The Holiday Was Not as Advertised
PROBLEM: I recently stayed in a start-up eco resort. The experience was … terrible. Difficult to book, facilities not as advertised, unhelpful staff, mediocre food. Our weekend was ruined when we thought it would be relaxing. I want to give the place a bad review on TripAdvisor, but the owner is a friend of a friend — and our mutual friend is begging me not to. Not sure what to do ….
MM: It is not your job to protect people from the consequences of your honest opinion. Like, if a friend asks, “How does this dress look on me?” and you respond with “Not great,” it’s not on you if she bursts out crying.
A start-up eco resort is, by virtue of existing in the time of reviews, always asking for opinions. It’s a bit immature of your mutual friend to stop you from writing the review — the feedback might actually help the resort. Having said that, for the sake of your friend, I’d write an honest review — but soften the blow with some glowing adjectives about the things you did like. No one said you have to be irate to get the message across.
KB: Gotta disagree with MM. Is your default in life to write a review of things? Like, you have a latte at a coffee shop, you immediately review it? You read a book, then go click some star icons on Amazon? Are you that person who is rating things on the iTunes store and IMDB? Glad I finally found you, because I’ve always wondered whom those people were!
No but really, for normal people, review-writing isn’t the default position. So it seems to me: Why would you go out of your way to actively put negative feedback out there about a friend’s business? If your default is not to automatically review things, just leave this alone. And if you are a default-reviewer, well, you’ve got some (not just first world) problems.
LG: But why would you write a review when you can be put in touch with the owners directly and help make the place better? I don’t mean to go all kum ba yah, but after more than a week of sobbing over photos of millions of women marching together, I can only talk in cliches of togetherness: Yes, we can (book easily)! Love trumps hangry-iness! Be the change you wish to see in the resort! Grab ’em by the pillowcases!
SB: I wouldn’t go public with your opinion on account of your friend, but, your feedback seems like something the resort people should really know! I figure you can share your thoughts privately, and if they want to make things better, they will take it (and hopefully refund your money). If they don’t, then they will ignore it and someone else will no doubt suffer the same fate and post that scathing review.