Yelp’s Most Recent Drama Is A Reminder Of Deep Flaws With The App

Last week, a Yelp reviewer who goes by the name of “Emma C.” posted a one-star review on the Yelp page of the Washington, D.C. based Nick’s Riverside Grill, claiming that she’d been overcharged for one happy hour drink.

The manager then replied to the review, accusing Ms. C of pooping herself. Now, the restaurant is saying that after an exhaustive investigation, they determined that Emma wasn’t responsible for the pooping, and have apologized to her.

According to the Washington City Paper, the pooping did happen, but the customer who did it was not Emma C. That customer and Emma just happened to be at the restaurant at the same time. In a previous Washington City Paper report on this story, Emma wrote in an email that she was at the restaurant at the same time as the woman who pooped her pants, and then criticized the restaurant for embarrassing the both of them:

“I just wanted to clarify that I’m just a dissatisfied customer who is now being accused by this establishment of being someone that I’m not, saying some very nasty things about me and also insulting this other girl who could potentially have serious health issues… It’s ridiculous, irresponsible and extremely upsetting.”

At the time, the restaurant’s manager, Greg Casten, said he would investigate again since he didn’t want to accuse someone of doing something they didn’t do. After such an investigation, he has admitted his mistake, saying that he came to this conclusion after “a stern cross-examination” of the employees who were present during the incident, and after talking to Emma’s friends. He defends his staff, however, believing that they didn’t have any malicious intent in accusing Emma:

While I did stand behind my employees and what they were confident of, I also stand behind them and believe this was an honest error and not meant to be anything other than an expression of disbelief that someone might lash out at our establishment considering the above and beyond the call activities that were necessary due to another’s situation. And certainly was not expecting the story to be a headline.

Writing a one-star review can be so damaging to a restaurant’s reputation that it can result in a false pooping accusation. Printing such an accusation on there can make national headlines. The restaurant is lucky that Emma will likely not hire a lawyer since Casten issued a written apology. The only remaining mystery to solve is whether she did get overcharged for one happy hour drink.

(via Washington City Paper)