Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

Avengers: Service War
Online reviews are not the endgame

By Justin Zalewski

May 10, 2019

Justin Zalewski (Photo by Tim Baker)

When I was just a wee little boy, I had a certain vision of what the future would look like. Flying cars zoomed around a prosperous, joyful world in which I had led the Detroit Red Wings to 10 consecutive Stanley Cup Championships. I was way the fuck off.

Here we are in 2019; there are no flying cars, the world is a horrifying place to live in, I bartend at the bar that I manage and the Red Wings have the fourth worst record in the NHL this year. Sounds like they could have used my help after all.

Although there have been many amazing advancements in the way we live today, some of the technologies have created a disconnect and have actually taken the human race back quite a bit. From Facebook to dating apps to Urbanspoon and so on. Visit a restaurant for the first time and the meal or service isn’t up to your standards? Jump on Urbanspoon or Yelp and blast the entire establishment.

Have an opinion on a controversial topic that you have very limited knowledge on? Facebook and Twitter are there to help you stir the social media cauldron with a wooden spoon. Before you know it, you’re alienating close friends and no longer speaking to family members. On the internet, everyone’s a critic, an expert and an asshole.

In my experience, the biggest source of fake news on the interwebs is the bar/restaurant reviews and ratings. Plenty of sites and apps can be helpful when you’re looking for places to spend your hard-earned money, whether you’re in search of a good Sunday brunch menu or a spot to kick it on a Friday night. However, there is a dark side to everything and, yes, there are supervillains waiting in the wings, hiding behind anonymous cloaks of darkness.

The most powerful supervillain has a short bob haircut and can usually be found wearing high-waisted jeans with a floral sleeveless button-front blouse. She goes by many names: Sharon, Deb or, in most cases. Karen. Let’s not forget her sidekick, whose uniform consists of thigh-high salmon pink shorts, a Polo golf tee, a pair of Dockers and sunglasses secured around the neck with Croakies. His name is usually Jack, Harrison or Todd, and his power is all the recent knowledge he picked up on a 10-minute brewery tour.

This diabolical duo has armed themselves by binge-watching Top Chef and Bar Rescue until they’ve built up the mastery that makes them experts in all things food and drink

There’s another group of villains out there: the Brads, Chads and Beckys. These fools travel in hoards and are easily identifiable. You already know what they look like. If you’re reading this in public, there’s probably one nearby. Don’t make eye contact. This group will invade your bar or restaurant with a confident assumption that they are the only people in your establishment and must be taken care of before anyone else. Do not take them lightly. They will hoot, holler and go to no end to make your life a living hell.

Do not fret, for there is hope. A force of superheroes has assembled to combat these villains. These heroes come in many types. The Gadgeteers, who can be found in the kitchen: chefs, cooks, dishwashers, etc. I would consider them the new pirates of the world. They are armed with many apparatuses to create tasty meals for the masses. They work long hours in a high-paced, loud, dangerous and hectic environment. Most work several jobs, have late hours and take their dinner breaks eating over a trash can or sink by themselves.

Gadgeteers could not work without the Energizers: the servers, busboys and barbacks who make their jobs possible. They serve on the frontlines, doing battle armed with only a pen, a pad and nerves of steel.

There are the Masters of Mixology, wizards of the service industry. Bartenders stand tall in the trenches, bodies half shielded by fortification, half exposed. They are armed with a bar tool, mixing tin and a myriad of liquor used to create potions consumed in countless varieties. On a nightly basis, they fight off hordes of shapeshifters, walking dead, Chads and Beckys, Karens and Todds.

There will always be bad service, bad food, bad drinks, bad bartenders and shitty experiences. I simply ask that you think before you jump to criticize a person or establishment.

Some of the hardest working people and finest humans in this world work in the service industry. We are here to serve you and give you an enjoyable experience. Just think about what it’s like to live in our world for a minute before you leave a review. And as always, tip your Avenger!

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