In the modern era of seemingly millions of contrasting opinions being shared online every minute, it is a valuable skill to be able to brush off the ones that are unlike our own. Regarding online reviews, opinions can be a pretty powerful force.

When online reviews, for anything, come to mind, you typically just think of the ones where the account or view expressed is that of someone who simply hates what they are reviewing. Generally – these are the most entertaining opinions, the ones that stick with us the most. They also can be the deal breaker for whether or not we make the final decision on going with something we were interested in – deleting the tab in your browser where you were about to purchase something, depending on the opinions of those reviews for.

Back in July, local Edmonton food reviewer Leduc Nguyen – who online can be found by the username of @ letseatyeg – received significant backlash for posting a food review that highlighted the shortcomings of a local restaurant, The Common, a gastro-lounge located on 109 Street.

Upon reading Nguyen’s review, the restaurant was unappreciative, to put it mildly. Staff and affiliates of The Common – including co-owner of the restaurant, Kyla Kazeil – quickly responded with derogatory comments.

“Stick to sick kids,” commented Katy Ingraham, owner of Cartago, another local restaurant in Edmonton – the comment referring to Nguyen’s employment at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Before deleting her remark, Kazeil also replied,

“Where do you work? I’d like to come there and give my unprofessional opinion.”

These were just two comments of the hundreds posted.

In those hundreds of comments, other reactions ranged from being either in agreement and loyally defending local Edmonton restaurants, or expressing their repulsion at the reaction of the business owners.

Kazeil later apologized for taking the review personally, claiming she “let [her] passion cloud her judgment.”

A local food review writer on Yelp, with over seven years of experience and 300 total reviews, when asked about the importance of being careful of what is said in the food review scene (as to not potentially hurt local businesses), responded. “Personally I’ve read bad reviews and still went to the restaurant to see for myself. If The Common thinks that one blogger will be able to substantially hurt their business, then they have bigger problems. The Internet isn’t going away so owners need to learn how to navigate negative publicity in a way that best showcases their company.”

George the Connoisseur also expressed that he believes “The Common shouldn’t be trying to discredit @letseatyeg. [They should] learn from the experience and continually improve the business.” Ultimately the capabilities of opinions in the form of reviews or even just a tweet are greater than expected and should typically be appreciated with an open mind.

– Ty Ferguson

Image by Ty Ferguson