Review Reader Beware

Reviews: we all read them. Some of us live for writing them, going over every pro and con in exhausting detail, completely convinced we’re doing our part for the greater good. As much as I love the super-reviewers, I’m more of a review if it’s really good or really bad type.

I’m not much of a stickler for reading reviews. I get myself sold on things and there’s no telling me no. However, I’m married to a “make-all-the-plans-do-all-the-research” sort of person. While planning our last trip we ended up reading a lot of reviews for, well, everything. I’ve come to realize that a lot of them are absolutely useless. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some that are legitimate reviews for an awful experience. If you end up in a hostel with dirty sheets and mice in the room, yeah. I want to know. Those aren’t what I’m talking about. You’ll constantly see things like “I stayed in a twelve-person hostel dorm and someone snored all night. One star.” Half of all adults snore.¬†What on earth do you expect in a twelve-person dorm? If you want a quiet, luxurious experience, you need to expect to pay more than $20 a night. That’s nothing compared to things that are just… looking to go to a beach resort? Be prepared to read thousands of reviews for things like, “too much sand.” What on earth can a resort do about sand on the beach?

While writing the first draft of this I was in Australia sitting in a 4WD that refused to start. The car had worked perfectly, until an hour before we had to have it in. We managed to get it working, but here’s the conflict: Is this worth giving a bad review to the company we got it from? I don’t think so. It was an old car, we were on a bumpy road. Everything else about both the car and the company was amazing- when we dropped the car off they even drove us back to our hostel.

I think reviews have gotten a bit out of hand. It’s like reviews are just an excuse to nit-pick everything wrong with something. What we really need in a review is to know whether or not you’d recommend the service. So, take reviews (even mine) with a grain of one of those big, gloriously expensive, super flaky salts.

And remember that beaches are supposed to have some damn sand on them.

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