I stand by all of my articles, including negative reviews and reviews which include low scores for Flavor, Ambience, Service, or ROI. As I've repeatedly stated on Chubbypanda.com, anything I write here is strictly my opinion, formulated based on my experience with a business or product. Palates are intensely personal and deeply subjective. Different people will naturally have differing impressions about the flavor of a dish, the quality of service, and ROI (Return On Investment) value. On Chubbypanda.com, I offer my opinions for anyone who cares to read them, and advise visitors to take my articles with "a grain of salt". They may find that they end up liking a restaurant or product to which I was indifferent or poorly disposed.
In addition, even excellent restaurants can have a bad night or two. Staff turnover is high in the food industry. Purveyors can fold overnight, or be unable to dependably provide the same raw materials. Thus, a restaurateur is engaged in a constant struggle to provide consistent products and service. For this reason, I have a policy of trying every restaurant at least three times before writing about it. There have, however, been exceptions in the past.
The following email is the first critical email I've ever received from a business owner in the two and a half years I've been food blogging. While he declines to identify his business, based on the content of the email and the fact that I've only written ten negative articles out of a total of over two hundred, I've narrowed down the likely offending review to the following two:
- A review I posted on Yelp of La Delice Pastry Shop in New York. This is the only review I have ever written without first visiting the eatery. It was posted on Yelp in response to this post by my friend Kathy of A Passion for Food, which describes some very poor treatment she received from La Delice staff.
- A review I posted about Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach, which is referenced in the email. This review was cross-posted on Yelp.
The email also references my review of John Thorne's Mouth Wide Open, a book I highly recommend.
Here's the email in its entirety. The emphasis and all caps are the sender's. The original formatting has been preserved.
-=Received Saturday, May 9th, 2009 at 1:26PM PST=-
I recently ran into your blogs as I was looking up my own business to read customer reviews. I do not have any intentions of telling you which business I am referring to, nor will I comment about your discrimination against it.
I will, however, let you know that as a reader of your literature you talk out of both sides of your mouth. On one hand you bash businesses for their lack of "sensitivity" to "your friends", and on the other hand you talk about the poor economy:
"We have rising gas prices, plummeting real estate values, double-digit unemployment, the specter of economic depression, and stock markets that have fallen with such rapidity that they threaten to drag the rest of the country into the Abyss with them. While criminally irresponsible Wall Street CEOs demand handouts from the federal government, and usurious financial institutions exploit us with our own tax dollars, small businesses, the backbone of the American economy, collapse left and right."
You, ChubbyPanda, are not helping the economy. In fact, you are HURTING IT JUST AS MUCH - WITH YOUR VERY OWN FINGERS - THROUGH YOUR VERY OWN COMPUTER. You are going to be just as hungry as the business owners you are un thoughtfully provoking if you don't stop to think before you write, while you try to play "boyfriend" to all the "tiny Asian girls" of the world. Personally knowing someone who dated a "tiny asian girl" for 10 years, and contracted chlamydia from five years into the relationship, doesn't help me find "tiny Asian girls" as appealing as even a burnt piece of toast any more.
I would love to know how you would feel if someone ran a negative campaign against you, the very same way you are running against small business owners on account of your "friends". You are running rampant on the internet with no regard to who you are affecting and how. Hasn't your mother taught you proper manners? Didn't she teach you something along the lines of: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all"? That's definitely something I would have taught you if you were my son.
How in the world do you think you are helping the economy by posting negative feedback about business eateries that you didn't even eat in yourself? Have you ever heard of the saying "Mind your own neck"?
Karma has an insatiable way of dealing with rights and wrongs. You, ChubbyPanda, are very wrong in more ways than one. You are spreading a fire that should have been put out with its first glimmer of a flicker. Also, from what I can see, you are not as poignant of a writer that you boast about being. You make grammatical and spelling errors all over the map, which make me question the school system involved in educating you. Just to have a little fun... I will go through your web blog for a few minutes to copy and paste some of your errs.
All you have to do is go to your link, select and copy the mistakes I list below, press Ctrl F, and paste the booboo's into the search. You will find them all on your own page, and I didn't need a friend to tell me how reckless you are with YOUR work.
"Please Note: Unless otherwise stated, I have not sampled this product, business, or event, and am not personally recommending it. FoodVibes are informational tidbits I've chosen to pass on because I think other food lovers might find them interesting.)"
WHERE DID THE PARENTHESIS BEGIN?
"Even more recession proof chains are feeling the burn."
WAS THIS LINE MEANT TO BE FOOL-PROOF OR WAS IT THE PROOF OF A RECESSION?
"Even Food Network's celebrity chefs sometimes have trouble keeping afloat as publishing houses continue to release wave after wave of these sure-fire money makers."
LET'S TRY THIS ONE AGAIN AND SEE IF WE CAN SPOT THE CORRECTION I MADE FOR YOU:
EVEN FOOD NETWORK'S CELEBRITY CHEFS SOMETIMES HAVE TROUBLE KEEPING AFLOAT AS PUBLISHING HOUSES CONTINUE TO RELEASE, WAVE AFTER WAVE, THESE SURE-FIRE MONEY MAKERS.
"Thorne's writing exudes a thoughtful earthiness that invites the reader to join in the author's own musings into, and experimentation with, a meandering assortment of foods and dishes."
PICK ONE TO REPLACE YOUR ERROR AND MAKE THE SENTENCE RIGHT "AND IN EXPERIMENTATION WITH" OR "AND EXPERIMENT WITH"
"Weighing in at a respectable 410 pages, each chapter is a self-contained small plate of unpretentious common sense covering Thorne's detailed exploration of a particular dish or foodstuff. "
RUN THORNE! RUN! OR, AM I TRYING TO SAY RUN ON SENTENCE??? PUT A COMMA IN THERE...LET'S SAY, OH, RIGHT AFTER THE WORD SENSE!
"In contrast, his essay on the pungent allure of Bagna Caôda is myopically detailed as the author traces the evolution of the dish, examining changes in the ratio and composition of the ingredients through history while he searches for the recipe just right for him."
IN CONTRAST, HIS ESSAY ON THE PUNGENT ALLURE OF BAGNA CAODA IS MYOPICALLY DETAILED AS THE AUTHOR TRACES THE EVOLUTION OF THE DISH, EXAMINING CHANGES IN THE RATIO AND COMPOSITION OF THE INGREDIENTS THROUGH HISTORY, WHILE HE SEARCHES FOR THE RECIPE JUST RIGHT FOR HIM.
~OR BETTER YET~
IN CONTRAST, HIS ESSAY ON THE PUNGENT ALLURE OF BAGNA CAODA IS MYOPICALLY DETAILED AS THE AUTHOR TRACES THE EVOLUTION OF THE DISH, EXAMINING THE CHANGES IN RATIO AND COMPOSITION OF THE INGREDIENTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WHILE SEARCHING FOR THE RECIPE THAT'S JUST RIGHT FOR HIM.
"With an asking price of $26 USD, it's a real bargain for any food fan who's been craving something meatier to chew on than the mass-produced offerings currently available. "
WITH AN ASKING PRICE OF $26 USD, IT'S A REAL BARGAIN FOR ANY FOOD FAN WHO'S BEEN CRAVING SOMETHING MEATIER TO CHEW ON RATHER THAN THE MASS-PRODUCED OFFERINGS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.
AND THE LIST CAN GO ON.....BUT I have better things to do than sit here and play Hooked on Phonics with you. You also should concentrate on correcting your faults before you write about other people's problems. For instance "Do you know how hard it is to run a restaurant? Why don't you pay for an apartment for me?". Apparently that owner is having a difficult time keeping a roof over his family's heads. Unfortunately that is difficult for you to understand.
You see...you are not perfect. Nobody is perfect. But, when you launch your blogs against hard working individuals who pour sweat and blood into the food that made you a Chubbypanda, one day you too may lose that plate of food on your table and you will be called Skinnypanda instead. Try to concentrate on bettering your writing style so that one day I can read a book titled "How to eat like a Chubby Panda" because unfortunately your technique is very weak. You possess excellent writing skills, but you have one weakness. YOU CANNOT KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE CAPTIVATED LONG ENOUGH TO WANT TO READ ALL OF YOUR WORK FROM BEGINNING TO END. I know I couldn't do it!
I do not fear for my eatery. As long as I wake up at 4am in the morning, my door will be open for the public to enjoy my hard work, and for me to enjoy my earnings.