Editor’s Note: Each week in “Apparently This Matters,” CNN’s Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the interwebs.
New ReviewerCard says "I review restaurants," which you can flash to restaurant staff
ReviewerCard founder: "It's not a threat. It's a way to get the service you deserve"
Bellini: ReviewerCard owner found clever way to get stupid people to give him money
I have absolutely no business reviewing restaurants. Consider the facts: I like Ramen noodles. I burn my meat. And I’m pretty sure a Klondike Bar is the pinnacle of modern cuisine.
I’ve also heard good things about Applebee’s.
But when it comes to restaurant feedback, someone like me can just go online and write literally anything. And people might actually read it.
“Let’s avoid that new Italian place, Diane. It says here the meatballs are made from baby seals.”
Nevertheless, amateur reviews on sites like Yelp do play an important role in the restaurant industry, and there are plenty of well-intentioned people who actually provide decent feedback.
“The meatballs are amazing! Definitely not made from baby seals.”
Still, just being a prolific amateur reviewer doesn’t qualify someone for special treatment when he or she goes out to eat.
Or does it?
Because now there’s something called the ReviewerCard. Essentially, it’s a plastic membership ID that looks like a high-end AmEx. In the middle it states: I WRITE REVIEWS.
The idea is that you flash it before a meal – thus, informing the staff of your keen ability to use the Internet – at which point the manager will suddenly break into a cold sweat and start nervously heaping you with extraordinary service.
“Well, hello! I see you write reviews. Allow me to seat you in our special ‘Gonorrhea-Free’ section.”
The card actually started trending this week after several online publications picked up on the company’s lofty idea of passive-aggressive extortion, and most took it to task. However, Brad Newman, founder of ReviewerCard, told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s not a threat. It’s a way to get the service you deserve.”
As for the rest of you proletariat filth, enjoy your chicken fingers in Clap Town!
Of course, deserving good service means the ReviewerCard isn’t for everyone, and the website explicitly states that they screen applicants for past online activity: “If you are a casual reviewer and only post once in a while, this card is not appropriate for you.”
Unless, you happen to have a hundred bucks. In which case, I’m guessing they’ll quietly overlook the fact that your one and only entry on Yelp was about Taco Bell, and you described it as “Epic.”
Which it is.
The point: ReviewerCard isn’t free. In fact, it’s downright pricey. And that’s why you have to laugh.
Bottom line, Brad Newman is an opportunist who seems to have found a mildly clever way to get stupid people to give him money. Which is completely fair. If you really want to shell out a hundred dollars for a smug piece of plastic that will likely get you dirty looks and a fresh bowl of snot soup long before a complimentary slice of pecan pie, I say go for it. Operators are standing by.
Well, Brad is, anyway.
Not everyone has been quite as forgiving of this whole ridiculous concept. The ReviewerCard definitely is taking some heat.
But much of what’s been said online about Newman’s idea seems like nothing more than feigned outrage. Because, let’s face it, people love to be offended, and nobody with a shred of intelligence actually thinks this is serious.
Fortunately, I might just have that shred of intelligence. But only a small shred. And I mostly use it for remembering my own name.
So, I’m fine with the ReviewerCard. There’s plenty of other things in the world to worry about. Besides, Newman has only sold a little more than 100 ReviewerCards – likely to the same 100 people who, at this very moment, are constructing another strongly-worded online review from their mom’s basement.
“Worst. Meatballs. Ever.”