Hasty, hasty, writey monkey.
Last month we celebrated Wifey’s 21st birthday (ballpark figure) and we finished a day of gathering and celebration at a restaurant called ‘Scoff and Banter’ in Bloomsbury. In all fairness the place did us proud and no one person was more responsible for that than a charming lady called Valentina who patiently endured all my pre-event fretting and quenchless questions. As is de rigueur these days I was asked to write a Trip Advisor review and so, for the first time ever, I actually did. If I could ascribe adjectives to my effort I’d say it was concise and glowing; nothing too flowery but my warmth of feeling and depth of gratitude were suitably and coherently conveyed to all involved. At least I thought so.
Well, actually the karma has paid dividends already because Trip Advisor (of which it should be said is always an enormous handful of coarse sand in the Vaseline when it comes to planning a holiday in our house ( – not that we go on holiday in our house)) have been in touch regularly to tell me how much appreciated my review has been. Apparently I’m one of the most popular reviewers in Sutton, which comes as much of a surprise to me as to the residents of Sutton, a place I have never been to. “Congratulations! You’re in the top 25%”! Thrilling, I’m sure you’ll agree, though it doesn’t humour me with the specifics of what the top 25% is of.
Apparently my work for Trip Advisor isn’t yet done either. Now that my review has racked up a whopping 163 reads they’re eager for more. Indeed they want me desperately to push for ‘Level 1’ status, which is very low aim-y. Yes, get me: 2 more reviews and I’ll be swimming in the frothy waters of the not very enticingly named ‘TripCollective Level 1’. There’s something about the word ‘collective’ that makes me uneasy; perhaps I should call myself ‘LoneWolf69’ instead of ‘Hewitt50’, just to make a point. There’s something about Trip Advisor that makes me uneasy too. Their power to totally upend your holiday or restaurant plans on the knife edge of just one sentence and a percentage approval figure. One man’s pleasure is another man’s prison shower and sites like this cannot possibly meet all requirements or opinions. I suppose it’s just the same for Rotten Tomatoes or ‘ratemyprisonshower.com’.
I should be glad that my opinion, sorry, my recalled experience, of one restaurant is so highly sought after. I could go back tomorrow and spend the next week on the toilet, shitting fire, and what would Trip Advisor make of me then. Not much, they’ll just bump me one step closer to ‘TripCollective Level 1’, from where world domination might ensue. Alternatively I could write about our visit to a ‘Miller and Carter’ in Epping last Sunday but I bet it won’t dent their popularity too much because sometimes people just want something they can rely on, even if that means chronically unreliable service. And food.
Whenever I start moaning about something in the company of friends someone usually says (if they care to indulge me) that I should write a post about it. This, of course, would be cripplingly time consuming because I am also told that all I do is moan. I disagree to an extent, but then look how easy it is to turn a celebration of Wifey’s birthday dinner venue into a jab at the frailties of online reviewing subjectivity. Clawing frantically back to the start – we had a great day and I’m glad it all went smoothly and I’m super glad that I had the right person covering my back at the restaurant; they deserve a medal, or at least 12.5% service charge. I hope they all got a cut and I hope you get a chance to give the restaurant a chance and if you see her then say hi to Valentina from ‘Hewitt50’ at Trip Advisor. She’ll probably think you’re a fucking lunatic, and quite right too.
G B Hewitt. 09.10.2019