Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thumper Doesn't Live Here Anymore

One of the points discussed at the conference was reviews and if you should give a negative review or not. I was one of the people who put their hand up and admitted I feel obliged to give a good review when a company gives me free things.

I have never lied in a review - but I've always tried to mention the positive things and leave out or minimize the negative in an effort to live by the Thumper Rule - If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

It was most evident when my series of four sponsored posts about a handheld tablet device I was given became a series of two - I could find nothing positive to say at all, and the two posts I did do were actually reviewing software on it (created by another company) not the device itself, as part of the 'challenges' set by the product provider. I wonder if they knew how crap it was and that's why they got me to review the software?

The Thumper Rule is something I try to live by in life too. And whilst it can be beneficial (not hurting someone's feelings) sometimes it means I get walked over; I don't stand up for myself. I'm passive. A door mat.

I won't send back a meal that was cooked wrong for fear of hurting the Chef's feelings or provoking a Ramsay-esque rant that some poor kitchen hand has to take the brunt of... yes, that is the warped way my mind thinks when I get dodgy service or buy a faulty product.

It has to stop. Both in real life and on here.

Because honestly, if there is no balance in my reviews, how can I expect you to believe me when I do say I like something?

So Thumper has been given his marching orders. He is not welcome here any longer.

Image Modified from Here
Don't panic, I'm not about to start bitching and moaning about every little thing, but if a product does something it shouldn't (like turn on 30 application in the background that suck power) then I'm going to point it out. Likewise, if it doesn't do something it's meant to, it'll get mentioned.

From now on there will balance in the force, young Padawan.

Removing Thumper from my life in general may take a little longer... finding my assertive voice (and not just taking the easy passive-aggressive way out) is a much harder challenge, but I'm working on it.

Are you a door mat? Or do you stand up for yourself? Does it change depending on what circumstance you're in?
Glowless rocked the Aussie Bloggers Conference thanks to


  1. I try to be positive, but I'm not a doormat, probably because my mother has a tendancy to be that way and it has always annoyed me.

    As a book reviewer, I try to focus on the strengths of a book and offer an objective assessment, as it is entirely possible that something that doesn't appeal to me (such as Twilight) might appeal to others (I've heard it's quite popular).

    I prefer to read an objective review that offers both strengths and limits of a particular item/service. It's why I turn to friends for recommendations and why I have certain blogs that I turn to for product reviews - I know that if they are really positive about something it is because they have used it and loved it.

    I will admit to being like Thumper sometimes though. I think it comes down to picking your battles. Is making negative comments going to make a difference? Can I offer constructive suggestions for improvements? No? Then it's probably best to keep my mouth shut.

  2. This is so a `depends on the situation' one for me. In my writing, no problems at all. I can always give a balanced critique and constructive criticism where needed.
    But in real life, it's a whole other story!! Sadly, I am a doormat!! Thanks for showing me Thumper's face. He will now be leaving the building rather swifly!! :)

  3. Am a total doormat. As far as complaining anyway. I'm the same as you, hate rocking the boat, upsetting people etc. I'm now stressing who I didn't talk to at the ABC. I do want to be more assertive, but I also don't want to lose being nice. Good for you and was lovely to meet you at the ABC xx

  4. I don't think I'm a doormat. Although it depends on the situation. I pick my battles. As I haven't done any reviews on my site, yet, I don't know quite how to handle these, but I think I will attempt to incude the good and the bad aspects.

    But I think Thumper definitely has to go...

  5. I'm the same as Kellie. I can write a balanced review but in real life I tend to be a little too nice. My husband constantly tells me I get walked over. I really need to change that...

  6. A very empowering post. I look forward to your next reviews. :-)
    I know when I read a review, a negative point being highlighted is not necessarily going to put me off the item, but it means I can consider how important that particular feature is to me and if I can cope with it's dodginess.
    Very much along the lines of "marry someone whose faults you can tolerate." ;-)

    Having only learnt how to say "No" last year, I'm not quite ready to join you in evicting Thumper, but I love the idea.
    However, I might type up unpublished blogs about things I disagree with.
    Unless it's to do with my Bugalicious, of course. Dragon Mama emerges from Auntie Devi when my Baby Girl needs help.

  7. I think one of the rules of PR is 'any PR is good PR.' Besides, if they're got a crap product, they should know about it - no point prolonging the product's demise. Any good business should not base itself off one product. So you're doing them a favour. Let it rip! Colin

  8. When it comes to returning food in a restaurant, I usually don't because one thing you learn quickly when living in New York is that the waiter is probably just walking out back with your plate, spitting in it, and bringing it back to the table. So I'm a restaurant doormat.

    If I look for a product review and can't find one, I assume it is crap. So I suppose Colin is right that even bad PR is good PR, because if I find a review I'll think the product is worth considering.

    As long as it is obvious that the reviewer understands that a product might appeal to someone else, and explains why it is their view that it is crap, then I'm happy to read it and form my own opinion.

    Now please tell me you still love your HealthyChart:o

  9. I remember how terrifying it was when I sent back my first and only dish at a restaurant! I rarely eat meat but had been craving a steak all day and decided to have a steak at a big name hotel. I asked for the steak rare and explained how I wanted it, as the definition of rare changes at different restaurants. Well it was quite an expensive steak and I was so disappointed when it came out well done I decided to send it back! I don't think I would have done it at a smaller restaurant but I worked in hotels myself and I didn't mind with a big hotel as generally hotel staff don't take things personally and it wouldn't hurt their business. Though I didn't send it back when the next steak came out medium...

    I think it is good to provide criticism, it helps a company improve their product, as long as the criticism is constructive people generally don't mind and I have worked throughout the service industry! Most of the time people will appreciate your feedback, for example I'm sure that Bumgenius became the well regarded product it is today because of all the criticism they received with earlier versions!

  10. Leanne Shea LangdownMarch 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    I think it depends how important the issue is to me. Depends on my care factor. But if I do have to be honest I guess I like to give constructive feedback ... not negative emotion.

  11. I'm with you. I express myself better with writing than verbal. It may be a cultural thing for me as I am raised not to offend at all cost. But I have been changing over time & learning to say what's on my mind without feeling guilty at all. I will never apologize for what I think or feel now.

  12. You have to be honest, otherwise you're letting yourself and readers down. On a professional basis I've always found it easy to be totally objective (though I often will be mindful when writing something negative; like others I try to find something constructive or positive about it, because I'm not out to ruin anyone.) In my personal life, it is harder to be assertive, and was a skill I only really learned last year, and I still have trouble practising it at times.


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