How to Criticise?

Sometimes beans on toast are better!

I like to write restaurant reviews online. I do it because those reviews help me find good places to eat. And I feel like I ought to contribute to the pool of knowledge. My problem is that I’m reluctant to criticise. I’m especially reluctant to criticise a small business. I know how tough it can be to get a small business up & running. I know too that it’s been really tough for many small restaurants to survive covid restrictions. But, to be honest, some of them don’t deserve the reviews I give them!

I know, I know, that is not very helpful to the other readers. But I just can’t help it. When I hint that the food was mediocre, the service average, or the cleanliness just slightly lacking, I then compensate by enthusing about how great & nice the people were. Even if they weren’t! I’ll then tick 3 of 5 stars, because I just couldn’t force myself to give them the 2 that would have been generous.

Is this wrong?

It’s been really challenging to write good restaurant reviews in whatever phase of the pandemic we’re in at the moment. I don’t know what’s going on, but places that I used to like are now awful. Did they fire the old chef? Are they using last year’s oil? Are they buying cheap ingredients? It’s been so challenging to write good reviews, that I’m not writing any recently.

We’re all used to something advertised as “home cooked” being absolutely nothing like Mom used to make. But we’ve only got one Mom, so that’s understandable. But when something is advertised as bring authentically Irish, British, or whatever ethnic flavour is core to the business, then it should vaguely resemble that. Sometimes, it doesn’t. And when the owners are from that country, I feel even more cheated. I know they know better. Or maybe their Moms (or Dads!) were hopeless in the kitchen!

So here’s my dilemma … how do I warn the other Irish people out there that the Irish breakfast at this particular restaurant is about as Irish as flambéd alligator ice-cream? That the other place is about as British as Timbuktu? But without beating up on some small business owner, who may be struggling to pay his kids tuition through school. Or she is trying to keep the place afloat because her partner is sick. I worry that my criticism will add to the burden of their backstory.

But if I don’t offer criticism, how can I help the small businesses owner who genuinely wants the feedback, so they can improve?

I’ve built a list of new restaurants that I want to visit. I’m hoping there will be some good ones that will free me to wax lyrically about how great they are. Fingers crossed! 🤞🏻

Despite all the very mediocre food I am being served, I’m still tucking it away. So, no, I’m not losing any weight either. Maybe those people are serving me this stuff because they see that I need the help! 😜

Anyone got any idea how to best provide feedback? Without being too hurtful!

Current of Kindness

Spread Some Love Today

A little busy at the moment (& my diet is going sooo well too … NOT!) but I just feel compelled to reach out to the void sometimes so here’s a quick scribble. Not at all related to weight loss.

I’ve just discovered that going down for a cup of coffee & a cigarette is not a cure for insomnia. Going down for a second round just means you’re up & at it early today.

Woohoo! 😭😜😁

Here are few things I’ve learned, or relearned, this week, mainly about myself, but see if you can relate …

If you want me to say nice things about you behind your back, then try being nicer to me when we’re face to face. Of course, if I’m just saying things behind your back, you’ll never know, so who cares, right? Next time I see you, I’ll tell you what I really think of you, right to your face. I really think a lot of you, however, so you’ll probably regret not being nicer to me. Sorry!

I’m sometimes inclined to feel sad about things & I’ll think of someone else’s even bigger misfortune by way of leveraging comparitive positivity. Then I’ll feel guilty for doing that & wind up feeling even worse. Today, I think I’ll punish myself by putting a coffee & a sandwich in a coffee shop till for someone who needs it. And then I can spend the rest of the day wondering if that’s just more of the same!?!

Civilisation is but a fragile veneer, easily scratched. It’s sometimes little more than a slender facade covering what lies beneath. Its polish, thankfully, is nothing more than kindness. It only takes a positive bias towards kindness to steer us towards being a little more civil, being a little nicer to each other. I think we probably all have the responsibility to spread a little niceness around every day. I really don’t feel up to it today, however, so I’m hoping you can take on my burden, for me, just for today. Thanks, I really appreciate it.

Good grief, I can hardly believe this but I think I am going to have another coffee!

Is it Friday yet?

Have a good day, all.

And yes, I really mean it!

PS … Sometimes I write drivel & I pause a while before posting. When I reread the above, it sounded like so much drivel that I went down for another coffee & cigarette. Outside, I met a young lad who came down from Canada’s far north for medical treatment. He has broken bones & one eye is black & blue, swollen to the size of a baseball. He is soft spoken, pleasant, & he just feels like a nice human being. He was minding his own business, walking along the street, when he was set upon by two guys with hockey sticks.

I’ve changed my mind & will take back my responsibility for spreading some good today. If enough of us drop kindness pebbles in the pond, maybe we can can create a little current of kindness that will help overcome some of our more terrible inclinations. If you do anything nice today, please let me know. I would like to be re-reminded to keep it up.