Yelp Almost Got Me Beaten Up

In the summer of 2011, I’m pretty sure that I made social media history. I got a marketing internship with Yelp, which must’ve made me the oldest Internet intern EVER at the age of 34. In a field with CEOs in their 20s, I think that intern positions are most often given to middle schoolers, or at least college students like some of my fellow interns.

As part of my internship, I got the snazzy I * NY shirt that you see at the right. The shirt’s just for Yelp employees, and we wore it when we worked at events. The asterisk-looking symbol is the Yelp Burst, a part of their logo. 

We were asked not to wear the shirt for day-to-day going out – it was essentially our uniform – since whatever shady behavior we engaged in would reflect on Yelp. That made sense, and I complied.

When we visited Florida last week, I brought the shirt with me. It’s been a year since my internship, and I gave up shady behavior for Lent and haven’t looked back. If anything, I was all about good behavior the day I trotted out in my Yelp schwag.

I went to Goodwill to donate some stuff that we were STILL storing at the Cool Grandparents’ place (three and half years into our move to NYC). While I was walking through the store, I heard someone yell, “Excuse me?!” I had no reason to believe I was being addressed, but I turned around anyway.

A woman walked up, pointed at my shirt, and asked, “What’s that mean?”

It took a second before I realized she was asking about the Yelp Burst. “Oh, this?” I said, pointing at the red and white star.

“Yeah.”

I should’ve gone back to the pitch I’d said a hundred times the summer before. Yelp is a website that connects real people with local businesses. Say you felt like sushi for dinner and wanted to know the best place in your area… However, I was caught off guard and failed to revert to marketing intern mode.

“Um, Yelp is a website in New York City that I worked for and this thing is, uh, like their logo, and it’s called a burst…”

She pursed her lips and explained, “OK…cause I thought you was dissing New York, and I’d have to come over here and hem you up!!” and walked away.

Being 5’6, getting ‘hemmed up’ is usually a good thing. It’s how all of my pants from Uniqlo fit so well. However, I think this hemming up would’ve involved a right hook and possible knee to the groin. She must have been from New York, or at the very least, an ardent watcher of Friends.

“I live in New York!” I called after her, just to cement my case. I thought about adding “IN THE BRONX!” to bust out my street cred, but she was gone.

Being the Oldest Social Media Intern Ever is a curious enough achievement. I’m glad I didn’t become the First Former Intern Martyred for His/Her Website.

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