At the risk of revealing that in the year 2013, I have finally discovered the internet, this will be a post about Yelp.
Yelp reviews as a genre have a lot to admire, but my favorite have to be the ones where someone wanted something very specific, and headed straight for an establishment that plainly does not have the thing in question. The best example of this phenomenon, alas from life, not Yelp, might be when, at a thoroughly decorated Thai restaurant in Heidelberg, Germany, some people came in asking if the place sold schnitzel. Confusing it, seemingly, with a nearby beer-centric restaurant.
Not all cluelessness counts. It needs to be a case where it's obvious a place is/has one thing, and yet the customer demand should somehow trump all, to the point of actually transforming an establishment. And ideally the mistaken individual(s) will be locals - it needs to be entitlement at best, obliviousness at worst, and not culture shock. (It's not hilarious if someone just in from a country that doesn't have the chain - if such places still exist - assumes Starbucks serves hamburgers, or, along the same lines, if someone from a place where the only coffee bars are Starbucks orders a "grande" at a different one while on vacation.) Nor can it be culture clash (class-inflected) within a community - someone used to fast food expecting fries at an upscale restaurant whose emphasis is foams. It needs to be abundantly clear that the mistake was the customer's, and that the customer does not see this.
My all-time favorite on Yelp comes a filtered (which is often key) one-star review of Masa, one of those restaurants in Midtown-broadly-speaking that notoriously cost some freakish amount, but even if you hadn't known this, even if Masa is one of those thousand-dollar meals served in a shabby setting (never been, but I kind of doubt it), menus tend to be helpful in that regard: "My girlfriend was starving and we saw it was a sushi place but didn't look at the prices before we were seated." As someone who has, on occasion, and only in the presence of loved ones, gotten cranky when hungry, I can't even begin to imagine. What completes the story is that the couple then go on to eat dinner at Masa, evidently the most expensive restaurant in all of New York City. As much as it's never advisable, from a Cheapness Studies sense, to go for any sushi when "starving," this individuals somehow set out for a couple of California rolls and ended up, what, a thousand dollars lighter?
Another, not filtered, of a Williamsburg coffee shop I've peeked into and am now desperate to actually try:
I didn't think it was possible to find a more pretentious, smugly elitist coffee shop than Blue Bottle, which is 3 blocks away. Yet somehow in Williamsburg we are cursed with a plague of affectation, and it descends upon Toby's Estate with vengeance equal to that with which it claimed its brother on Wythe.First off, I like the idea that one is "cursed with a plague," and that plague is independent coffee shops. Let it be known that I would welcome such a plague. Note the "we" - this is someone who lives in Williamsburg. It continues:
I came here for a quick cup of coffee after missing the ferry, hoping for a quick pick-me-up before waking back to the pier. I disclosed my desire for speed to the lady at the counter and she assured me they could deliver.It can't just be that I worked in a coffee shop that I find the idea of someone asking a counterperson at a coffee shop to make their drink quickly some mix of rude and hilarious. There were X people ahead of you in line, and their drinks need to be made first. What makes your time more valuable than theirs? (Where's the Bitter Barista when you need him?)
Lo and behold, the hip coffee shop in Williamsburg proved not to be a coffee cart, a Dunkin Donuts, or a vending machine:
Five minutes later I was still waiting at the counter while a bearded betattooed hipster traded stories absentmindedly with another hipster about (I kid you not) their most sublime "coffee experiences." Telling this man, who clearly possessed no concept of time, that I was in a hurry was like talking to Mr. Bean in "Love Actually." I pleaded with him that I would take whatever had dropped through my miserable individual filter [...]Ah! The pour-over method. Always a good thing to check for if you're expecting a quick cup of regular coffee. Pour-over, for the uninitiated, means it would be quicker and cheaper to get an espresso, maybe even an espresso-and-foam concoction. But this individual, who a) lives in Williamsburg, and b) has done so long enough to have encountered Blue Bottle is initiated. This is the very definition of what not to order if you're in a hurry.
And it goes on - dude (or dudette - although various clues suggest this individual is male) misses his second consecutive ferry. But the coffee itself was not bad after all.