Review #atozchallenge

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When I buy something from Amazon, especially a piece of electronic gadgetry, I always go through the reviews that were left on the product, paying close attention not to the 5-star reviews, but to the 1- and 2-star reviews to see what potential issues I could run into if I buy the item. There are always a bunch of 1-star issues from people who purchased the item thinking that it would do something that the description of the item made clear that it wouldn’t. For example, I was looking at the Bubba Keg, and it says quite clearly in the description that it’s not dishwasher-safe. Fully half of the 1-star reviews were written by people who put their Bubba Keg in the dishwasher. Another significant portion were written by people bitching about Amazon’s customer service. And there are always one or two people who clearly loved the product based on their review, who probably had no idea that the number of stars you give an item is directly proportional to the enjoyment you derived from it.

Likewise with the books, particularly those with a political slant. A significant percentage of the low ratings come from people who clearly never read the book and just wanted the opportunity to call the author an asshole.

When I was a trainer, at the end of every class we handed out review sheets, sometimes called “smile sheets” because the majority of them come back “oh, everything was great, instructor was fantastic, receptionist is the most beautiful creature God ever put on the face of the earth,” etc. Occasionally, you’d get a real clunker from someone who just plain old didn’t like you, your methods, or the answers they got to the questions they asked, which is fair enough. More often than not, reading what they say reveals what their real problem was. Like the guy who objected strongly to getting peanuts instead of cookies at afternoon break. Or the woman who didn’t want to be there but was told by her boss she had to be. Or they complain about always starting late after a break when it was they who were always coming back late (and you know that if you started on time, they’d complain about that). Or that we didn’t get through all the material because the instructor was responding to the complainer’s constant questions, which were meant as a form of a game called NIGYSOB (Now I Gotcha, You Son Of a Bitch), which is described in some detail in Eric Berne’s 1964 book Games People Play. (An excellent book, by the way.)

If you’ve bought or downloaded an app from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store, you’ve no doubt been asked for your opinion of it, usually after you’ve had it for a week or so, but sometimes before you’ve even had a chance to use it. A popup will ask you if you’d like to leave a review now or later. The better apps will ask you a month later if you chose “later.” The ones developed by needy individuals will nag you constantly for a review. I had one of those, and finally wrote a review giving the app three stars, indicating that I would have given it five if I wasn’t constantly being nagged to write a review. The developer wrote me a nasty email ending with something that sounded like “truck flu,” whereupon I uninstalled his app, which I probably should have done in the first place.

24 thoughts on “Review #atozchallenge

  1. When I look at book reviews before buying a book, I find the one-star reviews are more helpful. When I see one-stars like “too many big words!” or “the plot is slow, too many descriptions!”, then I know it will probably be a book I’ll like 😀

    The Multicolored Diary

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  2. Looking at 1 or 2 star reviews is a good idea. My coworker told me she does the same for similar reasons. I’d always base my purchase on the closer to 5 the better. Now I’m looking at things differently.

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  3. Great post, John! I am a fan of Amazon and I review most of the products I purchase. There is a separate review for delivery and packaging from the product itself. My reviews are short and to the point. I don’t give my life history in my reviews (some do) and I don’t give hateful reviews, but I am straight forward because the intent of a review is to help other buyers. I read the one-star reviews first and clearly, some reviews indicate the buyer didn’t read the instructions for the product.

    Back in the day, I also gave reviews for all my instructors when I was taking CE courses. Most instructors were excellent with very few exceptions. One instructor played his guitar when he wanted us to remember something specific that was on the test. Learning by association makes it easier for some and I think we all aced that class.

    I would have uninstalled the app too. I don’t like to be nagged into giving a review.

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  4. Dude now you listen to me no more Amazon for a while. I read that the Corona Virus has hit that place and there was like over over 30 people has got the virus & that’s all they know about. Now you need to take care of you & the Mrs. ya hear me??? Now where was I oh yes… OMG he wrote what to you… did you get his name & ID with the company? Give it to me I’ll send him a note back he’ll never forget. The nerve… truck flu indeed & we both know what he was trying to say or said it. hahaha Let me give him some truck flu. I cannot stomach people like that. grrrrrrr Makes me so mad I could spit! See if it was me I’d let him have it & then I’d let his piers have it too… wait is that peers? hmmmmm Oh well, you know what I mean. Hey buddy, have a great weekend & an even greater night. Man, can you believe this a to z is almost over? Wow, It sure went by fast. Goodnight my friend!

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  5. Review is a necessity for teachers to know if the class was clear, and if it covered all the previous issue or if it needs another class.
    Your post is so true, and fun 😉

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  6. I do the same thing about going to the lowest reviews. Some are helpful while some reviewers apparently don’t understand the point of giving product reviews. The most absurd ones are the ones where they had a problem receiving a product or something to that effect. Those should be reviews directed to Amazon and not to lower the ratings of a product.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  7. I really appreciate it when people leave reviews on the things they buy from my Etsy shop. So far they have all been good ones!

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  8. It’s funny because, after talking with my clients and helping them with their financial situation, I ask if they can give me a google review. I learned yesterday in our virtual meeting that, while some got 1, 2, one got 3, I got 6 reviews! I was really pleased to hear that and they were all good.

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    1. That is good, because typically people only leave reviews if they really like you or if they really hate you. You must have done right by them.

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  9. Great word. Of course, review is one that writers love and fear. I remember the anecdote of an author who got a one star review on her eBook, and after she went to read why was it about, she discovered that this random person was complaining about the Amazon settings/delivery service, etc. But as they found nowhere to put a complaint, they picked a random product to do it.
    I can’t remember now where I saw it, but I’ll search for this story, because it was worth a good laugh.
    And thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll search for it.

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    1. You can probably find the book at a used bookstore for under a dollar. It’s less than a hundred pages long, and if you don’t mind yellowed pages (I’m a fan of the vintage look) it’s a good read in transactional analysis.

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