In My Opinion

When a bad review is better than none

August 3, 2013 

I realized that I had completely stopped thinking for myself when I didn’t even consider trying a recipe until I’d read online reviews from other home cooks first. Uh-oh. The Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole didn’t appeal to “Berta H.” that much. Two stars. No way I’d try it now. A woman named Berta would never lie about these matters.

These days I don’t make a single consumer decision without looking for what others have to say first. My dream sofa (don’t mock me; you have your dreams, I have mine) got several lousy reviews from people who had actually bought it. In the showroom, I looked at its fat rolled arms and inviting slip-covered cushions and cursed online reviews that said shoddy construction made it a dud. I patted it. “We’re done,” I whispered. “It’s not me, it’s you.”

There’s something almost endearing when a big company lets people say a product is crap right there on its own website. I mean we’re not living in “The Waltons” and this ain’t Ike Godsey’s General Store. I’m amazed they let comments like “shoddy construction” go through. Amazed and grateful.

I read a lot of online book reviews by regular folks. The book that looked so interesting? “BookluvR in N.J.” gave it a thumbs-down. No way would I buy THAT now. Naturally, I check out the number of stars given by regular folks to my own books. One reviewer gave me half a star.

She was pretty mean, so I looked to see what else she had reviewed and it turned out to be some Hello Kitty candy and a tire patch kit. How could I possibly compete?

Naturally, I read movie reviews, too. I know that I shouldn’t watch “Sharknado,” because it only got two stars, but I’m going to break my own rule. Why? Because like every other right-thinking American, I’ve been wondering whatever happened to Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills 90210” and now I know. Besides, two stars in TV movies might be like dog years, really four stars. Yeah, I’m not missing it.

I’d never think of booking a hotel room without first running it through Trip Advisor or Expedia or Priceline or Orbitz. If “SarahwithanH” says the sheets are too thin or the air conditioner too noisy, I’m not staying there. I mean if I can’t believe this complete and total stranger, who can I believe?

And I love sites like Urban Spoon for restaurant guidance when I travel. Sure, some of these reviews may have been faked by businesses trying to pull one over, but I prefer to believe that everyone is basically telling the truth. When “Paula H.” who was dining on a “combination business and pleasure trip” said the chowder at a tourist spot provided a more effective cleanse than her recent colonoscopy, I chose to believe her and eat elsewhere.

Thinking for yourself is so overrated. I guess. What do you think?

celiarivenbark.com

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