ReviewerCard: Flash It, Get "Premium Service," Look Like a Jerk
The ReviewerCard belongs to folks who want to receive better and/or comped services.
Anyone can apply for membership, but everyone must go through a rigid background check first -- you know, to make sure you're not taking advantage or anything.
In August of last year, L.A.-area business entrepreneur Brad Newman launched the card. People who passed the background check paid the lifetime membership fee of $100 to receive their card. "I believe in the good of people," Newman says. "The ReviewerCard is a merit-based system made to protect consumers and remind businesses to give them the customer service they deserve." (We've yet to receive confirmation, but Yelp probably let out a sigh of relief that it is no longer the most-hated reviewing site.)
After a few months, the $100 fee was dropped, and now a simple notice of approval is needed to obtain a ReviewerCard. A news release cites Secret Shoppers as [unfairly] rating businesses before they're given a chance to provide quality service. Instead, a ReviewerCard holder shows a waiter or sales associate his or her card, and he or she theoretically receives the best treatment. Problem solved!
Except that, no.
Though the ideal membership candidate holds solely honor in his/her heart, most people are assholes. This card will provide more freebies to elitest online reviewers than actual quality service to customers.
Of course, Newman disagrees: "This card is not intended for freebies, but rather to ensure the experience goes seamlessly for everyone."
Well, yeah, everyone except those who don't have or want a jackass card to flaunt.
By contrast, it's not as though showing a ReviewerCard in a restaurant or hotel guarantees good service. And that, thankfully, is stipulated in the membership guidelines: "ReviewerCard does not guarantee anything for members, and the entire system is merit-based." Glad we cleared that up.
Despite the non-guarantee, businesses probably won't give a rat's ass about the plastic waste. This is partially because there is zero credibility behind it (except, of course, for the rigid [read: hahaha] background search for every applicant) but also because the service industry has yet to hear of it. Newman is working on a marketing plan to make businesses aware of it and amp up its merit when a customer/reviewer/all-knowing expert shows it.
Newman says, "Our goal is to be the most well-respected and ethical reviewers on the entire Internet... It's simply a way for reviewers to say, "Show us your best."
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.