A good reviewer doesn’t seek out special treatment

The Consumerist asks whether flashing a “reviewer” ID card in search of special treatment makes you savvy, or makes you a jerk.

Let me think for 1/1000000000000000 of a second. It makes you a jerk.I write a fair number of reviews. I don’t want preferential treatment. I want to review what’s likely to happen to you when you buy the same thing I bought.

When a vendor sent me a damaged monitor, then told me “tough luck” when I e-mailed them about it, I wrote about it. They changed their tune after I wrote about it, offering to do something much later. It was in fact, the same customer service agent who rubbed the tough luck in my face the first time. That’s not customer service, that’s damage control. I did the right thing and ignored them, and never did business with them again.

And when the transformer in my Lionel Polar Express train set died after a few minutes of use and Lionel sent me a replacement, no questions asked, I wrote about that too.

Pretty much any time I buy something, I try to relate my experience with it if I think I have anything remotely useful to say about it. It’s called being helpful.

And when I find something good that few people know about, I like to spread the word. Especially when it’s a small local business. And there’ve been a couple of times when someone went way, way above and beyond, and I told the person and/or the manager that I was going to write a review. But that’s the only time I drop the “I’m going to write a review” line. Because if they went out of their way for me, unprompted, odds are they’ll do that for someone else too, and that’s a good way to show my appreciation.

I don’t seek out special treatment. I don’t want special treatment. Because if I’m getting special treatment, then I’m not delivering an honest account of what’s likely to happen to you.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Anything I review on my site is something I’ve purchased, or that someone’s purchased for me, or that a client or employer purchased, and then I relayed my experience with it. No freebies, and no payola. I occasionally post affiliate links because those affiliate links help offset the cost of running this site, but if I post an affiliate link, I recommend the product. It’s simple and straightforward, the way I would want any other reviewer to behave.

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