Hissy Fit - June 2019

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


June 2019 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

Stop. drop and be reasonable. Before you leave that scathing review about how your server didn’t bring your ketchup timely, or rush to get your child their fourth Coke, please employee reason before you tear down and damage someone’s hard-earned business with intolerance and unreasonable expectations.

I am not a reviewer. Why? Probably because I have no desire to be the authority on everything, but more importantly, I am a business owner, and I understand and respect the incredible amount of dedication and hard work that goes into making a company run.

Have you ever been a business owner? If not, allow me to clue you in: It’s hard! Most business owners I know work hard day after day because they believe in their business, need to support their family and employees, want to satisfy their customers and achieve the American dream. Then, when day is done, many take the emotional stress and worry home with them, as well. Business owners don’t get to leave it all behind because they are the ones behind it all.

You may be thinking, just because they work hard doesn’t give them a pass to have bad service. Well, I agree. But does it mean they deserve a poor review that will last f-o-r-e-v-e-r on the internet? What if every co-worker, customer, and boss you’ve ever dealt with had the opportunity to review you—even on your worst days—and that review was posted in perpetuity? Scary thought, uh? You may be a fabulous employee, an expert at your job and an all-around awesome person, but you’re human, too, and subject to mistakes and mishaps. This is another reason I’m not a reviewer;

I don’t want to live in a finger-pointing, fishbowl society. I don’t want it done to me, and I don’t want to do it to others.  Basically, a new version of the Golden Rule is in order: Review others the way you would have them review you.

But what if the service is really bad? I get it; I have left restaurants and stores upset, feeling slighted and disenchanted just like everyone else. But do I need to destroy a business because of my experience? You may think your voice is just one person and other people may give them good reviews, and it will all work out. Maybe. Maybe not.

If someone tells you your hair is gorgeous, you have a beautiful smile, you’re smart as a whip and you have a big butt, what are you going to remember? You are going to flush the first three compliments and call your friends and tell them so-in-so said you have a big butt. Don’t you think bad reviews are the same way? I wonder how many good reviews it takes to rebuke one bad one?

There are too many factors to consider to be the judge and jury to sentence a business to death based on one experience. If you don’t believe in capital punishment, then perhaps you should not support capitalism punishment, either! Your one hour, at one table, with one employee of an entire organization does not give you enough information to be prudent in your opinion. And that’s exactly what reviews are—opinions, which are always one-sided.

Example: A lady poorly reviewed a restaurant stating rude management made her leave her table and a server wouldn't take her order. The rest of the story: Uh-oh! She failed to mention there was an hour wait and she snuck in ahead of those who had been waiting their turn and grabbed an open table. When the hostess informed her of the wait and offered to put her on the waiting list, the woman refused. Once the manager got involved, the woman finally relinquished the table to wait her turn. Of course, the manager offered her a free appetizer at the bar while she waited, but she was pissed because her rude behavior had been called out. As such, the restaurant needed to be punished with a poor review.

There are always two sides to e-v-e-r-y story! I’m not saying the business is always right; they’re not. However, review writers have a responsibility to tell the whole story or not at all. On the flip side, review readers need to take reviews—both good and bad—with a grain of salt. There is no way of knowing if the reviewer’s standards match yours. Plus, people can review any establishment at any time, even if they’ve never stepped foot into the place. There are no rules, regs, boundaries, or even etiquette on writing reviews. The review game is powerful, and it’s open season all year long.

That’s why we all need to
Stop. Drop. Be Reasonable.

STOP. First, plan on enjoying your experience. Don’t go in looking for the bad, as you always find what you seek. If something goes wrong, give yourself time to think about your experience. Think of the positives, as well as the negatives. Don’t write a review while angry. Allow your expectations to match the establishment; if you’re eating $5 tacos, don't expect a white tablecloth experience. Consider your mood; how did your actions play into your experience? Also, if someone in the establishment solved your problem, don’t hang onto it and write about it in a review. If you plan on writing a bad review whether an issue is solved or not, then don’t bother to seek out a solution.

DROP. Next: Drop your cellphone…into your purse. Better yet, leave it in the car. This way you can not be trigger happy on the reviews. You automatically have to give yourself time to ponder a situation. We are all crazy to allow our cellphones to be a guest at the table, anyway. Why pay hard-earned money for a dining experience only to ignore the people you have chosen to go out with?

BE REASONABLE: Please just allow humanity to reign. Are you an expert on what you’re reviewing? Do you want society to become this micromanaged and petty? Would you rather be happy or right? Are you aware that if one person in a party elevates a problem, it dampens the entire experience for all involved?

In other words, you ruin the night. I’m not asking you to stop reviewing, if that is your thing, I’m just asking you to use caution. Your words may satisfy you temporarily but leave a red tide of collateral damage in your wake for years to come.

So, let’s review. Better yet, let’s not.