My naivety is showing.
Ever since the advent of the full-throttle internet there’s been a temptation, before buying goods and services, to be smart about it by seeking out the myriad reviews, whether it be on Google, Facebook, Amazon, or the company’s actual website.
Such a minefield this is to navigate. It does not take long to realize the dichotomy of comments, ranging from gushing praise to outright disdain. On balance, you are no further ahead than if you had played your own game of eenie meenie miney moe.
Of course, you can choose to believe whatever you want, but you could have done that at the beginning, right?
Just this morning, I was looking up the website of a hospital at which I had an appointment, and was surprised to find a section of reviews thereon. Some saying it was the worst place they had ever visited, and others recommending it highly. I was only looking for their phone number.
I suppose you have to give the business in question the benefit of the doubt, and give them a nod on the positive side if they have the confidence to allow an uncensored forum on their product or service.
Then, there is what I like to call the Facebook Army. A couple of days ago, I joined a group that had bulletins about housing available in my surrounding area. I posted a well intentioned ad which stated simply that I was looking for something to rent for two seniors. I gave a price, and asked people to message me if they had anything. Instead, what I got was ridicule for being naïve enough to think I could find something at that price, and then an interesting series of about fifty comments from people arguing about the merits of renting, why the prices were so sky high, whether landlords were ripping people off, etc. etc. There were about two helpful comments in the whole blurb. Some of the people were downright and unnecessarily nasty to each other, and I just kind of backed out of the discussion, saying “maybe I’ll just buy instead”.
Lastly, there is the partisan company website that posts only glowing reviews. They could be actual testimonials, or they could be carefully crafted. The cynic in me tends to believe the latter.
In the end, one must rely on his own judgement, or try to get testimonials from a trusted friend. Every day, I am less inclined to even open up the comments section. With the anonymity that the internet brings, many of us are prone to publish things that we might never say in person.
By the way, if you want my opinion on a product or service, I’ll happy to help (not).
Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.