About a year ago, I began writing restaurant reviews on the popular website, Yelp.
Yelp is a site that allows everyday folks to become food critics by merely writing a critique of their experience at a particular establishment, this despite their ability to write, make a salient point, or invoke terms other than those routinely used by eight grade girls.
Realizing how everyone’s tastes are different and how that subjectivity has become the hallmark of a site such as Yelp, I enjoy reading some of my fellow Yelper’s reviews, notwithstanding the large number of reviews that appear to have been written by individuals possessing the writing skills of a fifth grader.
I accept that however, reasoning how it simply goes with the territory.
Which explains why I’ve never openly criticized anyone’s review.
I’ll accept you for what you are, if you show me the same respect.
No need for trouble, right?
Well that all changed Sunday last when another Yelper sent me a message, criticizing me for my reviews…
Diego-your reviews have a lot of personality, but they say nothing about how yummy the food was, or if the service was awesome, and whether or not you loved or hated the place. Perhaps Yelp is not the site for you. Perhaps you should try blogging instead. Your reviews are best suited for a blogging website.
I can take criticism.
Constructive criticism that is, however, this was anything but. This was an assault.
This felt like the person on the other end of the email, the self-appointed minister of what shall or shall not be Yelped, had just admonished me for no apparent reason other than my conspicuous absence of using text he was most comfortable with.
I immediately dismissed his comment as bullshit, hit the delete button, and went on about my Sunday. For a while anyway.
Then I got pissed.
Who the fuck is this guy, telling me to I should self-exile from Yelp?
Not to get all redneck on this asshole, but the last time I checked this was America, where freedom of speech is one of our guaranteed rights.
Well fuck this guy..dry, I thought while crafting a response.
Dear Joshua H,
Thank you for your most insightful comment about my reviews. How perceptive of you to notice they’re not quick and to the point—providing you the immediate thumb positioning you’re seeking. I realize they could be much more interesting if I was to be more succinct, getting to my point more quickly, allowing you to race onward to the next review, but that’s not how I do things.
Maybe it’s because I’m older and unlike you, have learned through the years how it’s better to take ones time when writing, slowly creating theatre in a person’s mind with wordplay, rather than slap a few modifiers together and call it a review. The former serving as an eroticism of sorts—a slow undressing before getting to the final act.
I do this for several reasons.
First, I like to let my reader do some of the ‘lifting’, enabling them to make their own evaluation without spoon-feeding them with my subjectivity.
Second, I believe if one is going to take the time to critique a place where some mom and pop are trying to eek out a living, they deserve a fair shot. Some respect either way, good or bad. This in lieu of trying to capture ones experience in only a few short lines, or worse, a less than clever list of clichés.
Perhaps this is why I choose to not ‘blow my load’ in a couple of short sentences, invoking terms you’re so fond of, such as yummmmmy, soooo love this place, amazing, awesome, unbelievable, Oh my god!, and the ever popular, WOW.
I hope you can grasp this concept, but somehow, I don’t think you will.
Perhaps you should simply block my reviews in the future, opting only for those which provide the depth and range you’re seeking on Yelp.
That would be so awesome and really, really amazing if you would do that.
I would soooo love it if you did.