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.

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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.

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47 comments
jackmaster3478
jackmaster3478

holy fucking meltdown, batman! what does any of this shit have to do with Phoenix, and what is this drivel doing in the literature section? 

HypocralypseNow
HypocralypseNow

I looked on Yelp and couldn't find the conversation quoted here (if this even really happened), but I did find Laurie Notaro's, or should I say "Lucy F."'s Yelp account. Having seen that, I find it rather rich that she would go through so much trouble to bitch and whine about some girl's reviews, when her own reviews consist only of "Busy Bee Rocks" (Busy Bee Cafe), "Great pizza" (La Perla Pizzeria) and "I like this place" (Noli Italian Cafe). That's all, nothing else, just 2-4 words. And from someone who calls herself an author? No wonder she won't use her own name on Yelp.

 

Now isn't there a word for someone who puts a lot of effort into complaining about someone else's reviews, when her own reviews are the most vacuous, generic waste of space any restaurant reviewer ever wrote? Oh right, a hypocrite. 

 

"

boingo
boingo

Yelp apparently deleted the thread sometime in the last day or so.  Too bad...it was entertaining.  As is Laurie's New Times blog.  Not sure why people don't understand the concept.

jackmaster3478
jackmaster3478

 @boingo who gives a shit whether her mother and her grandma, whichever u are, think its entertaining? what is this doing in a Phoenix paper, in the literature section? leave this kind of bullshit on the forums with the other dramawhores

LetsGetYourAssAJob
LetsGetYourAssAJob

People. This. Is. Funny. It's meant to be funny. It's meant to take something that we all see, on every blog where people have the ability to leave comments (like this one), and either prove or disprove the level of education they've achieved.

We're not talkin' heart/lung transplants here.

We are talkin' humor.

Get your laugh on.

Peace out!

reignbowbat
reignbowbat

 @LetsGetYourAssAJob 

 

Bullying strangers is soooo funny man, ha-ha-ho-ho.

 

But seriously, are you in elementary school to think this kind of bullying is humorous? You'd have to be really dense (or related to her) not to realize this story is not written in jest. She flails in her thinly veiled attempts to disguise this tripe as satire. The author got mad at this Hannah Banana and Mary the Skeptic or whatever they're called, and decided to exact revenge by cyberstalking them and posting the results on her blog. At best it's callow, but this could be interpreted as a lot worse than that. She should consider herself lucky if she doesn't get fired over this.

ChopperAK47
ChopperAK47

If this happened on the Yelp Phoenix talk forum, its nothing new.

In fact, its fairly typical of the regulars there.

Actually Im glad someone put them on BLAST!!

Great Job!!!! 

jamie771
jamie771

I feel like I need a shower after reading this. It's clearly not satire - it's a woman using the bully pulpit of her blog to trash someone she got into a fight with on some stupid chat. Should have left it there! I don't know Laurie, but I can tell from her writing and actions that she's a terribly petty and hateful person, someone I wish had less time on her hands!

Psychodollbaby
Psychodollbaby like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm so mad people are picking on her. If you read her books, you would know she specializes in satire. She was taking something she thought was amusing and sharing it with people. If all of you don't have the sense of Humor to take this as she meant it then stop reading it and leave the internet all together!

JessicaH
JessicaH

 @Psychodollbaby This is more than obviously not satire. This is someone who disagreed with someone else on the internet and then took an offense to it. Boohoo, it's time to stop acting like a 12 year old who has stumbled onto the internet for the first time. 

inmyownzoo
inmyownzoo like.author.displayName 1 Like

I would like to thank Yelper Mary for bringing the good fight over here . Without her representing the yelp squad I don't think I would have believed this even happened. You are almost as mythical a creature as a unicorn, Laurie Notaro.

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng

 @inmyownzoo

 "the yelp squad"  Do you have uniforms and radios too.  Do you respond to "yelp emergencies"?  Do you have each other's "yelp back"?  The fact that you think of yourselves collectively as a "squad" speaks volumes.

inmyownzoo
inmyownzoo

@LegitQuestions @inmyownzoo Psssst I was being sarcastic...

inmyownzoo
inmyownzoo

I can't guarantee your safety at all. Nor mine. Yelpers. They're bad a$$ @LegitQuestions @inmyownzoo

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng

 @inmyownzoo

 Sorry, couldn't tell.  Thought you were being serious.  It's a good thing you were being sarcastic, too - I was afraid I'd have to sleep with the lights on tonight just in case the yelp squad came after me.

inmyownzoo
inmyownzoo

Plus I know for a fact that unicorns are real so I would get disqualified from yelping.

Mary
Mary

The irony of Ms Notaro's "existential crisis" is that it wasn't her reviews to which I was referring when I made a general remark about flagging reviews that looked fake so that Yelp could review them (for example, for matching IPs). In reality, I was simply responding to a friend and thinking about two other reviews that had been posted around that time.

 

I had already seen, when her review was published and before she even posted in the forums, that Ms Notaro's account was three years old, and therefore clearly legitimate. I neither called her account fake at any point, nor did I flag her reviews. Perhaps Ms Notaro only assumed that I was referring to her because she was in fact posting on Yelp under a fake name (guilty conscience?), of which I was not aware until today.

 

In another twist of irony: I was actually one of the few (the only one?) in the thread who stated (twice!) that I would not give my judgment on Il Pomodoro until I'd had a chance to try it myself. I bought the Il Pomodoro Groupon a few weeks later, and mentioned that I looked forward to trying them.

 

And as for my Yelp Elite status, I never brought that up in any of my responses, yet Ms Notaro seems to have an unhealthy fixation on the (largely meaningless) Yelp Elite system. So much so, that she was blind to the fact that my review of my visit to Yelp headquarters was intended to be humorous.

 

Sadly, Ms Notaro is so egocentric and self-absorbed that she wrongly ASSUMED that my comment referred to her, allowing her presumptuous arrogance to cloud her judgment to such a degree that she ended up stalking and cyber-bullying me to fulfill some juvenile need for 'revenge' for all of this perceived wrongdoing.

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Mary

 Maybe you should start a yelp review of her column.  That'll show her.

davidjoy
davidjoy

Embarrassment indeed. Like so many people, you get in a tussle on an online forum. But then you run away to trash and bully someone on our private blog, in the process revealing that you've been cyber-stalking this other person. You are pathetic and hateful. By blowing up bigger a fight no one wanted to read in the first place, you reveal that you are what's wrong with the Internet.

sladdon
sladdon like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @davidjoy Dude, really? your name is David JOY? Baby, Dahling... where's the joy in the above commentary? Didn't your mother or your Sunday school teacher (such as myself) ever tell you, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Ms Notaro was defending her very existence as a real human being, not spam. Lighten up, Francis! :P

 

sladdon
sladdon

 @davidjoy Oh my goodness, also, check your grammar, young (?) man. "By blowing up bigger a fight."??? Huh? What now? Oy. you are in dire need of Grammar check, my friend.

 

monabookgirl
monabookgirl

You are such a lovely, REAL person! Don't pay any attention to horrible people, they are all just jealous of your stuffed mushrooms and beautiful red chair!

AZreeler
AZreeler

Normally I enjoy Laurie's stories, but this just looks like she is abusing her position to indulge in a personal vendetta against some people she's never even met. All participants sound childish, but this blog reeks of cyber bullying and if I were a bestselling author, I would be embarrassed to have put my name on this.

electric.boogaloo
electric.boogaloo

Before this post I might have been your fan. Too bad it accually is Dolan. PS. This a pretty shameful display lol

ashleyineugene
ashleyineugene

Er, are you kidding, Laurie? You turned a spat on a Yelp forum into a three page ax-job on your fellow reviewers? You hold yourself in exceedingly high regard. Some advice: -Maybe yelp is not a constructive place for you. -maybe you should change your diapers more than once a day.

GrowwwwwwwwwwUppppp
GrowwwwwwwwwwUppppp

You and your adversaries all come off as remarkably childish. Glad they took the yelp thread down. If you're on your way to becoming an attorney, you're in for a career of massive headaches and stress-fits. 

ryanb
ryanb

Sounds like Laurie got trolled and took the bait. Welcome to the internet!

Mary
Mary

By the way, is this what passes for journalism these days? Spending hours stalking someone, then posting the information you've gathered online in a long personal attack because you disliked what someone said on a forum?

boingo
boingo like.author.displayName 1 Like

Well, it's not meant to be "journalism".  Laurie is a novelist and satirist, and her column on New Times isn't a news column; it's meant for entertainment.  FWIW, I thought her writeup was hilarious, and it's clear that there are some people in Eugene who take themselves *far* too seriously and whose identity is apparently defined by their status on Yelp.....Laurie should have done a bit more laughing at them on the Yelp forum and a little less fighting, but all those skeptics and bananas sure come across as a sad, sad lot.

Mary
Mary

 @boingo You clearly didn't see the original thread, and therefore have no idea how wildly distorted Laurie's version is to make herself look good. As I mentioned elsewhere, my Yelp comment about fake reviews wasn't even about her in the first place, she just misread it and went off the rails on the Yelp forum (didn't mention that, did she?).

 

She's just a very self-centered drama queen who likes to use her blog to rewrite reality. The claims about my reviews aren't even true, you're welcome to check out my Yelp profile for yourself, and see that what she didn't blatantly lie about, mostly consist of, you guessed it, humorous reviews. (Like Laurie, I'm also a published author)

Mary
Mary

 @boingo In that case, feel free to quote some things I said then. Because the things Laurie "quotes" are in fact lies. For example, I challenge you to produce a screenshot or any other proof of me saying Laurie's account was fake.

 

Convenient, isn't it, that Laurie took screenshots, but ("oops") omitted her own comments, where she went off the rail.

 

And funny, how this screenshot does not substantiate any of her claims. You know why? Because there is no such screenshot, because those things never happened.

boingo
boingo

 @boingo  @Mary

 Oh wait, my bad....are you "the skeptic"?  If so, you do deserve credit for being a big part of that thread.  Not something to be proud of, btw.

boingo
boingo

 @Mary  @boingo

 Umm, yeah, I did see the thread...and you're actually making this more about yourself than it is.  There were a couple of other posters on that thread that drove the whole thing off the road.  Don't give yourself credit for being just as sad and pathetic as they are.  And sure, Laurie's column spun things a certain way, but it's just spin...not the blatant lies you seem to want to imply she spouted.  Again, she writes a humor column....it was humorous.  And I think there's a very large seed of truth in what she wrote, and that seed seems to be caught in between your teeth right now and that's what causing the real irritation.

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Mary

 Stalking....seems to me that you're the one that followed the author from Yelp to here.  Where are you going to follow her to next - Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest?  You may want to look in the mirror before accussing someone else of stalking.

Mary
Mary

 @LegitQuestions You're so right, how could I -possibly- forget that clicking a single link amounts to stalking these days.

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng

 @JessicaH  Nope.  Not even close.  In fact, if you go back in my comments you'll find several that are even critical of the author and her "funni-ness."  But its never a bad idea to try and blame the messenger when you don't like the message.

 

JessicaH
JessicaH

 @LegitQuestions  @Mary You say 'the author',, but judging by the comments you have made you are more than likely Laurie herself trying to continue your 'Yelp fight' in a different arena. 

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng

 @Mary

 You're so right, how could anyone possibly forget that reading someone's history of Yelp reviews amounts to stalking these days.

Mary
Mary

Hahaha, so someone who posts under a fake name on Yelp is so butthurt by a conversation in the "Talk" section (in which, unlike you imply, I never brought up 'Elite' status, you're confusing me with a different Yelper, I also never called your account fake, again, another Yelper. But hey, who needs fact-checks, right!), that she is willing to spend hours combing through hundreds of reviews and then writing multi page blogs full of 'personal attacks'.

 

And oh my, being 'accused' of having lunch with my mother-in-law? How will I ever bear the shame of a happy marriage and great in-laws.

emmelines
emmelines like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yelp flame war elevated to the next level! Congrats to everyone involved. May this argument live on forever, so I always have work break reading material.

EugeneYelper
EugeneYelper

Oh Laurie, It is so good to hear your side of the story on a real (not fake) Blog, and not just witness the harrassment you have been subject to in the Yelp Talk Thread from my hometown, Eugene OR. Yelp Elitism in Eugene is mostly a joke, for the reasons you mentioned above. If being an elite means reviewing mediocre chains and corporations, denouncing Yelpers who do not have a profile photo, and act High and Mighty to make up for their otherwise meaningless existance, I'll be happy not having the elite badge by my name.

blair5
blair5

i'd review yelp, but at some point in the 18 months or so since my last review, they've completely lost my account. no record, no reviews. i suspect payola or mob pressure from a chain sandwich shop that i panned. no, seriously, that's exactly what i think happened, because they're the type.

heartboston
heartboston

@laurienotaro @phxculture Lol, I'm yelp elite, and I still find this hilarious.

jmoriarty
jmoriarty like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Oh my, Laurie. This should be good. Where's my popcorn?

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