Yelp, indeed!

January 8th, 2013 · 56 comments

Writes our submitter, “Bob L,” in California: “I posted a negative review on Yelp of a local business. Next time I came in, I saw this note posted on their bulletin board. Glad I didn’t use my real name!”

Bob L. From Yelp, When you grow up or grow a pair, you know where to find me! Unlike you, I don't hide behind the internet!!

related: “The bathrooms are the best thing about this restaurant.”

extra credit: Portlandia “Bad Yelp review” [youtube]

FILED UNDER: "customer service" · California · posted online

56 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Lilliputian

    Can anyone make out that little text at the bottom? My best guess is,
    “Food hell awaits you!!”

    Jan 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   nativefloridian

      “Pooch Hotel awaits you!”, I think.

      Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Megan M.

      Pooch hotel awaits you?

      Jan 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Erin

      It reads “Pooch Hotel awaits you”. So sinister!

      Jan 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   The Elf

      I prefer “Food Hell”. It was probably why Bob L wrote the Yelp review. Food hell, created by eating pet food combined with the unfortunate after affects of giving himself a distemper shot, led to bathroom hell, which led to a night of sleeplessness, which led to a pissed off review.

      And then he came back into the establishment! Yes, Bob L (or whatever your real name is), if you keep eating the puppy chow, food hell will await you. Now drop trou; here comes the thermometer.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 9:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   willow

    It says “Pooch Hotel awaits you”

    Jan 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   shepd

      Is that how they source the food?

      Jan 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   jen

    Is ‘Bob L.’ short for ‘Bob Loblaw’?
    If so = <3

    Jan 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   mike

    Why would you go back to a place you left a negative review of? This makes no sense to me.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   lee

      See I understood it as the business advertises on the notice board of another place. Based on the other notices, which I wouldn’t expect to see at a Pooch Hotel.

      My guess is a vet.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 12:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Lil'

      It just depends on the circumstances. I shop at a large retailer for the prices, even though the staff acts like I’m a nuisance when I interrupt their personal conversations so I can be checked out. It’s the only store like it near my house, and it’s just not worth it to me to drive out of my way for another mediocre experience at a competitor’s store. If I completely write off a business it’s because of something more serious than a little attitude. I wrote off a gas station minutes from my home following an unbelievable confrontation with a store owner from India. I’m often mistaken for Puerto Rican or Indian, but I’m actually biracial – black and white. I was a regular customer there, and during my second trimester, he told me as I checked out that I was getting fat. I told him I was pregnant. We awkwardly laughed it off and I continued to shop there during my pregnancy. When my son was several months old, I took him inside the store with me one day. At that point, the owner realized my husband was black. He was deeply offended to learn that I had dishonored what he believed to be my Indian heritage and actually raised his voice at me and asked “Why the hell you marry a black one?!” When I gently but matter-of-factly told him my race, he said I was lying. I stopped going there until he finally sold the store (and so did the rest of my family). I can’t imagine why his business didn’t make it.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 10:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Sarah

    Am I the only one is now googling Bob L, Pooch Hotel, and Yelp? I want the details!

    Jan 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   DP

    Found it!

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   spoko

      Notice how many of the other reviews agree with Bob, btw–quite a few of them complain about the owner. Wonder if they all got notes dedicated to them on the bulletin board? Mike could make it a rotating feature: Yelp User I Want To Kill of the Week.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 6:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Bateman

    In his submit message he is glad that he hid behind the Internet? What is wrong with this guy? I’m on the side of the store owner on this one – kind of.
    It’s within his rights to write anything he wants on Yelp, but stating a fake name and be glad afterwards, because the owner doesn’t know who did this and can’t confront him when he comes back, clearly shows the behavior of a wuss.
    I bet the things he wrote on Yelp where kind of outrageous and maybe exaggerated, because no business owner in his right mind would bring up the extra effort to write and pin something like that at the entrance.

    Bob, be a man. Go in and tell them what went wrong, then maybe give them a chance to correct that. Otherwise: Stay away from the store.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Poltergeist

      Yeah, and posting a pissy note inside your own business directed towards an anonymous internet reviewer is definitely the manly thing to do.

      Jan 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   spoko

      Did you not read Bob’s review? [See DP's post right before yours.] Basically, he says that the place is all right but the owner is an ass. Not even basically–that’s what he says, in so many words. Personally, I think Yelp reviews are there for other potential customers, not for the store & its proprietor. Bob doesn’t have any duty to tell the store owner what he thinks of him. But he’s doing a service to let potential customers know what they can expect. The owner is certainly able to respond on Yelp if he wants. Or he can do what he did, and prove Bob right. Team Bob L.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 6:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Lil'

      That’s what customer review sites are for. I often write customer reviews whether my experience is good or bad. If it’s bad enough, I have no trouble letting the manager know. It just depends. I pick my battles, and not every bad experience is worth a full on confrontation – sometimes a heads up to the next guy is all the situation warrants. That doesn’t make Bob L. a wuss. Besides, based on the response note, it seems he was right about the owner being an ass.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 9:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   Lindsey

      …Mike? Is that you?

      Jan 9, 2013 at 9:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   shepd

      Yes, because the smart thing to do when someone is being an ass, mid conversation, tell them they’re being an ass. That *always* generates positive results and *never* starts a fight (verbal or otherwise).

      Seriously, most people do not respond well to being told they’re being nasty, and worse, that they’re generally nasty people. The only other way to tell Mike he sucks would be to go back in another day when things have cooled off and discuss it with him. But that takes time, time the poster didn’t have any need to waste.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.6   Danielle

      Nah, I don’t blame Bob for using a fake name. If you look at his review, it’s clear that even though the owner has a bad attitude, he does like the care his dog receives there and intends to still patronize the business. Bob probably doesn’t want to risk the owner’s anger being taken out on the dog, or being asked not to return to the business.

      From the sound of it, the owner doesn’t seem like the sort of person that takes criticism well. He certainly doesn’t handle it professionally. I doubt that having a polite conversation with such a person would be a constructive use of time. I will say that name calling is never an acceptable solution, though.

      Jan 10, 2013 at 8:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.7   slartibartfast

      if i were a business owner and read reviews like the ones left for this business, the note that i posted on the bulletin board would have been more along the lines of, “i sincerely apologize to any and all clients who i have offended with my behavior”.

      Jan 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.8   BuckyTooth

      Exactly! It seems like Bob’s review was fairly kind in comparison to some of the others. Apparently Mike really is an ass and deserved it!

      I once put a completely honest review on Yelp of a new Tex-Mex restaurant in town. This is in England, so we don’t have good Mexican on every corner like in the US and I was thrilled when it opened. I’m from Texas, so am used to good Tex-Mex, but this wasn’t good. The owner claimed he’d travelled throughout the Southwest and spent years perfecting his food. Well, I thought his travel claims were complete crap, as was the food. Many reviewers agreed that the food was bad. There’s no way you travel in New Mexico and Texas and come back producing such awful, bland food. I put up constructive criticism and wasn’t mean (I didn’t call his food crap, like I have here). I said things like I had high hopes, but it missed the mark; if the rice was prepared another way, it wouldn’t be so hard and flavourless, he should have a salsa verde and fresh pico, he should use Monterrey Jack cheese instead of cheddar, the hot salsa should be a bit hotter and the meat should be slow cooked. The owner couldn’t take criticism. He responded saying I wasn’t a genuine customer, since his food is fantastic, and if I did actually eat there, I must have terrible taste in food and think Burger King is quality food. The guy went out of business within a year, probably due to a combination of his awful food and terrible attitude towards his customers.

      I think owners need to use Yelp as a way to improve their businesses, by seeing criticism and finding ways to change based on it. Not everyone is a miserable person who feels the need to hide behind the internet and be a jerk. If someone puts up a bad review, usually there’s at least some truth behind it.

      Jan 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.9   Reality

      I don’t think Bob was a “wuss.” He’s under absolutely NO obligation to identify himself. And really … was he supposed to type his full name, address … maybe his SSN?! No one gives their full name online unless they’re a moron or a drama queen.

      And as a (former) proprietor of my own business, I have to say, if I got a review like that (not to mention the other reviews that were less kind), my biggest concern shouldn’t be that Bob didn’t identify himself, it should be “what the fuck am I doing wrong?!” And then I should be figuring out what to do to FIX it, rather than bitch about it in public (since I assume he didn’t hide that whiny little sign in a back room).

      “Mike’s” note clearly screams inadequate personality, and hints that he prolly compensates for other things, too. o_O

      Jan 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Dan

    The negative review is of Klub K9 Play Center in Sunnyvale. Looks like he said the place was alright but the owner has an attitude. I guess the sign confirms it.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Poltergeist

      I can confirm this. For anybody else who’s curious about the review, here it is:

      “We’ve been going here for years, but it’s a really mixed bag. They’re great with the dogs and treat the dogs well and have good facilities. The employees are great. They have pretty good hours. The only problem is Mike, the owner. He is, for lack of a better word, an ass. He is rude to the people if he perceives they’re not living up to his standards. He is judgmental. I would go to Pooch, but they’re a bit cheaper and I’m willing to take some abuse to save the money, but it’s hard to resist the temptation to give Mike a piece of my mind. Anyway, if you can put up with some abuse, it’s not a bad place to take your dog.”

      Jan 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   liliboo

    I hate Yelp. I only leave positive reviews. If I have an issue with the business that is worth leaving three or fewer stars, I will take it up with the owner. Because of this, Yelp has flagged all of my reviews as spam or paid reviews. Their algorithms are crap. Also, it doesn’t help you select for quality: for example, a particular Taco Bell might have a higher rating than a gourmet Mexican restaurant, because of different expectations, even if the mediocre “gourmet” is still a better deal for the price. Ugh.

    As a customer, I find the reviews nearly useless. No wonder business owners hate Yelp.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   makfan bang

      I am with you on Yelp. There is so much going on behind the scenes with the ratings that I just don’t trust it any more.
      Yes, there are people who will leave a one-star review because they got two 5s instead of a 10 in their change, but when the operator hides good reviews and features bad reviews because the owner doesn’t pay their fee, or because a person leaves too many high scores, it becomes worthless.

      Jan 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   spoko

      Glad to hear Yelp is blowing off your reviews. If you refuse to let other Yelp users know when you’ve had a problem with a place (precisely the kind of thing they need to know), then your reviews aren’t worth much.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 6:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   Natalie

      Yelp is useless in my city because practically no one will ever give a business less than 3 stars. I have seen 4 star reviews of restaurants noting mediocre food, slow service, and high prices, “but they’re close to my house!” It’s bizarre.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   Christi

      My husband had this kind of issue with Yelp. He had real reviews that were good and got a bad review from a customer he had never heard of (it was a one man company so it would have been hard for him to have a customer he didn’t know about). Yelp refused to remove the bad review and filtered out all of his good reviews.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.5   kermit

      I’ve seen the same thing, Natalie, which is why I don’t understand why people seem to take so much stock in Yelp reviews. I’ve stopped using the site altogether once I realized that they were hiding/erasing all my negative reviews and leaving only the positive ones up. I assume it has to do with the fact that Yelp gets money from businesses to promote them.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.6   Jami

      I’ve never had a problem with Yelp. Granted, I’m always honest, I don’t exagerate, I give as many good reviews as bad, etc. So I guess I’m different from many users.

      I really only get annoyed with owners who seem to think all bad reviews are fake. Um, ever stop to think it’s because your place sucks you’re getting a bad review? And complaining to the owners/corperate doesn’t do a darn bit of good. They ignore it when it’s private communication. But the public humilation of a place like Yelp usually gets them to actually pay attention.

      Unless, apparently, they’re Mike.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.7   ZombieUnicorns

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Yelp filters out all of the positive reviews my work receives, which outnumber the negative ones, but since they are hidden, only the one-star reviews show, making us look like an awful place when we really aren’t at all.

      Jan 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   napcity

    I wonder if this happened before or after this week’s Portlandia?

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Julia

    Unlike you, I don’t hide behind the internet.

    Just passive-aggressive notes. See, we are totally not alike at all!

    Jan 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   pooham

      You cannot hide behind the internet since you are already totally exposed on it.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   WTRickman

    I don’t use Yelp. I mainly review on Tripadvisor.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Roto13

    I once wrote a negative review of a local independently owned video game store here in Toronto and the owner actually threatened to beat me up in a reply. And he banned me from his store as though I’d ever go into his shitty store again.

    So in conclusion and in summary, the owner of B. Zone games is psychotic.

    Jan 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Missy


    Jan 9, 2013 at 12:03 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Dantebenuto

    Team Bob. His message wasn’t that bad and was complimentary toward the business where compliments were deserved. I think the business owner IS an ass. Team Bob alllll the way.

    Jan 9, 2013 at 12:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Djagir

    The best response I’ve ever seen to a negative Yelp review:

    (Did I see that here first?)

    Jan 9, 2013 at 1:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   VM

    For Mr. Pooch Hotel to post that challenge and call you a coward is completely, insanely uncalled for.

    However, saying “It’s hard to resist the temptation to give Mike a piece of my mind” whilst dishing it out without restraint to a public forum is a more plausible lead-in to that action than I believed possible. Isn’t he just urging you to free yourself of your former inhibitions and give in to temptation?

    If only he weren’t likely to extract that piece of mind through your cranium….

    Jan 9, 2013 at 1:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Ebie

    I am so on the side of the note writer. That’s the whole point of Yelp and from the reviews I read on there, his is actually relatively moderate. He just called the owner out personally, which I’m guessing is the issue here. I rushed to vote “cool” on Bob’s review anyway.

    Jan 9, 2013 at 5:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   Wendy

      think you might have left out a “not” in your first sentence. or a “Bob L”.

      Jan 9, 2013 at 8:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   Emvee

    There are times when a major confrontation just isn’t going to solve anything (especially since this does not really affect the care the dog is getting), but posting on Yelp allowed him to warn other customers that the owner is good with dogs but not people. Team Bob.

    Jan 9, 2013 at 6:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.1   Kristen

      This comment is far too reasonable, direct, and well-argued.

      Jan 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   The Elf

    Perhaps “Bob L” is Fido’s secret login? I know that if my cats could read and write, they’d definitely post a negative review of the place where I boarded them once. That place not housed dogs and other cats (the nerve!) but also didn’t give them 24/7 pettins and unlimited food. Abuse, I tell you!

    Jan 9, 2013 at 10:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   juju_skittles

      This feels like a Far Side cartoon to me too!

      Jan 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Daniel

    Yelp is a mixed bag for sure and allows for some nasty, unconfirmed, anonymous behavior that is inconsequential to the yelper but could have serious consequences to the business owner, but the owner’s response pushes me to team yelper. A local coffeeshop inspired a storm in a teacup by placing a “No yelpers” sticker, which was pretty entertaining when it happened:

    Jan 9, 2013 at 11:36 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   warns

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but how else are you supposed to use Yelp if not on the internet??

    Jan 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Ruth

    I thought the review was fine. Mike needs to grow up. if I were Bob though I wouldn’t give my business to someone like Mike.

    Jan 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   font-fancy francine

    that FONT! I haven’t seen jester since 1994.

    Jan 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   Nope

    Surprised no one complained about the font choice…

    Jan 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   SMASHLEY


    I recognize that font! I take my dog to Mike on Tuesdays! HAHAHA. I can’t believe I just stumbled on this.

    Jan 12, 2013 at 12:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   FeRD bang

    I would hide behind the Internet, if I still could! Unfortunately, nowadays I just have to admit that I’m carrying around at least a few too many extra-cheese extra slices and super-sized orders of curly fries to be able to squeeze back there anymore. :oops: *siiiiigh*

    Jan 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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