Laurie Notaro's Existential Showdown on Yelp
Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares her adventures on Yelp, which include fighting with members of the "elite" and being accused of not existing.
All I really wanted to do was order a pizza.
That's all I wanted to do.
I didn't want to get into a sparring match with anonymous Internet assholes, I didn't want to argue about libel laws and I certainly didn't want to enter a debate concerning my entire existence.
Then again, that's what happens when you enter the arena of Roman-inspired public games called Yelp, and before you know it people who only venture outside to go someplace and then come right back to review it are calling for your head on a flagpole.
Like I said, I was only planning to order a pizza from a place we had been to once before, new Italian restaurant that had opened near our house. The pizza was great, chewy crust, perfect sauce, mozzarella made by the owner every day. It was the closest thing to New York style pizza in our neighborhood. Who doesn't like a great new pizza place? It's like finding gold in your basement, that Spanx actually can make you lose fifty pounds with a couple of deep breaths and some friction burns in however long it takes you to get them on, or that due to a clerical error, you are getting HBO for free even though every show is stupid and will be cancelled as soon as it has a good episode. It's a moment in which a there is nothing but possibilities. There is nothing but pure awesome as far as you can see.
It's something that no one has the right to mess with.
But when I Googled the restaurant's phone number, I was shocked by what I saw. There, on the second Google listing was one entitled "I would NEVER eat at XXXXX" about the very same restaurant, a thread on Yelp with numerous posts by people who decided that although none of them had eaten at my new favorite pizza place, they were never going to. Someone associated with the restaurant, they concurred, was posting phony positive reviews. And the Yelper bees were angry about it. Buzzing. Ready to sting.
God dammit, don't kill my new pizza place, I cried at the computer screen to no one that cared about anything except raging for months about a restaurant that had great food.
It is here that I have to admit that I don't know what the crime was even if reviews were added by well-wishers of the business. I must have missed the paragraph in Revelations that the last sign of apocalypse is that people leave nice reviews about a pizza place as a cue for Satan to step up and rule the Earth for a while. How many children will be born with two heads because a friend of the owner may or may not have said, "the crust is good." Apparently, however, that was the wrong thing to say to people on the Yelp thread, and if you hadn't guessed by now, I was the one who said it.