Mixed feelings is about how I'd sum up writing online reviews for businesses-- Yelp, Angie's List, restaurants/travel site and the likes. I rely on these reviews to help me make purchasing decisions so I figure I should put my two cents in when I use a recommended company.... and I'm happy to do it when I have something nice to say. But when I don't, well, I feel bad.
Maybe it's because my mom drummed into me as a child "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Or maybe it's because I tend to be a people pleaser and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
Case in point, today I dropped off a rental car at Enterprise that I'd driven for the past six days. My car was in the body shop-- thanks to a valet parking attendant who was driving at a high rate of speed, backwards-- the wrong way, and crashed into my car. (No one was hurt. Phew.)
Despite having successfully rented countless times over the years with Enterprise, I was issued the nastiest, smelliest, dirtiest car ever. And the gas tank was empty. Not a good start. But the real problem was that about 3 miles from the rental office I realized the car smelled like a big, wet, dirty dog, and the inside windshield and steering wheel looked like the dog had slobbered all over them.
Here's the thing-- This particular Enterprise office didn't see a problem with the car's condition, nor did they offer to fix it. To me that equals a poor review on Yelp and after clicking the "post review" button with my unpleasant experience, I felt bad fearing I could get someone fired if the corporate office read it.
Or, on our recent trip to New York City-- We were upgraded to a big, gorgeous suite in our favorite hotel. It was lovely and a real treat since NYC hotel rooms are usually the size of a closet.
Problem was, upon our return home, the website I booked the room with sent me an email asking for my feedback and any photos of the room we might have taken.
This is the only photo of the room we took... because it cracked us up.
I sang the praises of the hotel and their generous upgrade and made a joke about the view making sure review readers knew I had the option for the upgrade or a standard room that overlooked the street (which wasn't much of a view at all). But still, I felt bad, as if I was looking a gift horse in the mouth. (Do people still say that expression or am I just old?)
How about the handy man I'd recently hired off Angie's List-- He was a disaster from the moment he arrived in our house. That review was as polite as possible but not one that recommended him again. With that review I felt bad and a little afraid since he knows where I live. Should I have not written a review?
Make no mistake, I'm very generous with praise too-- My house painters were found off a website and my review highly recommended them. The local coffee shop with biscuits to die for got a rave review too, so did the nice waitress at our favorite deli, and the great fabric shop by my house.
But it's the not so great reviews that keep me awake at night. I just plain feel bad even though I don't believe I got the service or product I paid for.
So my question for you is-- To review or not to review? What do you think? Are the reviews worth the effort? Do you read or rely on online reviews? I'd love to know.
And on a sad note...My dear blog friend, Eddie Bluelights of Clouds and Silvery Linings recently lost his wife to cancer. You may recall Eddie interviewed me for "The Sunday Roast" as while back. He's been scarce around Blogland for the past several months while taking care of his wife. It would be lovely if you would please stop by and send some cheer his way. CLICK HERE.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
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