Yelp Reviewers – They May be Weird But Andrew Shotland Appreciates their Humor

By now most everyone has heard about the Union Street Guest House, recently outed for threatening a $500 fine if anyone in your wedding party left a bad review.

The pile on has started. As of yesterday there were 161 reviews on their page there and most (146) were in response to the news article that was published yesterday. As the news hit social media the reviews came hot and heavy and there are now 872 reviews. The wait is on to see how long and how many of these reviews survive the various filters and manual removals that are likely to come.

Obviously trying to muzzle customers post sale is not a great strategy and unlike the battle at Big Earl’s is unlikely to find any support on the other side of the argument (just to show what a weird society we live in.. it should be the other way around).

That being said before the reviews were removed from Yelp I wanted to bring some of the more colorful ones to your attention:

Adolf H.
Hudson, NY
0 friends
1 review

5.0 star rating 8/5/2014
Mein stay here vas actually very nice. I kame here vis a open mind it vas actually really quite nice. Ze owners ver lovely. I love to meet people who sink ze same as I do. Zey agreed with me on all my ideas! Overall it vas a nice stay and I loved ze decorations; ze red and black vurked so well, I sink I might use it for a project I have planned!

I just vish I’d not brought mein Gestapo buddies. Zey were up all night partying and marching vis ze owners all night! It vas a crazy time, ja!

Noj S.
La Mesa, CA
0 friends
1 review

1.0 star rating 8/5/2014
I reserved my suite online. When I arrived around 9pm, I was informed that the two room suite I had prepaid for was no longer available because they had assumed I wasn’t coming, and they were going to place me in a “deluxe” room with one queen bed. With my family of 7, I asked about either a second room or a refund so I could stay elsewhere. They refused stating that because I had paid Expedia, that any refund would have to be between me and them. Also, they didn’t have any other rooms available.

Not having much choice, I decided to just stay the night and try to talk some sense into the day manager. On the check-in form, I had to initial that they would charge an additional $500 if I gave them a negative review. I shrugged since I don’t usually review places anyways.

The staff was nice enough to provide extra blankets and pillows so that the kids could “camp” out on the floor. Hell, it’s a fun experience, right?
My daughter (3) woke up around 1am complaining of itching. We told her to go back to bed. Little did we know that she was getting bit by insects which we now know to be bedbugs. BEDBUGS? Seriously? Is this 1800s London?

I took plenty of photos and moved my family out the next morning. Thankfully with my receipt and photos, Citi allowed me to charge back my stay to Expedia, which charged it back to Unioin Street Guest House.
And, since my experience really happened, BRING IT ON! FIRST AMENDMENT BITCHES!

Joe D.
Bayside, NY
0 friends
25 reviews

2.0 star rating 8/5/2014
I got married here in 2013 but I didn’t read the fine print carefully. Apparently the Hotel Manager had the right of “Prima Nocta” and was legally allowed to sleep with the bride on the first night. Needless to say this lead to serious issues with the marriage. I’m fairly sure he impregnated my wife- the DNA test says the baby isn’t mine.

On the other hand they did leave a chocolate on the pillow, so it wasn’t all bad- they deserve an extra star for that.

Mal V.
Malvern, PA
2 friends
18 reviews

5.0 star rating 8/5/2014
PLEASE NOTE! You must rate Union Street Guest House SIX stars in order to avoid the $500 fine. How is that possible Yelp’s rating only goes up to 5 stars, you ask?

Tough titty said the kitty. Now pay up.

And a few more for good luck:

Christopher K.

My girlfriend and I stayed here over the weekend. They limited us to one poop per day or we were to be charged an “Excess Waste Fee” of $200. Had to put a cork in my ass just to save ourselves a couple Benjamins. Never, ever, again.

Francesco C.

Everything about this hotel was great. Although, I forgot to give the bellhop a tip so they charged me $200. The staff was nice and polite and its a wonderful area.. but they did charge me $150 for wearing my sandals with socks, which I COMPLETELY understand. I was rushing and figured it wasn’t a big deal. Come to think of it I was charged for a lot of extras—Ordering movies from my room. $15—Food service. $25—Being left handed. $300—Speaking when not spoken to. $450—Having a sensible chuckle. $150 and because I have a long name they charged me an extra $600 ‘cause it took them longer to input my name into the computer. Above all great hotel/service!

Dennis R.

I drove by the place once and they charged me $500 for not stopping. The next time, I stopped, and they charged me $1000 for breathing their air!

Tiffany L.

It’s all in the details! Instead of boring old toilet paper we were supplied a generous stack of organic maple leaves for number one and kiln dried pine cones for scrubbing away skid marks. Never cleaner than when you’re bloody raw. Anyone who can’t appreciate this genuine rustic experience is lucky they’re only fined $500. If it was my hotel I’d charge at least a grand.

Andrea K.

Really charging people for writing bad reviews…. Thats terrible.
I stayed here whatever… Nothing great to say about it. Saw lots of “wedding type” guests.
After reading that they charge $500 for a bad review, thats crazy. The BBB will be after them soon.
Thank God I stayed here with a man I was dating and now dont like. Haha charge his cc all you want, idiots.

And my personal fav:

Joe C.

Went to sleep here with two testicles. Woke up. They gone. This place sucks.

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9 thoughts on “Yelp Reviewers – They May be Weird But Andrew Shotland Appreciates their Humor”

  1. Mike,

    I’ve noticed a few other things:

    1. Google has some kind of a “unusual activity” algorithm, since their ranking remained the same with 200+ negative reviews, which are now filtered.
    2. Yelp was the most popular review site followed by Facebook.
    3. Tripadvisor was entirely avoided.
    4. Foursquare had minimal activity.
    5. Out of them all, Facebook is the only one still showing “unrelated” reviews – 800 negative reviews.

    Additional analysis with screenshots –

  2. So I actually found this article on imgur, googled a portion of the text in the review: “It vas a crazy time, ja!” (because the post didn’t show the hotel name and I was curious), and Blumenthal’s was the #1 result… Kudos to you!

    Anyway, the explanation provided by the Washington Post article was that basically the hotel is old, and that “If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here.” A lot of marketing and sales is setting the right expectations. In that regard, I have no problem with the information and statement. I actually appreciate the honesty and would keep that in mind as a guest. The delivery of the message, was unfortunately terribly executed. Threatening customers is never a good tactic for pretty much anything. The article went on to say that it was basically a joke. This joke will undoubtedly cost them tens of thousands of revenue.

  3. @doug
    One assumes that wedding parties have vetted the place well before inviting their guests. So while I understand that not all hotels are alike and some are funkier than others honesty is one thing, brutal self interest is another. They are now paying the price with their 15 minutes of infamy. I hope they get some good links out of the deal. 🙂

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