The Fake ID – Trip Advisor, Yelp, life


Her real name was Annie Quillen. She worked as a dinner waitress in a very expensive restaurant on Nob Hill. Her restaurant-name was Monica. She was convinced Monica was a prettier, WASP-ier, more sophisticated  name than Annie. Translated, a Monica would get more tips that an Annie. She made big, huge, tips and brought home divine, gourmet, leftovers. The four of us, living in the flat near Japantown, packed on the pounds while Annie worked there.

dessert-615885__180Annie wrote Yelp reviews – every day. She was a foodie, an explorer and had  money to burn. Her nom de plume on Yelp was La Folie Girl. In no time, she was one of the most writing-est Yelpers and was elevated to status as an Elite member. She went to lots of parties -and complained it was mostly young, Asian girls.


One day, a cute guy she knew asked her to ghost write Yelp reviews. She would get $10.00 for every review. She created a new  Yelp ID. She was Rice Flower. She banged out 2-5 reviews every day. He gave her an envelope with cash every Sunday. She said she got bored and quit.


The restaurant sent her to Napa for a wine training. It lasted three intense days. Bored after work, and on a whim, Annie decided to branch out become a Trip Advisor. She became Laura Wingalls and wrote up every hotel, cafe, shop, bar, tavern she frequented. She did this for months. She was a “Bay Area Babe” a gaggle of Trip Advisor girls who knew the Bay Area intimately.


Then Annie got bored and tired. She was writing – for free for Yelp and Trip Advisor and all she got was a crummy key-chain.

One of the regulars at the restaurant was impressed with the style and decorum Monica displayed. They would chat causally. The executive said she had a great job coming up and asked her for her resume and writing samples. Within two weeks, Helene left the restaurant, went back to  her real-real name – nor Annie/Monica/ Laura Wingalls and has been at  the agency ever since.


Happily ever after.





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