Washington Post writer Ron Charles sure has some funny ideas about what constitutes a happy ending, which is especially strange, since his is the Post’s fiction editor. (Insert joke about the role of such an editor at the Post here.)
He tells the story of a Brooklyn writer named D. Foy, who was awaiting the publication of his first novel and also preparing to be married. He contacted a New York tailor shop, with the intention of having a custom suit made for the big day. The men’s shop wouldn’t accommodate his efforts to make an appointment, and in frustration, he left the following complaint on the consumer site, Yelp, quoting the shop’s promotional boasts:
“This is not ’24-7 white glove service.’ This is not ‘unparalleled service,’ nor anything close. Contract this ‘business’ at your own risk, ladies and gentlemen.”
This aroused the torpid tailor, who sent Foy a ominous e-mail: “I was just made aware of your Yelp review. We wanted to answer your questions but felt you were more interested in a fray. When your book comes out on Amazon, I will personally make sure our entire staff reviews in kind.”
Translation: “You dared to criticize our lousy service, and now we’re going to hurt you!”
Foy was incredulous, and wrote back,
“I wanted service, Daniel, and that’s all I requested, very, very politely besides. And you know it. So will anyone else who sees the correspondence I put on Yelp, word for word. But if you feel you need to throw your little tantrum now because you’re not able to take responsibility for your actions, go right ahead. There really is such a thing as karma.”
The Terrorizing Tailor responded,
“Yep. I eagerly look forward to your book coming out. Going to make sure it’s flooded with scathing reviews. . . . Deluge of awful reviews unless that post comes down. Going to make it a top priority.”
So what did Foy do? He deleted his negative Yelp review. (“The author’s life has very much changed,” Foy told Charles. True. Authors used to have some guts. I would inject the sound of a chicken clucking, but I don’t know how to spell it.) In talking to Charles for the feature article, Foy also insisted that the Post not to mention the business’s name in this story. The tailor then offered to make him a free shirt.
“This story has a better ending than most social-media brawls…” concludes Charles. “Let the wedding bells ring!”
Yeah, Ron, that was great:
- A frustrated consumer gets bad service, and places his complaint on a public service consumer site to warn others.
- The object of the criticism, rather than attempting to satisfy the customer and thus earn a favorable follow-up comment, announces a conspiracy to harm his critic in retribution, by having his employees lie in web reviews about the author’s upcoming book.
- The author caves, deletes his legitimate critique in response to the extortion, and, given a chance to expose the thug in a Post feature story, cravenly refuses to name names.
- Now other consumers risk experiencing similar poor service, because they have no warning about the tailor’s business practices.
- If they complain on Yelp, they too may face threats, lies and retribution by the store.
- Finally, Foy is made an assessory to this deception and shake-down exercise, by being offered the bribe of a free shirt in payment for keeping the secret of the men’s store—that the service stinks, and if you complain, you’ll be sorry-–from the public.
- And he STILL never got his suit made.
Ron Charles thinks the episode ended well!