I Write Bad Yelp Reviews

by Meghan Medford

I received a phone call last Wednesday at 9:30 at night from an unknown number. Usually, I would have completely ignored it, but since I’ve been dealing with so many contractors and service workers lately, chances are I already knew the person on the other line. Or it could be Vivint trying to schedule another “service call”, and I’d at least get a good laugh at picturing them running around in circles trying to figure out the best person to transfer this now-defunct customer to. 

For once in my life, I wish it was Vivint. 

I was preoccupied painting my powder room, and for well-documented reasons, I tend to get paint everywhere. So I’m knocking over my paint-soaked roller and brushes trying to reach my buzzing phone in time, only to get paint smeared across the back of my iPhone. I was completely distracted by the paint that now lightly coated my bathroom floor, phone and forehead (?), but I was soon jolted back to the present when I was threatened with a lawsuit. 

Here’s a completely verbatim transcript of my phone call:

Me: Hello?
Stranger: Hi, this is Christopher Robin and I noticed that you wrote an unfavorable Yelp review about my cleaning company. If you do not remove it, I will be forced to take legal action. 

Sidenote: I did write an “unfavorable” review on Yelp because this company, although they thought I was atramp, didn’t finish out their services like they promised. After I tried to reach them several times by email and phone, I gave up and just wrote a Yelp review to try to get their attention - and my receipt. (what is it with me not getting receipts?!)

First of all, I kind of didn’t get past anything after he said his name was Christopher Robin, because all I could imagine was a Winnie the Poo’s best friend calling me on the other line. But once I finally did get my internal chuckles out of the way I immediately got on the defensive:

Me: Well maybe your company should do what it promises and then I won’t be forced to write negative reviews. Also, if you had answered my three emails and two phone calls this morning, I wouldn’t have to be writing Yelp reviews at all. 
CR: Well my house burned down!

Here is where I felt a little twinge of guilt. What if his house had burned down today and my three-star Yelp review just sent him over the edge? Surely not, right? So I prodded further:

Me: I’m sorry to hear that, when did it happen?
CR: Last year.


Me: Well I am sorry, but I don’t see how that prevents your company from providing me a receipt? 

CR: But my house burned down!
Me: Again, I’m sorry, but it’s not like I did it!
CR: Well it was arson, so maybe you did!!

- line goes dead -

Winnie the Poo’s sidekick had hung up on me. In the span of five minutes, I smeared latex paint on my forehead, was chewed out by a fictional character and accused of arson. My life has seemingly gone downhill lately. 

Ten minutes later Christopher Robin had called back, after he had calmed down, and apologized for his outburst. He tried a completely different tactic and proceeded into a complete (and somewhat scripted) sob story about how he was struggling to provide for himself and his goldendoodle and he just didn’t want a bad review to deter future customers. 

I told him that if he gave me 50% off a move-out cleaning for my current apartment, that I would consider taking the review down.

The man started crying. I don’t know if it were tears of sadness that he had to resort to threatened legal action to prevent bad Yelp reviews, or pure happiness that he could finally buy dog food for his goldendoodle.

Either way, I got a sweet deal on an apartment cleaning and I have yet to be served with any lawsuits (fingers crossed).