Aberdeen cafe owner hits back at TripAdvisor review

Published 29th May 2015
Updated 12 th Sep 2023

There was a time when a negative review of a cafe, bar or restaurant would stand alone, shoulders back, chin raised, against a wind-whipped flag – proud, authoritative and unquestioned.

Those days, comrades, seem long gone now. A cafe owner in Aberdeen staged the latest in a long line of TripAdvisor revolts when he accused a complaining customer of being drunk and "feeling my backside".

The customer, writing under the pseudonym "injured2015", said Cafe 52 proprietor Steven Bothwell had displayed a bad attitude after attending to an injury sustained by one of the party – a cut to the leg after a glass was dropped by a waitress near their table.

They went on to write: "There were no antiseptic wipes available and a plaster requested was taken away from the table before it could be used."

They added, breathlessly: "At no time did the manager apologise for this incident nor did he offered [sic] any form of recompense at the end of the meal we suggested a gesture of good will but he was reluctant."

Mr Bothwell responded by saying he was expecting to receive the review, which he tartly branded a "creative piece of writing," and then put across his own account of the incident.

He wrote: "Your colleague was tended to immediately and a drum of antiseptic wipes (contents 200) were put on the table and several wipes (better safe than sorry!) were used to treat the wound.

"Thereafter a clean dry towel with crushed ice was put round the leg of the alleged victim (Just in case the leg swelled up to the size of Saturn, resulting in a lunar explosion).

"The alleged victim was offered a choice of plasters, however we were out of ‘Does this plaster match my outfit’ variety, so it was either skin coloured plasters or those bright blue ones. The skin tone plasters seemed to do the job."

Then, Mr Bothwell dropped the bumshell: "I revisited your table about 15 minutes before you were going to leave and the vino had made it’s bed in your head. At which point you started feeling my back side [sic]. And that is how it went."

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Ray Philp has been at the Scotsman since 2011. Since then, he has written widely about music in magazines such as Red Bull Music Academy Magazine and Resident Advisor, and was a former editor and regular contributor at The Skinny magazine.
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