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Leaving a Nasty Yelp Review Makes You an Asshole

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Oh, the Internet. We love it and hate it for many reasons. One of them is the instant gratification we receive when posting on social media, like that of instant revenge. With one click, you can do so much harm. Yelp is the epitome of this. But to all the people who are out for a vendetta via Yelp,  here’s a few things to consider before you put your fingers on that keyboard:

Consider the type of environment you are seeking. 

Too often, people complain that the music is too loud, the portions are too small or the dress code too strict. Each place has carefully thought out the kind of ambiance and crowd they want to draw in. If it’s not to your liking, the problem isn’t theirs, it’s yours. It is their house, you are a guest, and that is how you should approach any business.

Implemented Rules.

i.e. mandatory coat check or the inability to give you a table ‘until the entire party is present’, it is not because they want to annoy you. Rules are made so the business will effectively operate. Something happened in the past to arrive at those rules, and now there’s a way to prevent it. Customers dictate the rules in a very direct way, management just enforces them. Think about it, ever wonder why most places don’t carry copper mugs anymore? It’s because people steal them.

Bad reviewers have many bad reviews.

Why? Are you respectful or are you entitled? Many things can go wrong that are out of the servers or managers’ control. 99% of the time, all it takes is for you to speak up. Politely communicate to your server what is wrong and they will give you the world. No one wants to help a rude asshole, be humble and ask for assistance. If after you’ve voiced your concerns they haven’t given you an explanation or a do over, it’s time to politely request a manager.

All establishments are different.

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Just because one place was able to do something for you, doesn’t mean every place can. We all want to be at the most happening place in town on Saturday night, but with Tuesday afternoon service. It’s impossible to have it all. You can’t ask an upscale lounge to split your check 18 ways because TGI Friday’s does. Again, each place has rules that are specific to them and their clientele’s needs. If you can’t live with that, don’t go there.

Realize your severs are humans.

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It’s unfair to punish them for making mistakes. Yes, sometimes things will be their fault, but expecting them to be perfect is unreasonable. I like to look around and see what could be causing the problem before I decide on a course of action. If it’s a busy night and my server keeps forgetting my water because clearly they’re slammed, I am way more forgiving. If my drinks are taking too long, I use the same criteria. Survey before you act. Be understanding.

Bars and restaurants are businesses. 

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This might be the most important point. Businesses are meant to make money. Servers are there to make money. Every non-customer is there to make money. Time is money. Space is money. Don’t be the asshole who wastes their time and space by not spending money and expect VIP service.

Now, if you’ve already considered all of the above and still feel as if you’ve been wronged, you should still refrain from using Yelp. There is one last and very effective course of action you can take:  Write an eloquent and articulate email. There are copious amounts of general managers and owners who aren’t aware of how things are running when they’re not around.  You will be helping them better their venue, and I can tell you with all certainty that they will apologize and ask you to return as their personal guest, cost free. There is no reason to write a harmful review if you’ve gone through all these steps. Communication is key from the second you step in until the second you leave. If after all this, they still haven’t redeemed themselves and you feel it’s worth it to send some negativity their way, you have my full permission.

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Penelope Hernandez

Penelope Hernandez

Lover of all desserts. Yogi by day, night life connoisseur by night.

  • Vanessa Demske

    On the reverse side, leaving a positive Yelp review can bring all sorts of good karma. I had a stereo system installed in my car at Best Buy and had an incredibly positive experience with the technician. When a part broke a year and a half later and wasn’t covered under warranty any more, I returned to the same Best Buy and was quickly recognized as “the girl who wrote the nice Yelp review.” They replaced $150 worth of parts (plus the labor) completely free. I’m not saying be a suck-up, but giving credit where it’s due on Yelp is good for the business – and can make you a satisfied customer for a long time.

  • dawdler

    Agree on not being nasty or harmful. But constructively negative Yelp reviews are helpful to everyone. I do agree that you should be acutely aware of rules, the expectations, etc. Also, hostility, ad-hominem and spite have no place. But leave a constructive and honest review. Then UPDATE your review to higher star count if the business resolves. People will see the original review and the update. So you have full transparency and a history of a bad experience but also evidence of business looking to improve your experience. My 2 cents.

  • Surfer Tom

    I’ll Yelp when so!etging constructive can come from it. I love giving praise when it’s due, and I also believe in helping fellow patrons steer clear from establishments that simply don’t care. It may be their house, but being rude to a houseguest isn’t bringing anyone back… Especially when we keep the lights on…in their house. I don’t believe in being rude, because it’ll bite ya in the keister, just saying.

  • lisalisa gogo

    lecturing me on how to deal with my navigation around capitalism and my reactions to it whilst claiming to be a “yogi” makes you the asshole… not me. good try though boo!

  • defhigh

    Here’s how “yelp” works.

    Some “PERSON” leaves a bad review of your business. Keep in mind this “PERSON” is completely anonymous, there is no way to verify this “PERSON” was even a real customer or not.

    Then, a sales “PERSON” calls and offers to have this bad review removed, for a fee.

    See the problem here?

  • defhigh

    Also uhmm… small portions, or insane rules like “mandatory” coat check??? do not fall under “the type of place” it is…If you go to a restaurant, that serves meals for adults, and order an entree, not an appetizer or “small plate”, an entree, that costs $15-20 or MORE!!, you should not leave hungry. A restaurant with too-small portions is not the “type of place” it is, unless that “type” is, “shitty and overpriced”.

  • oregonize

    naw, you’re still an asshole boo.

  • lisalisa gogo

    lol you are not even the author. get a fucking life.

  • Jeff Friesen

    Sometimes when you are standing by a hole, the smart move is to out the shovel down.

  • Springs131

    “LEAVING A NASTY YELP REVIEW MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE”

    NO, it means you are being **HONEST* about what happened when you dined there.

    “It’s unfair to punish them for making mistakes.”

    It is VERY FAIR. HOW WILL ANYONE ******LEARN********* if you don’t?? That’s stupid what you are saying.

    Also, most of the time they don’t make “mistakes”, but more like “LACKS OF EFFORT”, because some will for example bring you the completely wrong food or wrong check, etc. or NOT WRITE YOUR ORDER DOWN, then forget stuff or get it completely wrong.

    “but expecting them to be perfect is unreasonable.”

    Expecting 20% for NON-PERFECT service is VERY UNREASONABLE! If you want a perfect score tip, you have to a perfect score job. That’s how it works. Don’t expect 20% when you forgot my ranch, my side dish is wrong, etc. First off, you could have brought my ranch out ahead of time, so you had 2 opportunities to get that right. Secondly, did you even COMPARE YOUR WRITTEN ORDER TO THE FOOD to notice the completely wrong side dish? Thirdly, did you even WRITE MY ORDER DOWN even??

    It is VERY REASONABLE! You are WHACKED if you think that tipping isn’t judged based on problems in the service. WHY should I tip a server well that sucked???

    In most cases, me and my husband never tip 20% or more if there is one mistake even. Now it depends. Once and ONLY once did I tip 20% when a waitress said “I’m SO SORRY” when she forgot my ranch. WHY? I hardly get ONE sorry, much less a “SO SORRY” which is really over doing it over just a side of ranch, but was very nice she was extra special nice over it, so we gave her 20% anyway, but most of the time, I don’t get a sorry, so they get 14%. If I get a sorry 17%.

    If you forget my bag and didn’t write down the list of the 4 things I asked for at the end (box, bag, check, and some containers for my condiments), then when you forget my bag, I am not going to tip you anywhere near 20% since you didn’t ****TRY******** your best to remember those 4 things. WRITE IT THE HELL DOWN!! If you forgot the bag and wrote it down, then I would take MUCH LESS OFF(still not 20%, but less) than if you didn’t even try by not writing it down. If you apologize, you will get more, but it’s not going to be 20%. It could be 18% if you wrote it down and apologized. It’s not going to be 20%.

    WHY should you get a perfect score if you feel that it’s unreasonable for us to expect perfect service??? It’s unreasonable for you to expect a perfect score if you didn’t do a perfect job, it’s that simple and it’s only *FAIR*!

    You will NEVER LEARN if you never get punished for it. You will KEEP doing that same behavior and NEVER LEARN from it to stop it if you get paid well no matter what. That’s what tipping is an *INCENTIVE* to IMPROVE YOU STUPID MORON!!

  • Daniel

    The author of this article makes the assumption that Yelp users are
    idiots. I look at any new establishment on Yelp I’m contemplating using prior to going there.
    Important points missed by the author;
    If a business has 30- reviews, where most are positive with exception of that one or two really nasty review, I then look at the reviewer, other people’s positive reviews, and think I’m smart enough to determine if those poor review/s were a one time thing,
    or just written out of spite.

    I give high marks to the establishments who follow Yelp, read the negative reviews, and address them on Yelp. All businesses
    are afforded the opportunity to make “things right”. Seldom
    do they pay attention.

    Under the “wake up America” file, the Internet IS the future way of doing business. Those business owners savy enough to pay attention will make it. The A-Hole business that put out that
    sandwich board sign about the “worst whatever” some reviewer had. I would never, ever frequent that place.

    We the people work hard for our money. And it is NOT okay
    for this author to assume things like, “as a customer we should
    take in all of the surroundings and gauge why the service is slow, or the food sucks, or blah blah blah”.

    B-Sh*t. To the business owners suck it up buttercup.
    Address each and every single poor review, on Yelp,
    and THEN you will be a great business.

    Turn a bad review into a good one (reviewers can revise their
    comments/review) and stop bitching.

    For me, yeah, I want to know if a hotel was infested with bed bugs,
    or the bar had only 3- customers but the bartender just hacked away at the end of the bar with a friend and ignored my presence for 15- minutes, or housecleaning service did a crappy job and why….

  • bigyellowtaxi

    my favorites are people that visited somewhere years ago, then leave a current review for it. this happens still for zeitgeist. someone put up a review mentioning the porta potties being there. the porta potties have been gone for at least 3 years, idiot.

  • arbcar

    I once read a nasty Yelp! about the auto mechanic who has taken good care of my wheels and treated me like a celebrity. I decided Yelp! is where douchebags go to practice their prose styling.

  • jshillin

    The last negative review I left was for a bar around the corner from my apartment in the TL. The first time I went, the place was great – atmosphere, drinks, prices, crowd, etc. – except for the pretentious asshole behind the bar who was super condescending. I complained to the manager at the time. But whatever, maybe dude was just having a bad night. I went back a couple other times and had the same experience. The final straw was when I approached the manager, and got a similar level of attitude and was basically told “If you don’t like it, there’s other bars. Have you tried the Marina? That might be more your style.” I promptly left a negative yelp review and even THEN felt like an asshole. But ya know what? Fuck them. You work in the SERVICE industry – if your SERVICE sucks, you deserve what you get. Why should I feel obligated to “take it and like it”?

  • jshillin

    Also…you have an entire section dedicated to “Bars and restaurants are businesses”. Businesses that perform badly should fail. What kinda neo-con pro-business anti-consumer political viewpoint does this author have?! “Be nice to servers, cause they “deserve” it, take what you get, smile and like it, but if you don’t like it, write an eloquent email.” Miss me with that bullshit.

    EDIT: Second also. “You’re a guest in their house” Bullshit. If I have to pay, I’m not a guest. I’m a patron. And “You will be helping them better their venue, and I can tell you with all certainty that they will apologize and ask you to return as their personal guest, cost free” Oh yeah, I’m sure…

  • Jane Dough

    There are definitely a lot of bad reviews on Yelp that are unreasonable, but I think it’s pretty easy to see that when you read them. What I look for is consensus– are there a LOT of reviews that all mention the same problem? Going out in the Bay Area has become increasingly expensive. If a number of people have had a similar bad experience at an establishment, I want to know before I go there and spend upwards of $100 on dinner. I have left bad reviews, but they were fair reviews. I worked in restaurants for many years, so I know when a problem is something understandable (slower service when the place is slammed) or something that indicates that the management just doesn’t care. If I’ve left a place feeling cheated because the food or service was so bad that I regret the time and money I spent there, I want to spare others a similar experience.

  • Took

    too much yelping

  • DolemiteSF

    I think we can wrap up the back and forth with hearty “Yeah, but still…”

  • vlad

    Great idea! No more negative reviews on yelp sounds wonderful. I look forward to a Yelp where every review is 5 stars across the board. Only gushing compliments for every restaurant. The site would be so much more useful then!

  • vitamindevo

    I left a very shitty review for a place one time, that had nightly comedy. A friend weeks later was at a show, and heard that a comedian read my review aloud as his bit. To me it proved my point that the comedy was shit, as they literally used my nasty review as material, ie Im funnier then they are. It’s sad really.