F*** You, Yelper: Yelp Reviews as Beat-Style Poetry

Categories: Leftovers

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Perhaps it wasn't the intention of the person who started Fuck You, Yelper to frame random snippets of sadly hysterical Yelp reviews for comparison to anti-intellectual Beatnik poetry. But I can't help seeing each post -- a few lines plucked, sometimes but not always, from a longer review -- stark in its braying, self-righteous ignorance as a work of art unto itself:

There were people outside in their pajamas. How difficult is it to change into street clothes? That just ghettoed the place. My brother brought 2 donuts from donut man and nobody ate them. We all said ew. It's just a donut.

Yes, it's just a donut.

And it's easy to see why Fuck You, Yelper has quickly become one of the most popular Tumblr pages over the last few days. Haven't we all despaired of the quality (and often dubious provenance) of the reviews and entitled ramblings posted on Yelp? Hasn't the world despaired over Yelp's business tactics and its effect on small businesses?

It's just par for the course at this point for Yelp to become a parody of itself, intentional or not. And that's what Fuck You, Yelpers showcases by merely posting a snippet of a review every day or so. It's also surprising to see the excessively minor things that can transform a guest's experience from wonderful to terrible in a matter of seconds, circumstances that are often out of a restaurant's control or have nothing to do with the restaurant in the first place (patrons in pajamas?).

But the site never seems to include Houston Yelp reviews. Could it be that our general population is just more well-informed, that we're more coherent and fair-minded than the average Yelper? EOW decided to take a look at some Houston reviews on Yelp to find out.


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19 comments
Chad Adams
Chad Adams

I realize this article is pretty old (well sort of... last year) and I am in no way condoning the use of Yelp (or any website for that matter,) but what Yelp is doing is allowing the common person to have some sort of popular public forum (much like most Blogs that aren't read as much) to voice their opinions...often in "layman's terms" and grammatically incorrect. I think it is safe to say that it is up to the reader to extrapolate his or her own theories with regards to the business. I would say that websites like Yelp are merely a tool. Perhaps they may be the accepted norm, but nobody is under any sort of obligation to use said tools.

With regards to how Yelp treats business owners. I would tend to agree that some of them do get mistreated (I actually know a few business owners personally,) but what you have to appreciate about Yelp is that it certainly has made businesses more accountable and has greatly improved products and services for the most part... especially since our economy has collapsed!

Kyoko K.
Kyoko K.

Hi everyone. My friends and I have started a grassroots review website in Houston, Texas called http://www.chopstixhouston.com 

The site has a review feature similar to Yelp, but without the "spam" and politics that Yelp provides. We also offer a rewards system where well-written reviews are given gift cards and other prizes. Please come check us out and submit some reviews.

Yilmazdokuyucu
Yilmazdokuyucu

I am a restaurant owner in Houston for eight years.After great reviews and community and press support, I opened another more upscale restaurant in a Sugar Land five months ago.I believe that there is always glitches need to be ironed out in every new business when you first open and you constantly improve yourself. As a restaurant owner I always welcome candid feedback. I am doing everything possible to continue the quality and customer satisfaction that I have built in eight years;however the guests who call themselves Elite'11,whoever gives them this status or title have nothing better to do but trash the surrounding businesses including mine with their rude and destructive reviews  recommending people not to go there,etc.Some even go to extreme and complain about the free tab water quality.These people do not realize that they are actually hurting the overall economy as well as the bread and butter of a hard working employee who is earning a decent paycheck. I wonder if these kind of "ELITES" will celebrate the closures of these businesses who are injecting to the overall economy.I am also curious if these reviewer work for Yelp or their meals are paid by Yelp who may use it as a tactic to force businesses to advertise with them so these ELITES may start being more fair by increasing the STAR RATINGS.

hdtv619
hdtv619

Yelp is a scam they called me up and promised good reviews! which they wrote and so I declined to go any further with there ad antics and when i wouldnt continue to pay for fake reviews they wrote fake bad reviews to slander my business

JEHOVA
JEHOVA

YELP in HELL!We pray to ALLAH that YELP EXTORTION is exposed in Federal Court! Manipulation of reviews is extortion! We pray that our LORD shows no mercy for all the emotional damage and EXTORTION they have inflicted upon small business owners and the children they support. YELP is a brood of snakes and scorpions and deserve to BURN ALIVE for their  extortion, lies and slander. PRAY PSALMS 119 FOR THEIR DESTRUCTION!Say five times: "Archangel Gabriel destroy YELP! Now!"YELP WILL BE BANKRUPT SOON! ALL PRAISE TO ALLAH! The Merciful and Compassionate LORD OF MAN and EARTH!

TQro
TQro

Re: t-shirt pic.  Haha!  I've been to Delfina in SF, enjoyed every piggy bite.

Lauren
Lauren

As a Yelper, I feel compelled to stand up for a site I useand enjoy. Of course there are millions of dumb reviews on Yelp—as there are onAmazon, TripAdvisor, and any other site that generates large numbers of userreviews. I don’t think that makes any of those sites useless.

Having grown up with a full-time critic at a weekly paper(theater not food),  I understand theattitude that most people don’t have the experience and expertise of aprofessional. And yes, you have to pick through the reviews with a grain ofsalt, ignoring reviewers who have nothing relevant to say and/or an axe togrind. But a broad consensus on a particular restaurant, dish, or issue can becompelling—if 15 people say the tuna is fantastic, I might try it. If half the reviewsmention that service is slow, I won’t go there on a tight timetable. Also, differentpeople notice different things. Are you taking your deaf grandma to dinner andinterested in the noise level at a particular restaurant? Want to know if thereare any good vegetarian options on the menu, or how responsive the staff is to specialrequests? There’s probably someone on Yelp who has answered those questions foryou.

I certainly don’t always agree with every review—or even theoverall star rating—but I usually gain some insight from reading through thereviews and looking for tips and patterns. I’ve also found some individualYelpers whose opinions I respect, and I “follow” them and see what they have tosay. Sometimes, I find these people’s experiences more helpful thanprofessional reviewers—simply because they notice and care about the samethings that I do.

As to reviewing HRW menus, I think it’s totally valid aslong as you mention you went for HRW (as most Yelpers do). If a restaurantchooses to participate in HRW, it has to know that first-time diners will comeand judge them on that experience, and if they don’t pull it off, those peoplemay not come back and may tell their friends. Yelping about an HRW experienceis just an extension of that. Personally, I take the HRW  reviews with a grain of salt and use themprimarily to decide where to go for HRW—i.e., which restaurants are speeding youthrough your meal and serving half-sized portions vs. offering somethingsimilar to their usual food and service. But any time a restaurant opens itsdoors to paying customers, it has to know its reputation is on the line, andthat includes potential online user reviews.

JarrodJM
JarrodJM

I started writing yelp reviews about 6 months ago and I really enjoy it. Then again, I treat yelp like my own personal food blog.

Scott: I wouldn't go so far as to say that the ratings are almost completely useless. Once you get 100+ reviews, patterns start to develop and you can weed out the outliers. I agree, though, that places without a lot of reviews don't really help unless you are familiar with the reviews of a specific yelper.

Katherine: I wouldn't write a yelp review based on a HRW experience unless I had been to the restaurant other times as well. The first time I went to Haven was during HRW and I didn't enjoy the experience. I went again for a beer dinner and I loved it. Since you stopped writing yelp reviews a number of years ago, has your opinion of it changed?

Kylejack
Kylejack

The full Haven review and the excerpt seems pretty fair to me, if the reviewer is being honest. The Fu Fu Cafe reviewer ought to learn that jip is an ethnic slur against Roma and Traveller people!

Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

Yelp is good at locating restaurants that are close to where you are, but their ratings are almost completely useless.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

I agree.  HRW is supposed to be about bringing in new people (and throwing some cash to charity.)  But it makes a lot more sense to have a wow factor on there.  Reduce the portions, if necessary.  But if you can't put signature dishes on your menu for HRW, I suggest you not bother with it, at all.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

The whole idea of this post was to riff on F*** You, Yelpers, Houston-style. But if I'm being perfectly honest, I still find Yelp valuable. I use it on a daily basis, especially to see what places other people are interested in at the moment. And there are many reviewers on Yelp that I know and trust; I'm always glad to see their comments pop up on a restaurant. I think that's the best way to use Yelp: find people you know, whose palates and judgments you trust, and build from there, ignoring the Beatnik reviews along the way.  ;)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

But do you think that it's fair to review a restaurant -- even on Yelp -- based off a Houston Restaurant Week experience? Nothing against HRW, but the meals there aren't always indicative of a typical service at the participating restaurants.

ETA: I did this once, a long time ago, when I had just started my own little food blog. And I felt bad about it ever since. From personal experience, I'm saying that I think it's a bad idea to judge a restaurant based on just one HRW meal.

MamaJ
MamaJ

I went last year to Haven for HRW and it was fantastic...and yes we dine frequently in Houston restaurants not only because it is my New Years resolution to try a new restaurant every week but I think we have some of the best food in the USA.  HRW, to me is a wonderful charitable concept and great for diners. For the owners it's a chance to gain new customers.  I have had sub par experiences during HRW but that did not keep me from revisiting a restaurant. I would just think this is a chance for a restaurant to shine, for customers to see what the place was all about in addition to helping a great cause. While I do not yelp often there have been some places that really disappointed me despite all the fantastic reviews and felt I had to share my constructive criticism. Ava and Cafe Bello to name a couple.

Kylejack
Kylejack

I think it might be fair, as long as you disclose that it was a HRW experience. Certain things should be qualified as maybe due to HRW, and other things shouldn't be acceptable at any time, HRW included.  Now obviously I don't know if her food was truly inedible, but if it was, that should never be happening.

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