Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ranked and filed

 I am wildly fond of social media

I love connecting with people online, and have gone on to form many wonderful friendships though the internet.

The new rating, ranking, reviewing culture I could do without.

I am one picky mofo.

I like to give feedback, I am pretty high maintenance, and I am bossy.

What I am not (I hope) is an asshole.

It started with Yelp, and now the online review has grown like a nebbishy wildfire, out of control.

I've worked in the service industry since I was 17, in one form or another.

Child Care

Food Service


Social Work

All high impact client/customer contact positions

For the better part of my life I have been kissing someone's ass in hopes of making them happy and satisfied and most of the time it's worked out well.

I am a perfectionist and I do good work.

The first time I encountered Yelp was several years ago when I was working for a fancy private school.

A woman had reserved enrollment for her child, and phoned over the Labor Day weekend Sunday to give notice that she had changed her mind.

She did not expect that I would be there doing payroll, and had intended to leave a voicemail.

I let her know that I understood that circumstances change, wished her well and reminded her that she would be forfeiting her deposit.

She went ballistic.

She went on Yelp and said many unkind things and then she went on social media and created a shit storm with a local mothering group.

She did not go after me, but rather the owner of the school.

She made up many colorful lies.


She lied and lied and threatened and threatened and lied some more, like a petulant child.

At the time I begged for the money to be returned, because at the time I was unfamiliar with this sort of bully tactic.

Since I've worked at the food cart, there have been a handful of negative reviews.

Almost all of them have been vague, poorly written, sour grapes affairs, with little substance, regarding quality of food, or service.

One, or two have been spot on.

Recently on a busy Sunday I had a woman come in with an elderly man and ask for a knife.

We were out of knives, and many other things.

My helper had spent the morning vomiting and disappearing and I was frantic, cooking and tending the window.

The woman was convinced that I was holding out on her, and wrote a review, that I wouldn't give her a knife.

I offered to cut the food up with a knife in the cart, but she was already gone, as the old Eagles song says.

It was slightly more complicated than that, but at the end of the day, that was her bottomline, I withheld something she wanted and I deserved to be punished.

She was unable to see beyond her own need, even an inch and had to go bleed her spleen over it.

Was her review intended to make me a better person?

Make sure we up our supply of plastic cutlery?

No it was a cheap shot at a person in a position of little power.

People are demanding and weird.

They think they are being noble and righteous with these reviews, when they are in fact being petty and passive aggressive.

This form of kvetching used to be reserved for friends and family (or written on your own damn, self absorbed blog post), not mistaken for a review.

These petty temper tantrums, and nit picky expulsions are not reviews, they are typed witch hunty bitchfests that serve no one except the writer.

There is no one alive that enjoys complaining and venting more that I do, but I  pretend that I am providing valuable feedback when I do it, and I try to remember that real people depend of the jobs that are impacted by these reviews.

Three years ago my family rented a house through Air B&B, which was listed as "completely furnished".

When we arrived there were two folding chairs and not a single bowl in the house.

The house was furnished only in the sense that it was not empty.

I sent the owner three e-mails letting him know I would require a bowl, or pot large enough to serve a salad to four people in, and two additional chairs.

He never replied.

He was a sort of wan, dreamy hippie type, that wore his infant son, in a sling on his hip and appeared to hope that his parental excellence would make the world overlook his flakiness.

At the end of our stay, my feedback on the feedback page was

"needs a salad bowl and two additional chairs, to be comfortable for a family of four.  A hook to hang a towel and a mattress cover would also be welcome."

He was grossly offended and sent me several e-mails, including one that said

"You use a lot of words and you are not very nice!"

I may have not been nice, but I did not write the scathing review that I would have liked to write.

I did not burn his business at the stake.

I am a frank person and I always give feedback.

If something is not right, and it can be fixed I will look for a fix, I will ask for a fix, and occasionally I will demand a fix, but I will do it well, with frankness and grace.

What I will not do is write a review that lacks any objective, save fucking up someone's job, life, day.


  1. Excellent. Humans are indeed too often petty and, I would add, entitled. Yelp is worthless. I have never found the reviews personally helpful, and I can discern a thoughtful review from a whinefest. Everyone can.