 18% gratuity no matter how big your party is.

I dunno, that one seems pretty valid.


No matter how small your party is, you should be tipping 20% anyways.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:07 AM on August 5, 2011


No matter how small your party is, you should be tipping 20% anyways.

Of course. But having the 18% tacked on to the bill makes it that much harder to figure out how much more you should tip to get to 20%. It's obnoxious and irritating.

I don't understand the mentality that only the food, considered in isolation, is the legitimate object of a Yelp review. I'm very happy that people mention stupid policies or overly-loud music or what have you in their reviews, because those things can ruin a meal just as easily as bad food.
posted by enn at 7:17 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And it is perfectly good manners to want to smash someone's face into a cake. It's only bad manners if you actually do it. Come on now.
posted by enn at 7:21 AM on August 5, 2011


Little did I know this place charges 18% gratuity no matter how big your party is.

I dunno, that one seems pretty valid.


If it's correct. Looking at the Sugarfish review there are four people who say it's 16%, and two who say it's 16.5% in the first 40 reviews. People make shit up to complain about.
posted by peeedro at 7:28 AM on August 5, 2011


I've never used yelp. Thanks, now I can see what I've been missing!
posted by Eideteker at 7:38 AM on August 5, 2011


Yelp is only just taking off in the UK, but I find it irritating as a) the newsletter they sent me had this faux-chummy, tone deaf to the local twang copy which irritated me awfully b) most of the reviews seem pretty, well, vacuous. It's just not very useful.

"Completely independent from the real quality of this fast-food restaurant, I simply have to give it a five-star rating. This very McDonalds saved my live on a daily basis during my whole three-week stay in Eastbourne. Maybe it's just me but I didn't like the local cuisine and so we were hitting this McD's at like all times of the day. A big plus is that it's in the town center and seemed to me to be the major meeting point for all young people in town. Not to forget one of the employees who like literally started his own magic show as soon as he stepped into work. As you can see it's pretty classy and definitly worth the visit!"
posted by mippy at 7:57 AM on August 5, 2011


I'm a fancypants food critic (writer and editor) and I have concerns about Yelp and other amateur review sites. Yes, they come in handy for basic information - where can I find breakfast near my hotel while I'm on this business trip - but empowering everyone to pass judgment on restaurants is hugely risky. Professional reviewers have guidelines and standards (you can read more here) and take our work seriously. We know that there are livelihoods at stake. I didn't know that there were elite-level Yelpers who get comped meals, but if that's true, it's clearly unethical.
posted by tizzie at 8:01 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Trip Advisor is more helpful but it does reveal a level of princess peaness I had not expected in the public at large.
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on August 4 [5 favorites +] [!]


Are you specifically checking reviews for the Thai Ladyboy Resort and Dayspa?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:26 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.S. in regards to espresso, wtf is a "count?"

Above a viscount, below a Maquis


Vive le French roast resistance!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:29 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have reviewed fast food restaurants on Yelp.
posted by bq at 8:36 AM on August 5, 2011


But having the 18% tacked on to the bill makes it that much harder to figure out how much more you should tip to get to 20%. It's obnoxious and irritating.

Exactly how much you were going to tip before, but with the decimal point moved over to the left.
posted by griphus at 8:38 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Yelp, but then again, they sent me to a free meet-and-greet event for local charities where I ended up snagging a spiffy piece of art during the auction, and some tasty mini-cupcakes. I still have a bunch of the free yelp-mints-tins they were giving out.

What I find most amusing are the string of 1-star reviews that are obviously all written by the same person, against some place they went to just once. It seems like a lot of effort in hanging onto their unhappiness.
posted by nomisxid at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2011


I hate the included tip for small parties with no disclosure.

No, I don't always tip 20%. Sometimes service sucks and I tip less. If you, as a business owner, are bothered by this on behalf of your waiters, then perhaps...you should pay them, and/or ensure that you hire decent waiters.

It also pisses me off when they use their "discretion" to add the auto gratuity. That means they look at people, decide that they don't look like good tippers (!!!) and then essentially raise the price of their meal. That's fucked.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:49 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


No matter how small your party is, you should be tipping 20% anyways.

Why? I always tip 20%, with the understanding that this is 5% above the standard and based on my own desire, as a former server, to tip 5% more than standard. I don't think there's any reasonable basis to say that everyone should tip 20% as a matter of course, since that would be a change to the standard and I don't see any rationale for raising the standard. Furthermore, when a restaurant decides to make a specific tip percentage mandatory, I take into account that the inequities that partially motivate my 20% tip do not exist in that restaurant. Whereas I generally consider that my server may be stiffed on several tips throughout a shift and that a more generous tip will help to offset that, an establishment with a mandatory tip means that the server never gets stiffed and, therefore, will do better tip-wise than servers at other places, even if nobody ever adds anything to the mandatory tip.
posted by The World Famous at 8:59 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always assume the autogratuity is in place so the owners can rip off the servers. Whether or not I pay a restaurant bill on my credit card, I always tip in cash so the server gets their money right then and there. Fuck making them wait til the end of the week.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always assume the autogratuity is in place so the owners can rip off the servers.

If that's the case, then the autogratuity is just a fraudulent way for the restaurant to make the meal cost more than the stated menu prices, making that particular Yelp review perhaps the most important one of all.
posted by The World Famous at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2011


Of the 19 entries on that tumblr, virtually all report their impression of the food or service. That's exactly what I want to read in a Yelp review. By getting several points of view, I get a more accurate impression of the place. It's perfectly easy to ignore people who are complaining about butter provenance. But, and this is the great thing, if somebody does care, they get something out of that review!

Eating at a restaurant is a luxury. At most restaurants, you are served food equivalent in quality to what you could make on your own at a much lower cost. Potato pancakes are a good example - they cost $12 at Langers. $12 for potatoes, eggs, flour, applesauce, and sour cream. To be worth that $12, they should be pretty good. The reviewer found the pancakes greasy and the applesauce low quality. Homemade applesauce is easy to make, is frequently tastier, and is a little detail that can make an ok dish special.

You're reading restaurant reviews. Don't you want to know about the food?

There's also some selective editing going on here. The "cheap silverware" review of Son of a Gun, which can be found in its entirety here, also comments on the quality of the food.
posted by factory123 at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


A pony that would make just about any site that reviewed anything, and not just Yelp. a hell of a lot better would be a killfile--the ability to block out individual reviews or individual reviewers from what you see. That would let you avoid special snowflakes like Bianca C. who say things like "You guys are like the Michele Bachmann of food carts", apparently sans irony.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:56 AM on August 5, 2011


"You guys are like the Michele Bachmann of food carts"

I dunno, that sounds like a pretty useful descriptive phrase - succinct, but conveying volumes. I would avoid that place with the same deliberation as if the review had said more detailed things, such as 'servers use AIDS sprayer on burgers' or anything involving the phrase 'curdled urine'.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:20 PM on August 5, 2011


Or one could, you know.... shut the fuck up and just go have something to eat. If it sucks, whatever. Not the end of the world. Every experience in the world doesn't need to be vetted by a bunch of fuckheads on the internet in order for me to figure out if I like it or not.

I've got a very limited eating out budget. Maybe if I were going out multiple times a week (or even multiple times a month) I wouldn't care about a bad meal. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky. Even if I were that lucky, I don't think I would be too thrilled about paying for a sucktastic meal.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:09 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"That's where your brain comes in. You read with a critical eye, and try to use your common sense and savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff. You skip the obviously biased, clueless etc.."


This is much easier said than done in the Bay Area for example, where something like my local Target has 130 reviews. It's total Yelp overload.
posted by tremspeed at 3:36 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No matter how small your party is, you should be tipping 20% anyways.

My understanding of tips is that they should reflect the level of service that you receive. We can express our displeasure with the service by tipping less, or our satisfaction by tipping more. If it were the case that we should *always* be tipping 20%, then tips should not even exist anymore--the restaurant should just increase the prices of the meals and give 20% to the wait staff.
posted by parrot_person at 10:42 PM on August 5, 2011


stoneweaver: "Or one could, you know.... shut the fuck up and just go have something to eat. If it sucks, whatever. Not the end of the world. Every experience in the world doesn't need to be vetted by a bunch of fuckheads on the internet in order for me to figure out if I like it or not.

I've got a very limited eating out budget. Maybe if I were going out multiple times a week (or even multiple times a month) I wouldn't care about a bad meal. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky. Even if I were that lucky, I don't think I would be too thrilled about paying for a sucktastic meal.
"

Fair enough. I'm simply playing the averages. I've had far more good/great meals than I've had bad. YMMV.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:24 AM on August 6, 2011


"I've got a very limited eating out budget."

Me too. That's why I like to make my own decisions rather than relying on the opinions of people who's eating habits are all too familiar from sitting at the next table.
posted by sneebler at 1:11 PM on August 6, 2011


kurumi: Well, I'll just Google for a key phrase, and... really?? Unselectable text?

What, you browse strange websites and let them run whatever script they want? Really?? (NoScript is your friend, usually -- sometimes you just copy the link and try it in another browser because you get tired of permitting what would seem to be enough related sites)

I think it's best that the site doesn't link back to the original comments, because 1) people could add more negative reviews for the sake of being noticed writing negative reviews, and 2) the negative reviewers could be harassed.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on August 9, 2011


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