I use Yelp.com a ton. If I’m trying to find a place to eat, I’ll open my Yelp app and see what establishments are nearby and how many stars it’s rated from other Yelp users. I’ve found doctors, auto-repair shops, and moving companies on Yelp. I’ll occasionally leave short, to-the-point reviews like, “The blueberry ricotta pancakes are one of my favorite brunch items here.” I’m into food and I love finding hidden gems among not-so-well known restaurants. Yelp is great when I’m at a place I’ve never been to before and I need a recommendation.
The one thing that drives me BANANAS about Yelp is the people who leave novels as reviews. I don’t CARE if it was raining the evening of your first date with Rick to Momofuku or if you spilled spaghetti sauce on your new Alice & Olivia top the night before your half marathon. All I care about is how delicious or how awful the food was.
I got into Yelp a few years ago because my ex was really into food and “checks-in” at locations. He’s also really into writing reviews, and even told me he went on a date from a girl he met on Yelp. (How do you even meet people on Yelp?!?)
I can only imagine their conversation went like this:
Her: “I saw that you liked the sushi at Kitana, also, your cute!” (yes, "your")
Him: “I know this amazing sushi place by my house, can I take you there?”
Her: “I’d love to! Here’s my number, blah blah blah.”
Then he picked her up in his “trying too hard to be cool” car, ate amazing sushi with her, brought her back to his lovely house, had emotion-less sex, then told her he had an early morning appointment and that he’d pay for her Uber to go home, and then avoided her text messages forever because he thought he could “do much better.”
Anyway. His Yelp reviews were of the long-winded story-telling type (like my review of his night with a girl he met on Yelp). Because my ex was a writer, I gave him a pass. His reviews were obnoxious, and contained endless name drops of celebrities he went to dinner with, but at least they were formatted properly.
The Yelp reviews I absolutely detest are the ones that contain sentences like, “Imagine my surprise when the perfectly seared filet mignon blessed me with its appearance,” and “Their crème brule restored my faith in humanity.” Did it? Did a desert make you forget all of the evil happening in the world? Did you immediately establish a pen pal relationship with an inmate on death row for murder because that crème brule made you think, “Hey, life is great, I should be more accepting of everyone?” No. It didn’t. (and if it did, which restaurant did you go to?)
Well, this guy took Yelp to the next level. He decided that a website for reviewing businesses was the perfect place to write a personal love story. Isn’t that what wordpress is for? He talked about his 9-month relationship in the multiple restaurants in the East Village he reviewed.
He wrote things like:
“Café Mogador is "our place." It was the scene for some of the best breakfasts of my entire life. Being madly in love, I would sit on the patio (which seems to be perpetually situated in springtime) and stare longingly into his eyes like I could fall into them like an endless cup of dark brown coffee.”
"He'd take massive bites, and wind up with powdered sugar and big flakes of dough stuck in his dark red facial hair. With my free hand not clutching a cup of coffee, I'd reach up to dust him out and he'd smile at me."
All right, so it’s kinda romantic. I’ll give him that. Some parts were also very depressing:
“I wondered if he shared croissants with his new lover. I wondered if they tasted even better than the ones with me.”
Holy heartbreak. At least he didn’t misspell any words. I was almost feeling a bit of compassion for this guy until I read something that ruined it all for me.
He told Business Insider, “My intention was to be kind of like a literary Banksy.”
No. You. Didn’t. Way to ruin all sincerity by explaining you did this solely for attention. If you wanted to be like Banksy, you wouldn’t have revealed your identity and did this as “art” for the sake of art. It seems that now, more than ever, people who put in effort to do something publicly unique are only in it for the fame.
I can’t help but think people who write detailed Yelp reviews are looking to get “noticed.” I highly doubt a book publisher is going to be looking up the reviews for a Mexican restaurant and read someone’s personal tale surrounding their order of fish tacos and discover the next J.D. Salinger.
People who write detailed Yelp reviews only write them for other people who write detailed Yelp reviews. I immediately skip over anything that starts with, “So I was craving…” or contains some sort of wordplay like, “Fried chicken? More like DRIED chicken!”
Maybe I’m being too cynical about all of this, but a site that was created to review businesses should get right to the point. Adding your personal experiences, as if anyone cares, seems narcissistic. (Coming from someone who adds personal experiences to basically everything I write.)
Are you a Yelp reviewer? Or do you hate it as much as I do? Am I just a bitter love story hater? Are you now craving fish tacos?