Friday, May 16, 2014

When Reviews Attack: Beating Meanies

I have been weighing the idea of writing about this for some time, and while it is kind of scary to open the gates of what could be a flood tide of mean commentary, here goes.

In typical insomniac fashion, I was Googling along at about 3am when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a review that made my stomach turn and my sphincter clench. (Sorry, I said "sphincter".)
We have been lucky or fortunate or maybe worked hard, I guess, to be on the receiving end of positive reviews and while I know it's impossible to please everyone all the time, this is the first I have ever actually seen that was, uh, bad. Certainly, no one wants to get a bad review about the small business that they work tirelessly to keep afloat. And surely, as the review is not visible to the public at this point, I would be stupid to bring it up.
It's a helpless feeling, reading a bad review. It was scathing. 
Here's the rub: it was not about the shop. Which is good. 
It was a personal attack directed at, written for and AND THAT MEANS I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT. Well, write about it.
According to this anonymous individual that specifically set up an account in order to trash someone in her very first review, welcome to:


Key points:
1. I suck because I am condescending. Pretty much the most condescending person she has ever encountered. Not only does she think so but everyone shopping in the store as well as the merchants on Main Street thinks so too. She checked.

2. I am a bitch. A "persnickety bitch" to be exact. I am not typing that word as "b*tch" for a specific reason, which you will later see.

3. Also, even though her daughter bought items at the shop on her visit there, she would not because I am awful.

That was the gist of the page long review. The gristly gist.

I thought about this for a long time. It's frustrating. You are powerless when you are attacked personally while under the umbrella of your business.  The struggle between what you, your very self, would say or do personally and what you can and should do as a business person is pretty difficult to deal with.

It's pretty safe to say, if personally attacked, I suffer no fools gladly. That can be read in a variety of ways and they are probably all some version of correct.  In business, when you are wrong in a situation, you must make it right. There was no situation to make right in this case. Just kind of a plain, straight, loathing of me as a person. In business, when you are hurt you cannot attack. Your brain works overtime to calm the hackles the heck down and you are left with nothing but your thoughts. 

Could she have seen my typical jokey manner as condescending? Sure. Is it possible that I was condescending? Sure. Anything is possible, and I am 100% human. Do my fellow Main Street merchants think so too? Sure.  I will make sure to continue to collect their mail and try to help lift them up via daily talks and texts and shared Facebook posts all the same. Nothing changes.

Could I be a bitch? Sure. Here is the thing about that. When you make a choice to call someone outside of their name, when a woman with a daughter calls a daughter that has a mother "bitch" as easy as typing some keys while under a cloak of anonymity, well to me that is about as callow a move as a woman can make. When I read that line, I thought of what my sweet and saint-like Mama P would have said. How heartbroken and angry she would be. And I also remembered that what Sally says about Susie (and how she chooses to say it) says more about Sally than it does about Susie. 

I am not even going there with the third part, because, well, that's ok. 

So, while I am not able to change this person's opinion of me I am able to tell you these steps to get over a personal attack review:

1. Punch many things. Nope, nope. Ok. Let's try again.
1b. Chew the gristle and digest it. Perception is reality so refer to 2.
2. Make it make you better, kinder.
3. Utilize it to learn from your shortcomings, and the person writing the review's shortcomings as well. 
3. Toughen up, buttercup. Don't sink.
4. Internally thank and think on the person that wrote it. You read that right. 
In the words of the great Beyonce:
I'm wishin' you the best
Pray that you are blessed
Bring much success, no stress, and lots of happiness
(I'm better than that)
5. Realize that opinions are just that, that your value does not need to be shouted from any rooftops to be real and that it does not diminish in the shadow of someone throwing shade.

The bad news is: you can't beat a meanie. And don't join 'em, because life is tooooooo short.
You just can't let 'em beat you. 

Now let's dance around to Beyonce and just get back to work.



  1. Your attitude is great. Your heart is sweet. Good job standing up again after someone tried so hard to knock you down.

  2. Success is the best revenge. Been there--done that. Carry on.

  3. Thank you so much for your comments. Means a lot coming from both of you!

  4. First and foremost, I am so sorry someone did this. You responded in the most positive way I can think of, and I commend you for it. I am bookmarking your post because I'm going to refer to it the next time I have to deal with an ever so nasty client at work (it's my head she aims at every.single.time). I'm now more determined than ever to come to your store when I get to Washington! :) I love your furniture and can't wait to see the store.

    1. Thank you Betty! That means the world to me that, if nothing else, this little blog post could hopefully make a bad day/client/review just a bit easier to swallow. It always sucks to deal with meanies, no lie. But knowing you can take their "power" away by honestly wishing them well and feeling for whatever the heck is going on with them just makes you feel far more powerful than you ever could imagine!