A Manitoba woman was hungry last week, and decided to eat at several Winnipeg restaurants after the province ended its official vaccine requirement on March 1.
She had hundreds of restaurants to choose from. But strangely, she chose only to “dine” at those that had been confirmed (or singled out online) as establishments that would still be checking the vaccination status of anyone who chooses to dine in.
Apparently, she was so hungry she “went to eat” several times in the span of a single day and felt the need to document her culinary excursion in the review section of each individual restaurant’s Facebook page.
“Absolutely horrible place!,” she wrote in a Facebook review of one St. James eatery on March 4 at noon. “Disgusting food and horrible staff and owners!”
Earlier in the day, she apparently stopped in at a Main Street lunch counter and coffee shop, where she was also angry with what she found. “Absolutely disgusting food!,” she wrote. “Fancy feast (sic) would be a step up! Horribly rude and ignorant staff and owners.”
About 15 minutes before that, she apparently stopped at a downtown Italian restaurant, where the staff weren’t only ignorant and rude, in her estimation, but treated “customers like absolute trash and completely prejudiced and openly discriminatory!” She marked the restaurant for disappointing food, not being child-friendly, having terrible delivery service, “poor presentation,” slow service and being noisy.
Not discouraged by the “discrimination,” she apparently stayed for dessert, which she deemed “bad.”
Later in the day, she “went” to a different restaurant nearby, and made the same complaints, advising customers to “pack a bologna sandwich for back up (sic) if you (are) very hungry because that will be the highlight of your dining experience.”
She also lamented the “terrible delivery service” of a restaurant that does not offer delivery service.
Not yet satiated, she “went” to a vegan restaurant and wrote that the owners and staff were “absolutely disgusting” and that the “food reflects that.” “Hot steamy garbage would taste better!”
It might have been the case that she was still tasting the freshly brewed coffee she “bought” from a brand-new Corydon Village café to begin her morning. “If you want to be treated like garbage and sip on steeped sewage then this is definitely the place you want to come to!”
One of the shop’s owners responded, “Thanks for the feedback! Hope your day is absolutely lovely!”
Apparently, according to this diner, the customer is always right, even when they have no idea what they’re talking about.
There is no shortage of choice in the world of dining right now: the provincial government, against the advice of many public health experts, has put that choice into the hands of individual establishments, and consequently, into the hands of individual consumers, who have always had a choice in the matter as well.
The angry reviewer didn’t suffer from a lack of options; if anything, she had the opposite. The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce recently surveyed 440 employers, 48 per cent of whom said they would stop asking for proof of vaccination. This reviewer could have “gone” almost anywhere, “eaten” anything, either inside or in takeout form, and merrily gone along. Instead, she made a different and bitterly ironic choice.
For someone seemingly very concerned with “the right to choose,” she was very keen to shout from her digital mountaintop that certain places were making the wrong choice. Not only that, for newer, fledgling, or struggling businesses who have already been through two years of turbulence, she decided to throw chum into the water and get other sharks circling. This reviewer wasn’t the only one engaging in this type of negative trolling; most of the restaurants had other angry reviews on their webpages, featuring similar refrains.
Jay Kilgour, the owner of two Fionn MacCool’s franchises in Winnipeg, told the Free Press in late February the decision not to continue requiring vaccination at his restaurants was a tough one. He also said his pubs had received “threatening” phone calls from those opposed to vaccine requirements, urging the business to “make the right decision” and allow unvaccinated customers to dine in.
“Everybody should be respectful, regardless of where they stand on it,” he said at the time.
More than four in five Manitobans have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination in an effort to end this pandemic while protecting themselves, their families, and their communities from infection. More than four in 10 have gotten three doses to boost their own immunity and further protect their community.
These are choices the reviewer has access to as well. She may have taken that proactive, scientifically informed choice and been vaccinated. She may not have.
Regardless, she can find a place to eat if she really is hungry.
“I’m just curious how people leaving bad reviews on Facebook… is news worthy and businesses choosing to continue with dangerously divisive and discriminatory behaviour gets bupcis (sic)?” she wrote to the Free Press when asked to comment on her reviews. “Complete crickets? You should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for continuing to throw fuel on these out of control flames in our 2 tier society our government has created! You can quote me on those words and only the ones in this message… otherwise please go find a cat stuck in a tree and write about that!”
As a customer, she is subject to the individual choices of businesses, just as every other customer in the province has been since the province lifted its vaccination mandate.
A review of the reviewer in question? She should actually try the food — when asked if she had actually visited the establishments she reviewed, she didn’t respond — and even if she doesn’t like the grub, she should be nicer to the people who make it, handle it, serve it and deliver it.
That choice is still on the menu.