A tipster forwards us a totally insane email sent to New York City's Elite Yelpers — the frequent reviewers Yelp invites to special, free events (all of whom, it should be noted, must be at least 21 years old). It seems a Yelp staffer witnessed "absolute, abject terror in the eyes of a waiter" at a recent event who was "traumatized by the rabid ferocity with which certain guests attacked his plate of hors d'oeuvres."
And this is not an uncommon occurrence: The Yelp staff has noticed "lately some of these events have degenerated into frenzied affairs" and that "occasionally some members of the Elite Squad at meals can be likened to an Animal Planet feeding frenzy."
And so now Yelp is laying down the law: if the misbehavior continues, the Elite members in question will be banned from future events. There are also a bunch of new rules concerning RSVP etiquette, as apparently Elites were auctioning off RSVPs to the highest bidder, or just simply showing up to events with a ton of extra people. So behave, or you're grounded. Here's the email:
Dear Elite Squad,
It pains me to have to write this letter, but after witnessing absolute, abject terror in the eyes of a waiter at Club A Steakhouse last night, I fear it is necessary. This poor man was absolutely traumatized by the rabid ferocity with which certain guests attacked his plate of hors d'oeuvres; no staff member at an Elite Event venue should be subjected to such treatment, and it is far from the first time.
As a member of The Yelp Elite Squad, you are often invited out to Elite Events all over NYC in order to sample some great food and drink, check out a venue you might not be aware of, and have a great time offline with the friends you've made online. Now, this letter does not apply to the vast majority of you, and for that (and its length) I apologize. However, lately some of these events have degenerated into frenzied affairs in which a small number of guests tend to detract from the overall Elite Event experience of the other attendees. Please believe that it has not, and will not go unnoticed, and you will simply not be allowed into future events if it continues. With that in mind...
In the interest of everyone's enjoyment, please do not camp out wherever food might be emerging, and fight tooth and nail to snatch multiple samples before the rest of the crowd is able to try even one. These events are not supposed to provide you with dinner; rather, they are designed so that each guest can taste what the restaurant is all about. Much to our chagrin, the staff at several events has commented on the fact that occasionally some members of the Elite Squad at meals can be likened to an Animal Planet feeding frenzy, as certain people descend on appetizers as though they have not eaten in weeks. (We know you've eaten lately, as in all likelihood, it was your stellar review of your last dining experience that finally got you into the Elite Squad.) If you are truly that hungry, please take our advice and eat something prior to the event.
Although this may sound amusing in hindsight, in practice it is rude, and honestly embarrassing for not only us as Community Managers, but also for the rest of the Elite Squad who act like the deserving connoisseurs of the NYC nightlife and dining scene that we know you all to be.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Self, the event last night (as well as some others in the past) was overcrowded, and THAT is why the food did not reach everyone." And although Club A Steakhouse brought out a delicious and bountiful spread of steak, salmon, rack of lamb, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, crabcakes and more, you would be partially right. The reality is that as our Elite Squad grows, most venues are unfortunately unable to accommodate everyone that would like to attend the events. We do our best to try and admit everyone we possibly can without overcrowding the venue, and we also try to give priority to Elites that have not attended recently and/or live in the general area. In order to help us do so, please try and adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Only RSVP if you truly believe you are able to attend. Please look at the location and date of the event, as well as your calendar.
2. Do not show up with a +1 unless one is asked for on the RSVP form, and you have indicated you will be bringing one.
3. Do not indicate you are bringing a +1 simply to reserve a spot in case you might. Please have a potential Elite, a friend or significant other in mind, because otherwise that is a spot that another Elite is unable to claim.
4. Do not auction off your RSVP and/or your +1 to the highest bidder. If you cannot make it, let us admit someone else that RSVP'd, rather than your first friend that speaks up.
5. Let us know as soon as possible, by replying to your confirmation e-mail, if something comes up and your situation changes. Please do not inform us two hours before the event starts that your entire extended family is in town and you will now be requiring a +4. Chances are we are already at the venue setting up, and we won't be aware of this until you show up at the door with Uncle Bob, Aunt Ginny, Grandma and Grandpa. And we would hate to have to turn Uncle Bob away, because his Christopher Walken impression makes us laugh.
Once again, we are sorry for the sheer length of this message, especially if you are one of the many, many Elites out there who has been unfailingly polite. Please understand that we simply want everyone at Elite Events to have a fantastic time, and we would appreciate your cooperation. Thank you.
Peter D and the NYC Yelp Team