Updated Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 1:55 p.m. EDT: Yelp issued a statement via Twitter and an email about the incident:
We’re sorry to hear about your experience following your review of La Porchetta this past weekend and want to ensure that you know we take these types of issues very seriously. We have elevated the issue with our delivery partner, Grubhub, who has begun an internal investigation into the incident and will take appropriate action, including terminating the restaurant’s contract. Our delivery fulfillment partner temporarily provides restaurants with the minimum necessary delivery information to complete an order. Restaurants are expressly forbidden to use this information outside of order fulfillment, and it can only be accessed by the restaurant for a limited time, making it more secure than a diner calling the restaurant to place an order directly.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Never ask a question you don’t want an answer to.” Well, the same can go for Yelp reviews. Don’t ask someone to leave your restaurant a Yelp review if the food is mediocre.
On Sunday afternoon, I woke up from a nap to discover a power outage in my area. About 1,400 homes were without power because of some mechanical failure at Virginia’s Dominion Power. The first thing that popped into my mind was how I wouldn’t be able to cook dinner because everything runs on electric in my house. Then there was my lack of Wi-Fi and 50 percent battery remaining on my iPhone. Basically, I couldn’t partake in my normal Sunday of Netflix and chilling alone.
After taking yet another nap, I woke up and decided to order food through Yelp. I didn’t want my usual Thai meal, so I opted for a new restaurant, La Porchetta. I’m kind of cautious about Italian pizza joints in my area because they’re never really run by Italians (I’m from the New Jersey/New York City area, so I’m biased about who makes my pizza). But the one thing that stood out on the menu was the fact that they offered zeppoles, which are basically Italian beignets. I opted not to order a pizza because I wasn’t going to eat but one slice, so I ordered a burger platter and zeppoles.
About 30 minutes later, my food arrived. The delivery guy was quite friendly and asked if I could leave a review on Yelp. I said sure, and he went on his merry way. I opened my Styrofoam containers and saw a burger without lettuce or tomato and some sorry-looking steak fries. I then opened up the other container that contained the zeppoles, only to see barely any confectioners’ sugar, and they were quite soggy looking. One bite into the burger proved it wasn’t a handmade patty, as their menu suggested, and just one of those frozen shits that wasn’t seasoned. Needless to say, I wished I’d ordered Thai.
After eating the fries and discarding the rest of the meal, I did what the delivery driver asked me to do. I left a Yelp review:
I thought my review was fair and honest, like most of the reviews I leave on Yelp, and I even said I’d give their pizza a chance. Apparently that wasn’t good enough for the restaurant’s manager.
At 10:05 p.m., I was in bed on the verge of falling asleep when I heard someone knocking on my door. I live alone. People rarely visit without warning me first. So needless to say, I was startled. I am not a white person in a horror flick, so I did not leave my room to walk down a flight of stairs in a house without power to see who was knocking at my door. Then the phone rang. I didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the phone number. Again, not a white person in a horror movie. I sent the call to voicemail. A few seconds later, the same call came in. I sent it to voicemail again. This time, they actually left a message.
“Hello, this is [inaudible name], the manager of La Porchetta. I am outside your door. I want to speak to you about your Yelp review,” the heavily accented Middle Eastern voice said.
Holy fucking shit. What part of the Yelp game was this? Why is this man at my door at 10 fucking p.m. because of a three-star Yelp review? I still did not leave my room. I did not want to get ax murdered. I did the next-best thing, though: I tweeted my “WTF” to Yelp and the Northern Virginia Yelp chapter. Then I decided to call the police. Because people have died for less.
Once the cop arrived and I told him what happened, he looked at me with the most “WTF” face ever. I even played him the voicemail. He then advised that I get protection and said he would take a police report and attempt to call the restaurant manager and tell him to stay away. I knew it must have been the end of his shift, because he halfway acted as if he didn’t want to be bothered, but he said he’d patrol the area to make sure no one was snooping around my house. As the officer was leaving, his last words were, “Guess you won’t be ordering from them anymore.” Hardy har har, officer.
After that incident, I’m in the process of securing protection. You’re not going to catch me out here getting ax murdered over a three-star Yelp review. And yes, of course I updated my review.
And no, I don’t plan on trying La Porchetta’s pizza.