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Chowhound & the mythical $8 nectarine

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On August 15, somebody posted on the SF board a second-hand story that Zuni Cafe was selling a single nectarine for $8.

By the time someone from the restaurant posted that they actually charge $4,50, the "$8 nectarine" story had been picked up by around 200 food blogs.

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  1. The power (or not) of the Internet?

    1. It was also reported in today's Chronicle, Leah Garchik's column in the datebook.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Euonymous

        So much for the theory that blogs don't fact check, but traditional news media does.

        1. re: Fig Newton

          if you read the article, it mentions the actual diners by name, which the post on CH did not, so I would guess that Garchik did verify what they actually paid with the diners directly (though of course, as Zuni notes in the original post, they may have been mischarged. or could be mistaken).

          But then again, Garchik is an entertainment columnist, not a food columnist...(it appears that the reason it made the column is that the diners were filmakers).

          http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/garc...

          1. re: Fig Newton

            Garchik's a gossip columnist. No tradition of fact-checking in gossip columns.

        2. Kind of shocking to see that this appeared in the SF Chronicle without any attempt to substantiate the $8 price tag. I mean, sure, it's Leah Garchik, but how irresponsible is that? I fall into the camp that still thinks there is a problem with a $4.50 nectarine (Robert feels differently), but still, some accuracy would go a long way here.

          1. it's the modern-day version of "telephone." by the time the story makes its way down to the end of the communication line, the 10-pound mackerel some guy caught on his fishing trip has morphed into a 100-pound shark that jumped onto the deck of the boat & almost bit his leg off.

            4 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Not really. People just copy and paste, so the same imaginary $8 nectarine showed up on hundreds of lazy bloggers' blogs.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                i guess i was assuming the "telephone" phenomenon was responsible for inflating the price from the actual $4.50 charge to the purported $8.00. either way, these bloggers need to start conducting their due diligence!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Bloggers have no obligation to do any due diligence. Blogs are nothing more than journals. I don't expect any more or less from a blog than I do from a journal entry of a 14 year old in her own personal diary.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    The original Chowhound post said $8.

              2. No, no, no... You all have it all wrong. It was an 8-pound nectarine that ate Zuni Cafe!

                1 Reply
                1. re: nosh

                  ha! good one!

                2. If I might ask, Robert--what's the source of your around 200 food blogs statistic?

                  *Imagining Robert personally visiting every food blog in the blogosphere and painstakingly tallying the mentions of $8 nectarines*

                  It's a fascinating statistic, really.

                  I've certainly made my share of mistakes (on the web and in life) so I'll try not to throw stones, but I am often surprised by people's reluctance to call a restaurant to check facts or ask a basic question. We recently had a food media personality (of the kind who presumably gets paid for his work) report in his blog that a local restaurant had "supposedly shuttered" its doors. Now, granted, he included the word "supposedly" to imply that he didn't know for sure that the place had gone under, but, I wonder why he didn't just pick up the phone and call the restaurant to find out whether or not they were really no longer in business? Similar to Leah Garchik, this person's blog is oriented towards gossip and entertainment (specifically food related, in his case) rather than serious criticism or reporting, but, still, why couldn't he have called the restaurant just to confirm? The restaurant in question, according to its website, is open 7 days a week until 11pm, opening at 11am on weekdays and 10am on weekends. He really couldn't find the time to call them? Perhaps he did and they didn't answer the phone? Maybe he has some kind of smoking gun that would indicate that their closure is imminent that he didn't share with us in his blog? I don't know, but when I called the restaurant and asked if they were still in business, the gentleman who answered the phone was pretty puzzled. His answer was along the lines of "We're very busy right now, are you coming in tonight?"

                  Since it's something he reported in his blog, rather than in hardcopy print, I can't even imagine it was a question of being under some kind of deadline pressure. Is there so much pressure to scoop internet food forums and blogs that even the professionals are playing fast and loose with the facts?

                  ~TDQ

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Try googling for Zuni Nectarine and count the hits.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Well, I'm not going to count the hits (too lazy, sorry), but I googled on Zuni Nectarine and this is what Google returned:

                      Results 1 - 10 of about 9,150 for Zuni Nectarine. (0.24 seconds)

                      That's a lot more hits than 200! Has it expanded exponentially since Robert's post about a day ago? Or is there a way to identify which ones are food blogs? Wow! What an amazing time we live in.

                      ~TDQ

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      A reporter following professional standards would pick up the phone and verify facts before repeating rumors. That's why this story didn't get into print much.

                      I got the >200 figure by Googling "$8 nectarine," then paging through the results to get a rough estimate of total blogs.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Robert said: "A reporter following professional standards would pick up the phone and verify facts before repeating rumors."

                        Perfectly said.

                        ~TDQ