Yelp is a scourge that needs to be purged. As much as I hate myself for it, I do occasionally look at our reviews on Yelp, mostly for the comic relief; but the latest one really pissed me off.
I’m not angry at the idea of someone claiming they got sick at a restaurant; happens all the time here. People travel to Napa Valley to eat and to drink. They often travel here on airplanes, which are basically one big incubator. The day they arrive, they usually overdo it. Much like your first day on a Mexican vacation, where you worship the sun for 10 hours then spend the next three days as Lobster Man in the shade of the poolside palapa, they will eat like pigs at a four course lunch when their usual fare is a salad at their desk. Then they drink like fish in the middle of the day while visiting half a dozen wineries. After all that, they go out to dinner, order four courses, eat their appetizer, and begin to feel ill; and think they’ve gotten “food poisoning”. As someone who has gotten a Staphylococcus infection (the most common type of food-borne illness, as it usually comes from someone not washing their hands) a couple of times, I can tell you it’s no picnic. But the symptoms take between 6 to 24 hours to manifest, not the ten minutes that have passed since you ate your first course.
The higher quality restaurants here are used to the above-mentioned scenario, and generally have enough confidence in their sanitation that they let it slide, and don’t take the accusations personally. They will take the high road, and perform their due diligence by lending a sympathetic ear, and usually refunding the guest. But they also know that if it were a true case of a food-borne pathogen that it wouldn’t manifest immediately, as is so often the claim; and there would likely be more than just the one occurrence that night. So let’s think a little bit deeper about the causes before you make the “food poisoning” accusation.
No, the real rub for me on this latest Yelp bullshit is the fact that these two ate three of their four courses, felt ill, paid their bill and left; yet said nothing to anyone who could have made a difference. The male half of this duo told their server his girlfriend wasn’t feeling well while she was in the restroom, and asked their server if he could pack up the rest of their entrees (not much left) and their desserts, and bring the check. On the way out, I thanked them for coming, and told them I hoped the lady feels better soon. They said thank you and left.
Yelp is a haven for those that are just looking for some attention, want to complain about something, but don’t have the balls to come forward, other than in an anonymous forum. They will zip their lips at the restaurant, not say a word to anyone who truly has the desire to help them and address their problem at the moment. Then they will go on-line and write their cute, funny, and “useful” review, tell everyone how awful it was, and how the restaurant did nothing to help.
So here’s the ruling from the judges: If you don’t say anything to anyone at the time, you have no, I repeat, no license to bitch about it later. If you don’t give us a chance to help, you can’t complain that we did nothing.
“Why” you ask, “would you give any attention to a forum for which you have such low regard?” The only answer I can give is that I guess it’s that proverbial last straw. This one sticks in my craw worse than others I have seen about the restaurant and, trust me here, I have seen some doosies. I debated long and hard about whether or not to respond; as well as where and how. Hence this post, and not a direct reply to the reviewer on Yelp’s site, as that would only bring out the rest of the Trolls.
While there are some well written and well thought-out posts on Yelp, they are few and far between. Their impact is diminished by the majority that are just vindictive dreck.
The name says it all. Here is the definition of “yelp” from Princeton University’s online dictionary:
(noun) a sharp high-pitched cry (especially by a dog).
(verb) to bark in a high-pitched tone. “the puppies yelped”