Ridiculous Reviews on Yelp

Don’t get me wrong, reviews on websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List can be extremely helpful–using them for everything under the sun just seems a bit ridiculous to me. This is not a knock on my wife who spends far too much time checking the ratings of restaurants before deciding where to go on a Saturday night, or what bike rack makes the most sense for our shed out back. OK, maybe just a little bit of a knock–but that’s not the only reason I’ve decided to spend my last night before the end of a holiday vacation blogging about these services.

They’ve come up quite often in the work I’ve been doing on AssociationsNow.com revolving around the legal implications of writing negative reviews (see this news story). I’m over (for the moment) all the seriousness though, and this article off of Huffington Post provided the perfect remedy. The lesson the article provides, in short, is this: Review sites can be an excellent source of laughter. Case-and-point, the 13 different reviews they pulled together for McDonald’s.

The length at which some people go to provide “constructive criticism” of the fast-food chain is simply astounding. Going through these reviews sparked my interest into what the locals in and around Springfield, VA, might be saying about some of the places I frequent, not necessarily just restaurants. From grocery food stores to gas stations, people will share opinions–no matter how outlandish and hilarious (at least to me)–they might be.

So let’s do a quick roundup of some of the best.

Giant Food

Our first review comes from Erin G. of Fairfax, VA, who apparently has a history of reviewing grocery food stores. I’ll let her explain:

“I know I know, lame-o is reviewing another grocery store. Well look, as president of the Grocery Store Fan Club, I spend loads of time in grocery stores, purely for my own enjoyment. Many people travel around visiting other cultures’ museums and churches, well, I visit grocery stores. I’m an authority on this.

Okay so Giant is on an upswing. 8 months ago anyone in the area (the loudest being my mother) would have complained that every single time you went in there they had moved precisely the one item you needed and you spent hours looking for it. Well, it seems (from the trucks in the parking lot) they have been bought out by Stop n Shop and were undergoing reorganization. Today they have finished moving everything around, but not necessarily for the better. The “all natural” section is waaaaaaaaay down at the end of the store near the pharmacy, meaning you can’t just run in and out for your Pirate’s Booty or Kashi, you have to fight throught the crowds lining up at the checkout aisles to even glimpse a cheesy poof.

But I think Giant’s working it out, the aisles are bigger, they have the self-checkout machines and the personal scanners so you don’t even need to fight for a checkout aisle spot, and while the old owners were reducing the number of brand name foods in the store (you couldn’t even buy Domino Sugar, you HAD to buy the store brand), the new owners are re-expanding the product lines as well as developing the Nature’s Promise organic line.

This isn’t the cheapest grocery store, though currently Giant has comparative display baskets proving they are cheaper than safeway. Well that’s fine if you are buying only cheez-its, raisin bran and pringles, but some of us like a green pepper or two and they are more expensive than whole foods.”

Think about the time that was spent putting this together. Now think about all the other reviews this person has likely put together. My lord.

Right under Miss G’s review, we find Scott H., an out-of-towner from Carlsbad, CA, who summed up his Giant experience as expertly and exactly as I would expect a Giant review to be:

“What can I say, it’s a grocery store.”

Well said, Scott. Well said.

Shell Gas Station

The Shell that we frequent–one right around the corner from our home–definitely knows how to get in the holiday spirit, something Jade T. of Chicago, IL, points out in our next review:

“This Shell station should be rewarded as the most FESTIVE gas station in the area!

They seriously go way overboard on holiday decorations, from Halloween to Thanksgiving to now, Christmas.

I can’t imagine the amount of energy needed to sustain over SIX balloon displays on their roof  and on their lawn plus yards upon yards of lights and other light-up decorations.

Wasteful? Yes. Tacky? Maybe a little. Eye-catching? Yes.

5 Stars for creativity and upkeep of the grounds.”

springfield shellHe’s seriously not kidding about the decorations though. Check out the photo I took a few weeks ago, at the start of the Christmas season. It’s just a shot of the three giant blow-up statues on top of the mini mart.

Not everyone is so high on our local fuel station though. Jim N. of Ashburn, VA, was disappointed that he wasn’t treated as a regular by his second visit:

“I had previously rated these guys tops, but they have disappointed me on two consecutive service visits now, and so I have taken my business elsewhere.  After spending thousands of dollars there over 2 years i was still treated like a stranger.  The service writers blew me off on service I asked for – just didnt write it down or perform it.  I brought it back a couple weeks later to have them do that makeup service ….and the same thing happened.   So I gave up and took the care somewhere reliable.   When you see it, keep driving.  There are plenty of good service stations in the area, and with cheaper gas.”

Wells Fargo

Then there’s our bank, this one from Webbers W. of good ol’ Springfield, VA, who gave our tellers a lonely 1-star rating:

“Long story in short cut, the staff at this branch is not cooperative. Manager, clerk no body knows how to process payment by check for credit card bill. It was my last day of the payment. I was trying to pay my all the due to stop this credit card and wanted to get rid from the WF. … They suggest me to wait for hour or so but no one came. I panned to rush to the post office so i can send a express mail to deliver my check next day morning as I was late for the post office. Ultimately I have posted my check now  but I am pretty sure they send me a bill … next month due to this branch and staff.”

Minute Clinic

Why not review a minute clinic? I’m not sure if the “patient” being referred to in the next review by Virginia B. of Manassas, VA, is actually the reviewer, but if so, it makes it all the funnier:

I have been to a Minute Clinic before and had an excellent experience but I was less than impressed at this location.

While the LPN was very nice and very professional, the room was clean and the check in was easy, unfortunately they were very, very busy the day we arrived and while I realize that they are not an emergency room nor do they prioritize patients, I think in certain situations it is in the  patients best interest to insist they go to the ER than to stay and be evaluated at the clinic first (especially when it is apparent to everyone in the area that this person would be better served in the ER).

It’s a judgment call, but I think as a professional, she was better suited to make that call and I think she blew it.

At least, if the patient was in fact the reviewer, they survived their emergency situation at the minute clinic and were able to write the review.

A Nearby Dentist

ZocDoc is one thing, but if you’re going on Yelp to find out about a local dentist, then be warned. At least, that’s what Katie G. of Springfield, VA, is trying to say in her review of a dentist she visited. Never mind the fact that she showed up for a first appointment late with an “insurance not too many dentists have seen.” But let’s let her rant:

“First, let me start by saying I have no idea how Dr. Sina Malekuti is as a dentist.  I never got that far.  I just moved nearby to his office and needed a dentist.  I read a review on another website for Dr. Sina Malekuti and stopped by.  i have insurance not too many dentists have seen before and I wated to make sure he would take it.  He seemed nice and the receptionist assured me everything was fine regarding my insurance.  I made an appointment for 2:00pm a little more than a month later.  I arrived for my appointment at about 2:03pm (I know I was a tad late and I was sorry about that).  When I got to the office no one was at the front desk so I just signed in.  About 15 minutes later Dr. Sina Malekuti came by and looked at the list.  At this point no one had talked to me.  A woman came by and asked if I had filled out some forms.  I told her I hadn’t and she gave me some to fill out.  I filled them out and put them on the receptionists desk.  By this time it was 2:25pm.  A few minutes later another woman came out and asked me if I had insurance.  I gave her my card.  She left and when she came back she told me they didn’t take my insurance.  I told her I had stopped by previously and was told they did.  The doctor jumped in and said that he didn’t think I had stopped by.  *Sigh*.  The woman left to check again.  She finally came back and said that they did take my insurance and proceeded to explain my insurance to me – um…thanks but I already know.  It was now 2:45pm and I asked how much longer it would be.  I was told 10 to 15 minutes, a full hour after I had arrived.  I said I had to leave and the receptionist told me the doctor had said I was more than 20 minutes late.  no, doctor that is when you came out to look at the sign-in sheet.  I have no idea if they were just having a bad day but something told me this whole thing was a bad idea and I left.  i have never been to a more disorganized office.  Be warned!”

Thanks, Katie.

If you’re someone that spends time writing these reviews, all’s I can say is this: Thanks for the entertainment. While they are more often than not helpful, they are still ridiculous. A person only writes a review for one of two reasons; they either really enjoyed the service they received or the food they ate, or they had an absolutely life-alteringly terrible experience. The latter are usually the ones that provide the entertainment and laughter like most of those above.

Feel free to share other ridiculous reviews (maybe even one that you wrote) in the comments below.


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I'm an editor for Associations Now, a magazine pubished by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. I live in Springfield, VA with my amazing wife, and am enjoying the ride that life is taking me on.


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