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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Bring a Sweater, It Gets Chili": Bad Yelp Reviews of the Golden Gate Bridge

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Some trolls live under bridges. The rest live online and write about them.

A few weeks ago, a Mother Jones article about one-star reviews of the National Parks made the rounds on the internet. Speaking as someone who keeps Yelp at arm's length and whose goal is to get to every national park by age 40 — there are 59, and I've been to 38, with five-and-a-half years to go — I was quite tickled. And a little jealous. 

Then I saw that the Golden Gate Bridge, which doesn't need to be talked up by the likes of anybody and definitely doesn't need anybody to dismiss it with a casual swipe, has pages and pages of Yelp reviews. Most of them are strongly positive (because duh), but there are some conspicuous outliers. Yelp, a forum for humanity's basest impulses that functions as a comments section without a story at the top of it, is never Yelpier than when reviewing the most universally recognized elements of American culture.

While I couldn't find anyone who wrote, "Needless to say, I won't be going back," there are definitely some gems in here. Enjoy!

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"This bridge used to be so cool, before people discovered it." But not everybody is so topical.

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This is not really a review of the bridge, Qype User. You missed your target. 

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This is also not a review of the bridge, but a review of the weather. 

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"Painted like a whore." You know, International Orange bronzer and stuff.

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Sour Brits love to slag the bridge off. Too bad the "brilliant" bum that so amused this fellow couldn't garner a pity star for the poor bridge.

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Another unsatisfied British customer.

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Although these are highly rated reviews, they seemed so complementary that I had to include them. S.F.-hater Olga B is impressed, and Jenny U.'s crabby remark could not be better placed.

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Here we get to the heart of why Yelp is so exasperating: It's the forum for inarticulate people who can't put words to their jaded take on wonderful things, but who just have to share it with the world!

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Closely related to inarticulate un-impressed-ness is Vlad K. from suburban New Jersey, who just can't get over how impressed he is with being unimpressed.

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While this is a slightly sympathetic position, one can smell the Tea-Party-inflected, anti-government animus lurking just beneath the surface here. 

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It's outrageous that a spectacular marvel of human engineering would require continued funding to remain in operation. Sounds like somebody had a poopy Christmas.

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Again, outrage over the tolls ruins the entire experience. This one was recent enough that you know the weather was good, too, so L. B. is definitely a Grumpy Gus who just had to share it with the world.

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Let me Google that for you, Carlie R.!

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Again with the orange. 

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More kvetching about the color, plus more conservative angst about government's transportation monopoly.


Ouch, a pity star.

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Some haters love to spout erroneous remarks, like "only has 2 lanes." Also, if you think "was built during historic time w/ less resources" is funny, then "bring a sweater, it gets chili" is just awesome.

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This Angeleno believes the Bay Bridge is free, regards the Golden Gate (the longest in the world from its construction in 1937 until 1964, and still the 12th longest) is a wee lil' thing, and helpfully notes that it looks pretty from the beach. But if you think that extolling the San Rafael Bridge (which is pretty, no doubt) is a bit of obscurer-than-thou hipster chest-beating...

click to enlarge screen_shot_2015-09-21_at_10.58.09_am.png about the Millau Viaduct?

"I must inform you all that I have experienced the greatest bridge of all, one that you vulgarians have almost certainly never head of, therefore your stupid bridge is nothing to me. Nothing!"

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That other hipster weapon: the O-word.

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So this one's obviously just a wrench in Yelp's gears. But people do note that the bridge can be bad for your health.

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Will somebody please think of the children?!

If you notice that "Safety G." has only one other Yelp review to his or her name, you might think it was another concerned screed, maybe about the risk of Old Faithful melting someone's face off or something. But nope, it's a 5-star review of a Taco Bell in New Mexico.

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I mean, it's a bridge, what can you say about it? Plenty of sad things about suicide, I guess.

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Debbie Downer to the max, Terry Y. 

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Open letters are the best, especially with the closing P.S. (rendered as 'Pig," because Jeff K. fell victim to autocorrect) about how rich he is compared to the rest of us. We're sorry about the septic, and sorrier about the fume. 

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Well played, Rebecca P.

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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