For many of us, Tripadvisor is a useful tool that helps us make important decisions in life.
Whether it’s where to eat, visit or stay, there is always someone who has been there and documented their experience for the benefit of others.
You may have even left a handful of reviews yourself.
But for a small minority, this important public service is a way of life.
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One such person is ‘Barry H’, a Tripadvisor user from Stockport who has left over 6,000 reviews on the site.
His wonderful assessments of the often mundane have won fans on social media after Sean Cummings highlighted them on Twitter.
Going by the username ‘Bazonian’, Barry has rated everything from fast food restaurants to train stations, statues and even the Metrolink since joining Tripadvisor in May 2015.
However, his favorite subject to scrutinize seems to be McDonald’s, having left hundreds of reviews after visits to branches in Greater Manchester and the UK.
After dining at one in Bredbury in October, he posted a four-star review titled “Good for what it is.”
He added: “We ordered our food from the parking lot on our phone.
“Food came quickly. Had a double Big Mac. Tasty enough. Usual anemic chips.
“Decent latte. Good and friendly service.”
Meanwhile, in December, he posted about a McDonald’s location in Hazel Grove: “My wife and I went to this store for breakfast.
“We ordered online and waited for the food to be delivered to our car. We didn’t wait long.
“The food was hot and what we expected.
“A delicious double sausage and egg mcmuffin, hash brown and a nice latte. Served with friendly and efficient service.”
Other review titles include ‘Typical McDonald’s fayre’, ‘Average McDonald’s’, ‘Spotted’ and ‘Got what I needed’.
However, McDonald’s isn’t the only fast-food giant to have found itself under Barry’s critical gaze.
Reviewed a Stockport branch of Greggs ten times between July 2020 and November 2021.
After a visit in May last year he wrote: “Walked into this standard Greggs. One of two in Stockport.
“A decent latte needs a little more coffee. Standard Greggs fare. Pleasant, efficient service.”
In his Tripadvisor bio, Barry describes himself as a lover of theatre, the arts and food, as well as a “football and cricket fanatic”.
And his reviews certainly touch on a wide range of topics.
Rating Manchester Metrolink four stars, he said: “This is an expanding tram network in parts of Greater Manchester.
“It doesn’t go through all of Greater Manchester yet. It goes through the center of the city extensively.
“Fast and efficient. Where good service goes.”
Barry reserved special praise for the Dragon Miniature Railway at Marple, describing it as “very brilliant”.
Of the 26 Tripadvisor reviews of the railway, 13 were made by Barry.
He was less enamored with Birch’s services on the M62, which he described as an “average service station. Nothing special”.
A statue of Richard Cobden in Stockport did enough to earn Barry’s stamp of approval this month when he called it “an imposing statue” in a glowing five-star review.
While most of her reviews are positive, she’s not afraid to speak up about a disappointing experience.
After a visit to a McDonald’s branch in December 2017, he criticized their ‘garbage service’, adding: “I went to McDonald’s for breakfast before taking the train.
“Lots of staff standing aimlessly not doing much, waited long in line, number system not working.
“I had a Double Sausage and Egg McMuffin, pretty decent, good hash brown, loved the cookie crumb latte.
“Good food for the whole family. Garbage service.”
Cummings, from Chorlton, said he became a “huge fan” of Barry’s reviews after discovering them several years ago.
He added, “What I love most about Barry is his commitment to the underwhelming and the mundane, and he never stops checking it out online.
“No matter how many times he’s disappointed, calling his fries ‘anemic chips’ each time, he comes back steadily again and again, undeterred, for more disappointing food.
“Your attention to detail is also nice.
“He seems like a lovely man and I commend him for treating his family to seemingly non-stop meals. I’m a huge fan.”
The Manchester Evening News Tried to get in touch with Barry through Tripadvisor, but he hasn’t responded yet.
For now, the identity of this heroic one-man review machine remains a mystery.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.