Mind Candy

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Here Comes the Bride Salon bailed out by Yelp – and now Yelp looks like an ass too

Posted by mandyf on August 19, 2011

A recent column by Michelle Garcia at The Advocate relates the story of Yelp removing hundreds of reviews that poured in for the bridal shop Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, NJ, after the store refused to serve a lesbian customer. A fire quickly spread through Reddit.com where it appeared as though an army of mobilized and motivated members quickly descended on Yelp to provide unfavorable reviews. The end result was a bridal shop for bigots with a 1 star review and and a slew of promises to continue spreading the word that Here Comes the Bride was to be boycotted.

This Valentino isn't what she picked out, I just like it

In what is an odd twist of fate, this is the best thing that ever happened to Here Comes the Bride. The store was already extremely lowly rated aside from what appeared to be a pair of planted reviews. In general, the store was not as bustling as the competition only a few miles down the road  according to several locals who weighed in. By most accounts, Here Comes the Bride is not weathering the downturn in the economy all that well. It is a store that like many others is reportedly merely getting by. Why is any of this good?

For one thing, now a slew of same sex couples and their supporters know to never give Here Comes the Bride any business – not like they need money anyway because what is money when you have your principles? Also, they are likely to actually get some business from a smattering of closed minded fools that for one reason or another think that discrimination is a noble thing – especially when it is name of the invisible friend in the sky.

That is business this group of douches never would have gotten before. Looking through the Yelp reviews, some commented they were now interested in giving them some business specifically because they engaged in a discriminatory practice – never mind that it is still technically illegal. NJ that raises a question of where does the NJ DA come into play in this mess? Is this another case that will never be pursued because it is messy and inconvenient?

As for Yelp, they are getting publicity too, and it is mixed. Yelp maintains that the business review section is no place to air out such problems. Some have said that is the corrct decision while others have said that reviews of shoddy service should be left in place – after all, many dissatisfied former customers only posted reviews after becoming aware of this story. No matter what Yelp does, they lose some credibility after this in some regards. It is hard to believe they haven’t arbitrarily removed reviews in the past now or won’t in the future which is dangerous for a business based on impartiality.

Right or wrong, there are no real winners in any of this aside from people who now know where not to shop.

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