SF Weekly Letters

Yelp Reviews Leave Bad Taste
Serving up spite: Thanks to Lauren Smiley for writing this story ["Faux-Star Reviews!," Feature, 3/11] about Yelp. I think Smiley did a great job treating the subject with fairness.

As a former restaurant employee, I wish to address the consequences to workers when they are negatively reviewed. I have held the hand of a co-worker as she cried because she was referred to as the "Butt Ugly Server"; I have seen a review that refers to a server as "Svetlana, The Impaler," simply because she was taller than the reviewer.

I have personally received excellent reviews, and a review in which I was slaughtered because my former restaurant didn't serve applesauce with the pork chop. As if any server has control over what the chef will or will not produce for a guest!

I know of people in the industry with decades of experience who have been written up or fired because of one bad review. I have served dozens of Yelpers and they are often self-entitled people with an ax to grind, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with their experience in a restaurant. I could go on and on about how unfair and irresponsible it is for these folks to vent their angst against people who are there to serve them.

I am not talking about a fair review of service and quality. I am talking about vicious personal attacks on strangers. Let free speech reign, but let the owners of businesses have equal time to address these kinds of posts.

Having said all of that, I do use Yelp to find doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and the like. Posters are sharing an important experience for them, and that's helpful.

I'm not saying "End Yelp!" or "Fuck Yelpers!" I am saying that Yelp should be fair and allow redress. Like any community, Yelp has good and bad.


San Francisco

One star review: Wow, all I can say is this article is classy. This is the first time I've read SF Weekly, and it will be the last.

It's one thing to point out the potential flaws in a user-based review system and the possible fallout, but it's quite another to personally attack another living, breathing, feeling person. Lauren Smiley could have gone after the online personality of "Janney B" and gotten her point across — but using her real name and exposing personal information crosses so many lines.

Shame on Smiley. Shame on SF Weekly. What Smiley did was wrong, and even a printed apology couldn't fix the lack of moral judgment that has been shown.

Nathan M

Web comment

Not GaGa for "Backlash"
Just ask some ... teenagers???: I don't think Andrew Stout truly understands the crucial concept of pop culture and pop art ["The Lady GaGa Backlash Begins Here," Music, 3/11]. I think it's Lady GaGa's artistic and/or commercial intention to do most of the things Stout pointed out. No current artist up until her made such direct references to contemporary pop culture. She is "reviewing" it as much as she is compiling it.

I know the Madonna comparisons are tiring, but Madonna did exactly what Lady GaGa is doing when she released "Material Girl": The '80s was awash in materialism and it was evident to everyone, but she exposed it in such a direct way that it became culture as opposed to the everyday state of affairs. Apart from this article's title being a sorry excuse for a journalistic hook, it's always far easier to criticize art rather than trying to understand it.

Ask a bunch of teenagers why they like Lady GaGa and you'll see why it goes well beyond her music being "catchy" or "in." Her music is both superficial and deep at the same time. In two words: pop art.


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