Bad news, professional critics -- the Internet is replacing you with altruism. User review sites like Yelp.com have thrived simply because they never underestimated humanity's collective desire to complain out loud. Like heroes with entitlement as our superpower, we will find fault and nitpick free of charge for the greater good. Granted, we're still clumsy at it. We get distracted easily, abandoning our restaurant review to focus instead on that guy two tables over who laughed weird (one star, avoid at all costs!), or we lose track of our insightful critique of the local miniature golf course, fixating instead on that mentally handicapped kid in front of us who took forever and looked like he might be contagious (two stars, stay away until management puts up a sign or something).
Getty Sweet Christ. Just do it for her already!
But even though some of us fundamentally misunderstand how criticism works, sites like Yelp are still useful when they work properly. Unfortunately, the reviews are usually limited to businesses when there are whole unexplored quadrants of life where evaluations like these would be extraordinarily helpful. In that spirit, I want to request that we all start pitching in to make Yelp reviews for the places that need them the most.
#4. Your Girlfriend's Parents' House
Review By: Joey from Her Junior Year of College
My girlfriend and I stayed here over Thanksgiving weekend in 2003. We broke up before Christmas. It's pretty safe to say the visit did irreparable damage to our relationship. While I don't recommend going at all, particularly if you want to keep seeing Molly, certainly stay away during the peak season between November and January to avoid the extended family crowds. If you're forced to visit during that window, you'll be sucked into endless conversations with her partially deaf Aunt Claire about her signature method of attack when expressing her Pomeranian's anal gland. You'll also spend at least one entire afternoon helping Molly's father chop wood out back while he deliberately mispronounces your name to make it more effeminate.
"C'mon, let's hurry it up before my daughter grows out of her lesbian phase and dumps you."
Assuming her grandfather on her mother's side is still alive, he has a tiny ponytail. Not a big weird rat tail or anything, but it's still something you should be prepared for beforehand.
Now, there's a good chance her brother Cameron will still be living at home. You will be sharing a room with him. He is a secret PCP enthusiast and he keeps a secret gun in the third drawer of his dresser. He's going to show it to you, secretly. If you are not adequately impressed during this showcase, he will distrust you throughout your entire stay and he'll watch you sleep.
At least one night during the trip, you will have to listen through the wall to a fight between Molly's parents. They are separated but living together until Cameron graduates from the community college he secretly isn't attending. It's possible this fight will end in slammed doors or worse, rhythmic whimpering from both parties that the walls will, impossibly, amplify rather than mute. The noise will not distract Cameron from watching you.
All said, I highly suggest you avoid staying here. This isn't a weird territorial ex-boyfriend thing -- I'm really just looking out for you. Until it's under new management, stay away from Your Girlfriend's Parents' House. Oh, and the parking situation is terrible, too.
The dog was cool, but he's probably dead by now.
#3. That Office Where You Worked
Review By: Tina, Project Managing Assistant to the Deputy Director of Communications, 2008-2010
2 1/2 Stars
I'm giving this job two-and-a-half stars because it pays well, the work isn't too demanding and the kitchen has free yogurt. I'm leaving the other two-and-a-half stars blank, though, because on a daily basis, the office culture here will make you wonder how long bleeding to death would take if you locked yourself in the copy room and punched through the glass of the Xerox machine, wrists first.
It always makes me feel better to think about Gary from sales being the first to find my corpse.
There is an all-office meeting at 9:30 every morning where you will be obligated to participate in the company chant. If you are late or you are caught not chanting and just mouthing the words to the chant, hoping no one will notice, you will lose one Passion Point from the Motivation Station Leader Board. If more than three Passion Points are deducted over a week period, you will have to forfeit one of the Incentive Carrot Coins from your personal FUN FUNd.
To earn the token back, you can attend three Tension Tamers: Perspective Training & Hot Yoga sessions on Sunday mornings led by the head of HR/CFO of the company, or you can appeal to the Culture Committee, who will then meet to determine if you deserve to keep your Carrot Coin. As a warning, they will not hear your case within a month of Christmas, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween or any birthday, because they will be in full planning mode.
The coins, it turns out, mean nothing. They can't be exchanged or cashed in at any point. They are just shiny trinkets meant to distract people from the overwhelming depression of losing years of their lives to a Sisyphean job.
"I can't even remember what liking something feels like."
Surprisingly, if you happen to accuse any of the managers of pitting employees against one another in a competition of synthetic enthusiasm to keep them from realizing their own inconsolable sadness, you will not lose any Passion Post-its or Carrot Coins. You will only be fired.