THE AGE OF BAD REVIEWS AND ANGER POSTING

AMBER LOVE 03-FEB-2016 “Don’t read the comments!” – it’s a frequently espoused piece of advice and normally sage. I’m far from the first person to point out the rage culture we live in with easy web 2.0 access for users to write whatever they want about whoever they want. At what point, is there balance? How do you know if you’re reading feedback that’s constructive even if worded poorly, instead of someone’s rage reaction or worse, a fake review all together. For a long time I believed that one shouldn’t say anything at all unless one had something nice to say. Then I fell into the whirlwind of anger rage typing. And then being too afraid to hurt someone’s feelings so sugarcoating things I didn’t even like. Now, I hope, I’ve gotten to a place of responsible and fair balance.

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WHY AM I ASKING THIS NOW?

I know you have to take some reviews with a grain of salt. Not all reviews are written equally. By now, you might be thinking this is about a bad review on Amazon or Goodreads for my book. It isn’t. It’s more personal.

More personal than a book I spent over a year on makes this damn personal. It’s about the vet who treated my cat Caico last week and ultimately was the one to put her to sleep. She was a lovely vet who showed me and Caico exceptional kindness. She truly listened to what I had to say about things that Caico preferred – like if she was being fussy about eating, she would let you hand feed her and that used to work on an average day. I brought in a blanket from home and they kept it in her kennel. I was able to visit for hours every single day and they never made me feel rushed or in the way.

YELPING YOUR (OR YOUR PETS’) MEDICAL STAFF

I hadn’t thought to leave a Yelp review about having my cat put to sleep until yesterday. I keep looking at PetFinder and other adoption listings even though I’m not ready for another cat (the jerkcat still lives in the house anyway). I wanted to look up the reputation of a shelter in PA. In the PetFinder listing, I highlighted the name and address then right clicked to Google it thinking I’d get the map results first. They were there but one of the top hits was Yelp. I was curious and thought that was a good place to see if a shelter is ethical and caring.

That lead me to search on shelters I know about in my area, one of which went through a huge investigation and scandal a few years ago due to their mistreatment and overcrowding of the animals. I don’t know if they still have operations or were shut down completely. They lost their SPCA charter though.

YOU CAN YELP ABOUT PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING

I saw the coverage of how the lawyers involved in the compelling Netflix series, Making a Murderer, were getting bad reviews on Yelp. It’s pretty funny when it’s not you or someone you know. There’s a sense of vengeance. “This person is an awful human being and here’s why!…” I admit to being amused by satirically bad reviews on Amazon like the Bic For Her Pens reviews or the sneakers worn by Wendy Davis during her filibuster. Knowing how severely affected the women of gaming and comics are by online harassment, I’ve learned to try and use my negative words in feedback places like Yelp or Amazon, carefully and constructively so no one feels like they are being dogpiled but could still learn a thing or two.

MakingMurderer

Thank all that is holy that I did not go to Yelp before Caico was taken in for her issues! I’ve used this vet office since they opened back in the mid 1990s. They’ve been the providers for six of our family cats, I think. And while some people there aren’t the nicest, I thought they were competent at least (except for one old man they had as a vet for a very short time; no surprise he didn’t work out).

Amber's vet review
MY YELP REVIEW

Taking Caico in was a nightmare for me and for her. She was away from home, hooked up to tubes, and kept in a kennel. You know how that turned out. But the one thing that kept me from crumbling to the floor in their offices was that Dr. Lewis was incredible in how she handled me, not just my cat. So I was astonished to read a horrible story about the vet on Yelp.

Let me give some history here: a long time ago, my mother took a new family kitten to our former vet to get neutered. The person who administered the anesthesia gave the little guy too much (we don’t know if that’s a technician or a vet). He died and the way my mother was treated made the pain even worse. This was a vet office that was reputable in our area and highly recommended. The main vet, owner of the business, seemed to be more of a farm animal vet than household cats and dogs. He was also the vet all the local towns would use to have their free rabies clinic days. On the phone with the vet, my mother said, “What am I supposed to tell my kids?” His callousness haunts me to this day. He said, “Get them another cat.” You can see how I’ve become worrisome about who takes care of my pets whether it’s a vet or a sitter or a groomer. I’m paranoid now.

OTHER PEOPLE'S REVIEWS
OTHER PEOPLE’S REVIEWS

Back to Yelp and Dr. Lewis. Someone posted that Dr. Lewis gave her cat a lethal dosage of medicine and he died. Of the 11 reviews, most were one-star, but this one in particular called out one of the vets by name and it was the vet that treated my sick little girl. I felt terrible when I read the woman’s story. I also didn’t want to diminish her pain and sense of injustice either, but that horrible story and bad review are what made me write a good one (kind of mediocre overall) about Dr. Lewis. If I was rating only her and not the whole office over various visits, I would have given her five stars.

There are several more bad reviews about how animals were given the wrong medication or wrong doses by other doctors including the owners I’ve known forever. One after another, the bad reviews unveiled this side to the doctors and staff I have trusted with my animals for many years. I’m considering recommending to my parents that they switch the demoncat’s care to someone else since he’s young, healthy, and doesn’t need anything besides some annual shots. They weren’t nice to my mother when she took him in for a broken toe which he did to himself. It’s a shame because I’ve had some animals get loving care there.

sleeping ginger cat
HE’S LUCKY HE’S CUTE

BESIDES YELP AND AMAZON

On Twitter, I’ve had some satisfaction with getting attention from corporations like Comcast when their services suck ass; JCP&L worked well too. That doesn’t always happen, but when I was away from family and living alone in PA, that actually worked for me and Comcast tried to help. Other business tweets are annoying as hell because you aren’t trying to reach them, but they butt into your conversation with “hey we provide that service too, can you give us your money instead?” kind of tweets.

Do you leave feedback? What do you review? Is rage reviewing a business or person ever helpful?