Chef Doesn't Quite Appreciate Reviews From Inbred, Jobless, Bored Yelp Users

Some people don’t like to be criticized, especially when the criticism comes from amateurs and when said criticism can have an impact on their income. Just ask the chef at a restaurant in Denver who has kicked up a crap storm after unleashing his true feelings about Yelp.com reviewers.

When asked what he’d like to see less of in Denver from a culinary standpoint, the chef replied:

Amateur instant online restaurant critics — specifically those who write reviews for a website that rhymes with “kelp.” Think about it: They review a McDonald’s and then turn around and review Mizuna. I just imagine bored, jobless layabouts with not many friends who are convinced that they’re going to have a bad time before they even step through the door of a joint. The kicker is, you can’t respond to these inbreds and try to educate, or at least explain, why some things happen the way they happen. Have a little fun, for chrissakes. Loosen up when you go out, and let me be the stress ball in the kitchen busting my ass for twelve-plus hours trying to make you the best food I can. Fuck you!

If he thought the Yelp reviews were harsh before, we have a hunch they might get a little nastier over the next couple days.

Table 6 exec chef Scott Parker on hunger, eating a deep-fried rosebud and inbred amateur restaurant critics who frequent a site that rhymes with “kelp” [westword.com via eater.com]

Thanks to Raphael for the tip!

Comments

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    As long as the reviewer actually ate your food and sat in your restaurant, it’s a valid review. It doesn’t matter if they ate McDonald’s the day before.

    Now Yelp has a history of false reviewers (though not usually in the negative) so I don’t use their site anyway.

    • mistersmith says:

      It’s not a “valid review” if the person isn’t qualified to discuss something publicly, since Yelp does nothing to qualify the reviewer.

      I listen to Wagner and hate it. It doesn’t mean Wagner can’t write an opera.

      • slappysquirrel says:

        Erm, if you can put your dislike of Wagner on the internet, why can’t I put my dislike of a restaurant with bad service on the internet?

        I don’t think people go to yelp expecting to read the opinions of experts, they go to read the opinions of people just like themselves.

      • coffeeculture says:

        If you didn’t like it, you didn’t like it…no need to hide this fact. I’m smart enough to tell the difference between some random guy on the internet, some random guy with my tastes, and a professional review.

      • Pax says:

        Everyone is qualified to publicly discuss anything they personally experience. [b]Everyone.[/b]

        • RvLeshrac says:

          But they are not necessarily qualified to discuss it in an authoritative manner, as Yelp reviewers tend to.

      • Mauvaise says:

        What do you mean “if the person isn’t qualified to discuss something publicly”? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. If I go to Restaurant X and eat a meal there, I’m automatically qualified to discuss MY dining experience publicly, on Yelp, or anywhere else I wish. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a job (I do) or ate at McDonalds yesterday (I didn’t) or anything else.

        The only thing that matters is that I dined at the restaurant on which I’m submitting a review.

        • Mauvaise says:

          *about which I’m submitting a review.

          My kingdom for an “edit” button!

        • Griking says:

          I think that the problem is that anyone can anonymously write a review saying anything they want without having to have any credibility. In fact, there isn’t even verification that the reviewer even really ate at the restaurant. A neighboring restaurant owner can go on Yelp and write a bogus shitty review for a new restaurant just because he wanted to hurt a competitor if he wanted to and there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s a shitty and broken system just asking to be abused.

          • minjche says:

            That still makes the assumption that readers of Yelp reviews will regard a Yelp review as more than something written by just about anyone. If they do, well, you can’t fix stupid. The rest will exercise their grains of salt.

            • Pelonis says:

              Ever heard of wikipedia? You know the website that acts like an encyclopedia where people and companies are contantly being caught falsifying info all the time.
              If wiki didn’t constantly try to verify the info, wiki would turn into a site like…………yelp.

            • pot_roast says:

              Yelp reviews are completely subjective anyway. I remember one ramen place near where I used to live that had some reviewer giving it a one star place saying how un-authentic the place was. I lived in Japan for many years and found it to be pretty darn authentic and had excellent ramen.

              It’s all in the eye of the beer-holder, as they say.

              • mxjohnson says:

                Yeah, the best local Italian restaurant got a bad review for not having authentic Italian food. Which is odd, considering the owner/chef who does all the cooking grew up in Rome, where he trained as a chef. Anybody who eats at a restaurant is qualified to share an opinion, but not everybody is qualified to say what is authentic Italian or Thai or whatever.

                Oh, and the negative reviewer didn’t actually eat at the restaurant, but had them box it up as take out.

    • mrstu says:

      The sad thing is, the last six reviews on there now are people giving one star and quoting this story… while the chef does sound like a jerk, I wish the people giving reviews for someplace they’ve never been are basically vindicating him…

  2. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    I guess a big Fuck You to all those Yelp reviews that are positive as well? (Yes, positive reviews DO actually exist, if they are rare.)

    • human_shield says:

      I always give positive reviews. I want to keep going there, so I want others to go too so they stay in business.

      • evilcharity says:

        Word. I’ve written maybe a dozen reviews on yelp and all but maybe two were positive. Even the negative ones weren’t scathing…they just outlined why I didn’t care for a place or service. I am also knowledgeable enough to be able to sift through the reviews expressing blind rage of dissastisfaction.

        Lastly, who gives a crap how much time a person spends in the kitchen if the food they send out is gross?

      • invisibelle says:

        I’m the same way. I like to review my favorite places and help out folks who aren’t sure where to go. I’ve even had friends come up to me (in real life, heh) and thank me for reviewing a restaurant that they tried & enjoyed because they saw a review from me.

  3. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    I guess only people with jobs, friends, and a dislike of McDonalds have working taste buds.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That part bugged me (more than the rest). How would a “jobless layabout” afford to eat at his restaurant in the first place?

  4. MeowMaximus says:

    My cats have taken to publishing reviews on yelp of their meals. I should have never bought them their own laptop, although, admittedly, they usually just use it as a warm place to sleep.

  5. MeOhMy says:

    I can understand his annoyance, but at the same time I have to imagine anyone seriously using a review site knows you have to take both positive and negative reviews with a grain of salt. Occasional bad reviews complaining about stupid things “Gazpacho soup was COLD!” won’t kill you, and if you’re getting a lot of people calling out the same deficiency in multiple reviews it seems like you might want to look into it.

    In any case this guy is alright in my book for his views on the humble unappreciated kohlrabi.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Yes, and his great advice:

      “Best culinary tip for a home cook: Go out to eat. “

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Wow, that comes across as so unbearably douchey. Of course, this ‘home cook’ used to be a professional — does he think I only deserve to be critical part of the time?

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          Actually, he says the best advice for a home cook would be to go out and eat, then use the different tastes to inspire your own home cooking. Out of context it sounds way douchier, though.

          • MeOhMy says:

            Yeah when I read the first sentence of that response I was like “What an a-hole!” but then I read the rest and it’s perfectly sound advice and I wholeheartedly agree.

          • mythago says:

            No, that sounds pretty douchey. Restaurant cooking isn’t home cooking, and it’s not as if Chef Asshole is going to hand out recipe cards so you can make the same thing at home.

            • RvLeshrac says:

              Most chefs are willing to share some, though not all, recipes. Obviously, they aren’t going to give you their grandmother’s secret cake recipe.

              If a chef is unwilling to share *ANY* recipes, I guarantee most of their food is in tins or packets.

            • MeOhMy says:

              If you’re at all serious about being a better home cook you don’t need recipe cards. You can see, smell and taste what’s right on the plate in front you and what’s written in the menu and pretty much figure it out from there. Restaurants will usually tell you ingredients even if they don’t hand out recipes. You don’t need recipes anyway, you need to figure out what combinations work together, what techniques work well, etc. It really is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your own cooking.

    • TheWillow says:

      exactly – yesterday I was on delivery.com and was thinking of a new place, and it had 4 reviews on how it took over an hour for delivery.

      one of my favorite restaurants someone had put a review that they would have liked it better if they included a fortune cookie.

      Guess where I ordered from?

    • RvLeshrac says:

      All I have to say is “Whaddaya mean there’s no ice? You mean I gotta drink this coffee hot?”

  6. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Doesn’t he know that if you become an advertiser with Yelp, all those bad reviews will disappear? Even if they’re valid!!!!

  7. Rudiger says:

    I like yelp and have written a few good and poor reviews. I think restaurant owners should have a better way of responding. They shouldn’t be forced to pay Yelp to be able to respond. The chef is still way off in his elitist comments though.

  8. benh999 says:

    Sounds like another greedy capitalist pig upset about his bottom line being impacted. Power to the people!

  9. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    This makes me want to eat there.

    • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

      Before I’m jumped on, I didn’t read the linked article and I had assumed this guy was a chef at Mizuna. Misread.

      • crazydave333 says:

        Unless Table 6 has taken a steep drop off in quality, then they are really good too. One of the best meals I’ve had in this town.

  10. SimplyStating says:

    Really why should he let a review from that site get him this angry? Does it happen often? And if so, then maybe there is some basis to it all.

    • Hoss says:

      He’s not the owner, so if his boss cares, he cares

      • SimplyStating says:

        But again, like I stated if you are getting multiple poor reviews, maybe just maybe you need to see if this is something YOU need to fix and not get all in a huff.

        • slappysquirrel says:

          Yeah, I’m not sure what motive people uninformed layabouts would have for writing false bad reviews of this guy’s restaurant. Well, until now.

  11. pop top says:

    I can understand his criticism that some people are overly harsh about little things or give a restaurant one star because they didn’t like their server or something; I’ve seen a lot of that on Urbanspoon. But I think for the most part if you’re actually reading the reviews, you can sort out the legitimate complaints and compliments from the rest. I like sites like Urbanspoon and Yelp because I’ve found a few restaurants I never would’ve known about if not for them, and they were excellent.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Restaurant owners have a totally different perspective than a customer, and clearly he doesn’t understand that. He thinks it should be reviewed based on his perspective, which makes no sense.

      Customers don’t care that particular day a server didn’t show up and their freezer broke, etc. They care about the experience.

    • coffeeculture says:

      I agree, I can usually wade through the stupid reviews the way I ignore banner ads on sites. The reviewer with no picture/no friends/2 reviews I’ll usually skip (good or bad) that’s pretty easy. I consider “critical mass” to be ~25-30 reviews before I even consider the star rating listed.

      It’s useful if you know how to use it IMO

  12. Groanan says:

    I stopped taking online reviews of places seriously since the advertising companies figured out how to post comments to their advantage.

    Chef should simmer down now.

  13. tinmanx says:

    I only eat “cheap” food, and I like it! Sushi and diners once in a while too. It’s just something about being broke after dinner that distracts me from my food.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      +1 the artsy plate isn’t worth more. Higher priced places are a rip off. I can go to a home town diner or get carry out to take home for that worthless atmosphere you are paying for.

      • minjche says:

        Some people enjoy/prefer that “worthless” atmosphere. To each his own.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        To each his own. We all have the freedom to spend our hard-earned money how we choose. You think there’s better value in take out and diners, and I prefer to splurge once in a while.

    • dr_drift says:

      That’s because you’re a jobless layabout.

  14. Geosama says:

    The Chef’s words are harsh but hey I agree with him to some point. When it comes to a “refined taste”, i guess he would know best right? (maybe). But then again at the same time, the customers are on the receiving end and should be satisfied. Ahh, such contradictions!

    • Alvis says:

      But he’s cooking for joe-off-the-street, not for the palate of other chefs.

    • Tim says:

      It’s the same contradiction between professional food reviewers and everyday diners. Professional reviewers know what professional reviewers should be looking for, while everyday diners know what everyday diners are looking for.

  15. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I use a variety of review sites, but I trust Chowhound and Open Table the most. I don’t like going through Yelp reviews mostly because there’s a lot more reviews, and it’s more of a hassle to find the quality reviews because I have to sort through all the stupid ones.

  16. jim says:

    what is this yelp thing and why does anybody care? seems like someone that should pay more attention to his food and customers instead of wasting time online

  17. Hoss says:

    I’ve never been to Denver. Does everyone have a New York attitude, or did this guy just get off the bus?

  18. EdWedig says:

    I went to art school, and one of things that was drilled into my head was that your work needs to stand up for itself. It you have to “explain” it to someone, then it still needs more work. I believe that food is the same way; either it’s good, and stands up for itself, or it doesn’t, and has to be “explained” that it’s good.

    Sorry to the chef, but if your restaurant and food is good, the good reviews will bury the bad ones. But, if you have to explain and educate the clientele on why the food is good, maybe there is a problem. Are you explaining, or covering up a flaw?

  19. milrtime83 says:

    Oddly enough, most of the reviews about his restaurant are positive with one negative one referencing the westword.com article.

  20. Geekybiker says:

    Chef is mad because clearly his food deserves a better rating than its getting. You know what? Not even 5 star food gets a 5 star rating is the staff has his attitude, or the food is overpriced.

  21. Heresy_Fnord says:

    I’m on the fence. On the one hand if the reviewer is giving an honest unbiased opinion (not fact) then that’s a good thing. On the other hand, I have read reviews of places and the reviewer gives negative remarks for obvious things that shouldn’t technically be negative. Like they don’t like the decor of a place known to have quirky decor. If you don’t like the way it looks inside DON’T GO. If the place is known to have food that is above your budget and you go and you give it a poor review over food cost, DON’T GO. You’re wasting everybody’s time.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Its not so much food cost as it value you know. I know that a french place is going to be more expensive than McDonalds, but that means my expectations are higher too.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Sometimes people make good assessments, and I’m fine with those. That $26 steak needs to be absolutely delicious and done to your liking, but I’m also less inclined to trust anyone who orders that $26 steak well done because I don’t think anyone who eats their steak well done knows what good steak tastes like. It’s about how you qualify your statements. If you never go out to eat and this is a special occasion, well there might be a good chance that everything will taste better because the day is special. I’m much more inclined to believe people who seem to have more experience dining out.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I hate when I read reviews and people complain about the price – the review stops being objective at that point.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      I just ignore those reviews as far as my “Do I want to eat there” calculation goes. But yeah, they are annoying.

    • ogremustcrush says:

      Sure don’t give a bad review over food cost. That’s like giving a new Toyota a bad review because it costs more than a old Yugo. However, feel free to give a bad review over poor value, ie that 2010 Toyota costs 4 times as much as an equivalent 2010 Honda.

  22. jtheletter says:

    “If he thought the Yelp reviews were harsh before, we have a hunch they might get a little nastier over the next couple days.”

    That statement right there sums up a large part of the problem with yelp reviews, they can be entirely retaliatory and NOT reflect the actual quality or service of a business. If Yelp reviews were actually the bastions of accuracy and impartiality that some would like to have you believe then the reviews for this guy’s restaurant should stay in the same range in the coming weeks after his comments, not get worse.

  23. BurtReynolds says:

    This is why I only take Yelp’s “opinion” when there is a large sample size and tend to ignore “Elite” reviewers.

    At least in my area, the Elite reviewers seem to have nothing better to do than go out to eat for most meals and then write about it. I don’t know if they are just trust fund hipsters, trophy wives, or what. Needless to say, their opinion about a place probably wouldn’t reflect mine. We are from different worlds.

    • FerretGirl says:

      I dunno. I don’t think that I go out that often. I’m an elite reviewer on yelp. I’ve lived in my area for a long time and I write reviews on lots of things, not just restaurants. Local businesses, thrift stores, parks. I’m also active in the forums there. I think I got elite because I’m there a lot and I give good reviews.

    • sweaterhogans says:

      Maybe this guy needs to stop making crappy food and he’ll get better reviews. The whole point of yelp is real reviews by real people. Not some 65 yr old food critic who thinks foie gras is the height of sophistication. When I follow food critic advice I almost always hate the restaurant. I have a much better chance of enjoying myself at a place that regular people also enjoy.

      I’m employed and I’m yelp elite. I rarely go out to eat, but I got elite status because my reviews were helpful (bot positive and negative). I’ve seen a lot of excellent hole-in-the wall restaurants have a huge increase in business because a few people reviewed them on yelp. I’ve also seen restaurants adjust their menus when they realized the masses hated them. How is this anything but good?

  24. Razor512 says:

    The most reliable reviews are customer reviews. Professional reviewers often give unrealistic reviews.

    If a professional reviewer comes in, you are going to make sure their meal is cooked just right, toy will make sure that you don’t skimp on the seasoning, and that you don’t make them wait too long or any other customer for that matter. (the workers basically shift into high gear and do better than normal)

    With customer reviews, you get a realistic review.

    I have worked in companies where they will receive a review unit, eg portable scanners for the warehouse workers, the review unit will look exactly like the one sold but the review unit usually has things like stronger plastic, no production blemishes such as dust or dirt getting stuck between the LCD and the backlight layer and many other little things, then when you order a cast of 20, if you grip the unit tightly, the plastic sinks in a little, some units have dust between the LCD and backlight layer.

    Also most professional reviers cant throughy test, for example many products that you see getting excellent reviews by professional groups will often have very low reviews on sites like amazon because the professional reviewer didn’t find out that the thin plastic diaphragm of the headphone breaks after a few months, or that the highly reviewed flash drive wears out after around 50GB of data has been written to it, or that the PC gamepad’s buttons wear out rather quickly compared to a gaming console gampad.

    Customer reviews are more reliable than professional ones as it allows you to see reliability, consistency and true quality.

    Most products sold are targeted at the consumers (of whom the jerk of a restaurant owner calls “bored, jobless layabouts with not many friends who are convinced that they’re going to have a bad time before they even step through the door of a joint.”

    If it is targeted at the consumers then who better to review it than the consumers.

    if you wanted to buy a new mp3 player, who would you trust more for a review, an Amish musician or or the thousands of early adopters of the mp3 player?

    • mistersmith says:

      “if a professional reviewer comes in, you are going to make sure their meal is cooked just right, toy will make sure that you don’t skimp on the seasoning, and that you don’t make them wait too long or any other customer for that matter. (the workers basically shift into high gear and do better than normal)”

      In the restaurant game, professional critics often go out of their way to remain anonymous when dining, so they get an actual “everyman” type of service.

    • BBBB says:

      A good professional reviewer never lets the restaurant (or manufacturer) know that it is being reviewed. Also, they sample more than once to reduce the chance of reviewing an exception. (some restaurant reviewers go three times before writing a review and some product reviewers will buy samples from multiple stores).

      One problem with online reviews is that many people don’t make a distinction between “poor” and “I don’t like that spice (or style)” [I don't like tomato sauce in Chinese sauces, I dislike dishes with too much vinegar or too much pepper. When I encounter these, I don't condemn the chief since it is a difference in taste.]

      • Cicadymn says:

        You could be like those terrible judges on Chopped who magically expect the contestants to know what they like and don’t like before the show starts.

        You know I think I’d like a contestant to spend 2 minutes asking the judges if there are any levels of spice/seasoning that they’re uncomfortable with. Knowing the judges they’d take it as brown nosing rather than trying to avoid a terrible pitfall when the contestants don’t magically know what the judges prefer.

        • MeOhMy says:

          LOL…I love it on chopped when that one judge rips somebody because he doesn’t like onions. ONIONS! Ridiculous.

      • RandomHookup says:

        I’ve always wondered how a professional restaurant reviewer can be anonymous after a while. Some markets are just too small and the best reviewers will come in more than once before writing a review.

  25. jitwad says:

    I understand the chefs feelings. The internet is full of drive-by reviews such as the ones he may unjustifiably be getting. I own a clinic and worry that some cranky individual, or even my competition, may maliciously post a review that I don’t find right away or hurts business.

  26. teke367 says:

    I have worked in enough restaurants to know many people don’t know what they are ordering. I don’t what this guys servers, but I’ve worked in Seafood restaurants where people would hollar that they were given snow crab legs instead of King crab legs. They were king crab legs, snow crabs aren’t nearly as big, don’t have that many spikes, or hair, and really don’t look that much like king crabs. It pretty much took us showing a picture on the internet to finally convince this woman. We get similar confusion with fish (Tilapia is not a pink steak-like fish). I am not saying these are the types of complaints he is getting, but many times we would get customers who don’t know the name of the dish they want, but are too stubborn to ask questions, or just want to try lobster, and realize they don’t like it. Not that they don’t like this particular dish, but Lobster in general. I imagine this gets pretty grating for the cooks/chefs.

    Of course, its still no excuse for the comment, that sure isn’t come to help anything.

  27. DriverB says:

    I was so surprised to scroll through my blog reader and see my cat looking back at me. Why, hello Fatty Jones! Glad Consumerist could use my photo.

    As for Yelp reviews – grain of salt, and move on.

  28. check this out says:

    A bit spicy chef, eh?

  29. JakeChance says:

    This guy does have a point. Sites like Yelp are an abomination (especially since they engage in extortion of businesses who have the misfortune of being placed in them). That’s not to say that some businesses are run crookedly. All this crowd sourcing is producing is a bunch of amateurish muck that doesn’t really help the layman out at all.

  30. kathygnome says:

    I use both yelp and tripadvisor and I find these sites extremely helpful, informative, and fair. Yes, there are trolls or people with unreasonable expectations. But since there are so many reviews, you can get an excellent sense of what to expect provided you use a bit of common sense–like looking at a reviewers other reviews to get a sense of their standards and tastes.

    At least you can’t say the guy has sour grapes though, the Yelp reviews of his restaurant are extremely positive.

  31. sopmodm14 says:

    ratings and rankings are subjective, as such, there’s great variation

    why should any chef give a spit about a few negative reviews ? as long as he and his staff give it their best for their current guests at the time, they’ll maintain a loyal fan base

  32. FerretGirl says:

    I think what everyone is missing here is that yelp reviews are OPINIONS. It’s not gospel or fact or anything, it’s just what someone thought.

    Likewise, people complaining about paid reviews. Isn’t there a piece on here on how to detect robo-reviews? Super positive reviews, reviewer with few other reviews, reviewer who doesn’t live in the area, reviewer who knows details a normal person wouldn’t know (like the sq footage of a hotel room). Do your research and take it with a grain of salt.

  33. FerretGirl says:

    ROFLOL. An avid Yelper I went and looked up the restaurant. It appears that we jobless layabouts are thrashing the page:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/table-6-denver

    But seriously, he has a 4 star rating with 86 reviews. WTF else could you want? 4 stars, that’s damn good.

  34. combs1945 says:

    Transparancy sucks

  35. JulesNoctambule says:

    With consumer-based reviews, I’ve noticed that there tends to be a marked difference between the review of someone irrationally nit-picking ridiculous details and the review of someone who had an actual bad experience or for whom certain aspects of the experience ruined the overall. Of course, there’s also the reverse — I’ll trust a vague super-positive review a lot less than one which acknowledges imperfections but still points out the good parts.

  36. baristabrawl says:

    I just imagine a cranky French guy with an entitlement complex who serves small portions of something I can’t discern. Related: I don’t care for fast food.

  37. majortom1981 says:

    yelp is known for posting of reviews for restaraunts that arent even open yet. I would call that unfair.

  38. crb042 says:

    If people have a right to critique his food, he has a right to critique peoples’ writing.

  39. sheriadoc says:

    I utilize Yelp quite a bit, but many reviews I simply ignore. Any reviewer with less than 10 reviews isn’t all that credible to me, especially if they don’t have a photo. If a reviewer only has one review posted, and it’s a negative one (or even a positive one), well, that’s an easy one to ignore. Perhaps they genuinely did have a bad experience, but there’s no way for me to know that. They could just be a disgruntled employee. If a reviewer has dozens (or hundreds) of reviews, and posts a negative one, then I tend to believe them.

    Of course, negative reviews have to be explicit about what went wrong. I’ve seen negative reviews that simply say, “The worst experience of my life!” or “Don’t go here!” Well, that doesn’t help me at all.

  40. framitz says:

    Well at least we know what restaurant to avoid in Denver.

  41. Chaosium says:

    Sure, there are assholes on Yelp. HOWEVER there are plenty of people who just really enjoy food, and if every review is negative and he’s rudely insulting them all, I wonder how accurate their overwhelmingly negative opinions are :)