Hospitality brothers and sisters! If ever you are bored – particularly those of you who are juggling studies of some sort and like to procrastinate on the internet and count that as “studying” – there is a website which I heartily endorse as a source of entertainment.
No, it is not this blog, silly!
It is Urbanspoon. Specifically, “user reviews”, the hospitality equivalent of YouTube comments, although some of the links to blogs and such can also provide much amusement. Simply search for a bar, restaurant or café of your choice, scroll down and let the games begin!
Now, as a free online bar and restaurant review platform, Urbanspoon provides a valuable service. In general the information provided about establishments is up-to-date and informative. Sign up for free and any restaurant’s opening hours, cuisine type, location, contact details, disability access, and options for specific dietary requirements are all just a click away.
Unfortunately any idiot can write shit on the internet (as this blog proves), and Urbanspoon is a haven for Whine Lovers, who fit into a special subcategory I like to call Urbantools. That is, narcissistic arseholes who indignantly stab at their iPhones whenever they’re not given the grandiose treatment they feel entitled to, or amateur foodies who will nitpick about restaurant lighting and décor but can’t apply that same exactitude to their own spelling and grammar. People really find their stones anonymously trashing businesses on Urbanspoon because they didn’t get their way, and the site provides the perfect format with which to exact their revenge.
But beware, Urbantools. It’s worth mentioning that even though you might courageously sign up under a false name, you are not as anonymous as you think. If a staff member sees you flaming their establishment on Urbanspoon and recognises your strangely specific complaints and descriptions, all it takes is a little flip back through the reservation book to score your name, contact information, and possibly, your payment details and image via security cameras. So think twice before being a little troll: don’t smugly hit “post” thinking you’ve had the last word, or you might find your contact email being inundated with Scientology subscriptions and start receiving endless offers from Jamster.
You want examples of these Urbantools, you say? Well, fair warning: ellipses in square brackets […] indicate extraneous text removed from a direct quote. Everything else is unedited. Because I’m not proofreading this crap.
Maha holds a treasure trove of Urbantool novellas:
“We were informed the only bookings available were for 6:30 or 8:45. Clearly two sittings so they could maximise profit. Fine. It had better be good hen I thought.”
Stupid businesses trying to make a profit! But I hope the hen was indeed good. This review started off promisingly but one poorly written dissertation later and all I got was blah blah blah, ordinary gin, blah blah, no apologies, blah, no sincerity, “verr” disappointing … Plus a little sniper attack at sister restaurant St Katherine’s (which they haven’t been to). Now that’s efficiency! The highly trained and polished Maha staff could learn a thing or two from Herbie.
This “review” for Berlin Bar had me in stiches:
“As someone who grew up, shivering to the fear of communist rule, I never thought I would ever experience such disrespect for human rights again. But, alas, a trip to the Berlin Bar in melbourne has restored my distaste for former eastern European political ideals. So often, we recall the good things associated with the iron curtain…”
Good God, I thought, gripping the desk in horror. Are innocent people and their loved ones being picked off by the Berlin Bar’s Grepos? Are customers forced to have their assets redistributed evenly amongst the staff and clientele? Hang on, what exactly were the “good things about the iron curtain”? Turns out that the crime against humanity was the bar staff moving their party from one area to another to accommodate their increasing numbers. “Very communist. I would know.”
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Amnesty International to call, Dan Ke Shane.
Cumulus Inc has pissed off some vegetarians:
“Would prefer they didn’t ‘hack’ into raw chicken in front of me as i eat my breakfast! Especially as I’m a vego…”
When I’m sitting right in front of the open kitchen at Cumulus Inc, I expect all kitchen activities to cease immediately, so that I might enjoy my ‘vego’ breakfast in ‘peace’. You may do vegetarian-friendly tasks, such as ‘peeling’ potatoes and ‘rolling’ dough only. Don’t even ‘open’ a can of sardines in my presence, you fascists. You ‘make’ me sick. Get me more fair-trade coffee to ‘wash’ away the sour taste of your evil.
Not even the “bestest sandwich” can save Gin Palace:
“Never brought napkins when having sandwiches. WHAT? No napkins no waters no nothing. Just serving food. […] SERVICE! BRING NAPKINS!”
Why should Kris simply ask for a napkin? Kris can just as easily sign up to Urbanspoon and scream about not getting napkins on the internet hours later in ALL CAPS! The distress of not being able to dab away breadcrumbs may linger, but Kris’ review will live on forever. FOREVER!
A troubled lady at La Luna wonders why “I wasn’t asked why I hadn’t finished the dish.”
Waiters. How many times do we have to tell you to hone your psychic powers? At the very least, if you think you sense a shift in a customer’s aura, take the time during service to sit down, hold their hand, and softly say, “I see something is troubling you, though you have not mentioned it. You are in a safe space, my special Indigo Child. I warmly and wholeheartedly invite you to divulge your innermost troubles and fears.” Is that so freaking HARD?
User reviews for Mamasita is chock full of whiners, but I rather like this one that derails into a confusing (but much appreciated!) rant about Generation Y and Facebook, and not being true to thine own self or some crap:
“Gen Y seems to be lapping it up, as though that’s what Mexican food is supposed to taste like. Maybe if they actually visited the country, and not facebook, they would soon realise they are being ripped off[…] ‘What if the question is not why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?’”
Yeah, less getting on Facebook and more getting on a plane to Central America, Gen Y! Be yourself! What was I talking about again?
Attica reviews have some real John Lethleans in the making:
“that potato from the earth it was grown... Tasted like a potato”.
But the one that really clinches it for me:
“What a joke Urbanspoon is. A format that allows any disgruntled nuisance and or competitor to make up defaming comments and scenarios about decent businesses with decent staff trying to make ends meet.”
This has been posted as a review for like, ten different restaurants by some sort of Urbanspoon vigilante. Hell to the yeah, Laura!*