Reviews

We are going on a trip next month to celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation. We still had to make a decision on a hotel for one of the cities. I was looking at reviews for each of the hotels and found a lot of negative reviews mixed in with the good reviews for several of the hotels. Only one had consistent negative reviews, so we eliminated that one. Many of the negative reviews were “the room was small” reviews or complaints that the staff was not helpful.  Reviews are hard because many people don’t bother leaving a review unless they have a complaint. Choosing a hotel, restaurant, business, based on reviews is difficult. Eventually, you have to just make a decision realizing that no place will always get good reviews. I di worry, though, that reading too may reviews will color my impression of the place. Will I be more focused on the size of the room(knowing that small rooms are the norm unless you pay a lot more) because I read these reviews? Will I judge other areas more harshly because I read bad reviews online? I don’t think I will, but it is a hazard of reading reviews.

I think the same can happen with books. I’ve seen it happen with people refusing to read a book and saying it should not have been published based not on their own reading, but on one person’s review. I tend to ignore reviews of entertainment(unless a negative review gives me an excuse not to watch a movie others want) and judge for myself. I do, however, sometimes find myself reading reviews on Goodreads after I finish a book, but before I rate it. Sometimes I find myself second guessing my impression of the book based on the reviews of others. It is brief and I still rate it how I want, but it does make me question my impression occasionally. I think maybe I just need to stop reading reviews.

Do you read reviews? Do you base decisions on hotels and restaurants on reviews? Do you choose to read or watch based on reviews?

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14 Comments

  1. I read reviews, but with a skepticism about many of the negative reviews. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about a book, movie, or restaurant. (Not being a big traveler, I don’t find myself looking at accommodation reviews.)

    With book reviews, I generally will look at reviews at both extremes and make my evaluation on whether the points made are important to me or not. I have read reviews that brought up things that, regardless of whether the review was positive or negative, have influenced whether I want to read it or not. But I also read the “flap” copy (whether on a physical book or on amazon or goodreads) to make sure the reviewer’s comments were on an important aspect of the book or not. I guess I try not to be overly swayed by all the negativity, since as you said, people are more likely to post complaints than accolades. Likewise, I temper the positive ones with the realization that a lot of them have been proven to be solicited rather than volunteered so not always honest impressions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read reviews for products since I purchase online frequently (yay Amazon prime).

    I listen to audio books every day, so I will read reviews to learn about the narrator…a bad one can ruin a book a great one can make me listen to a horrible book in its entirety.

    A negative review of the content of a book (unless it mentions bad grammar or typos) kicks up the rebel in me and I will read it out of spite, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right about the audio books. I’ve been on a trend recently of listening to celebrity written books read by the author. Those tend to be very good from a narration standpoint. I’m currently listening to As You Wish by Cary Elwes about the making of The Princess Bride. He reads, but others from the movie also contribute.

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  3. Hi, found you on community post, nice to meet you 🙂

    An interesting post indeed. If I leave a review, such as commenting on a blog, I write my thoughts (as I have here), unmarred by other opinions, before I look at those that come before it, because, as you say, they can sway you opinion, and make you question yourself, but I figure, that is not really fair, as your original opinion counts. When it comes to hotel rooms and buying products, I always look at the positives first, and then the negatives, and weigh based on the fact, as you properly mentioned, that people only tend to review if there is a problem.

    Difficult subject, but a great and interesting choice of topic. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like reviews because when shopping for things like hotels or cars, you need to know what others think to make the best choice. But I think we need to perhaps consider how susceptible we are to others’ opinions. I used to watch TV shows and then go read what others thought, and I’d find my initial feeling changing based on that, which is a shame because if I came across negative reviews, it’d bring me down unnecessarily since I didn’t initially dislike the episode (does this make sense?). I started having to think about my own opinion before seeking out others’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s an interesting question: how much should reviews matter?

    For me it depends on the source of the review (ex. Consumer Reports is trustworthy for me) and the item being reviewed. With products, I try to obtain info from articles that have made recommendations and then look at reviews, often holding the lowest ones lightly.

    Some of the best product info I’ve found has been on forums where people who already own the product are trying to get help fixing…a problem. It can really help flag issues.

    Books and movies are so subject to personal taste. Where reviews can be helpful in that world is if they say, “If you liked X, you should like this book/movie.”

    Hotels and food are also often personal and different people prioritize different things so someone who wants a big room and dings a place for having small rooms might not matter if someone is looking for “intimate.”

    The worst thing for me with reviews is how much time I can spend reading them and then just end up making my choice barely factoring them in!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely read hotel reviews and reviews for larger purchases like vacuum cleaners, cameras, mattresses. I’m not as influenced by others’ opinions of books or movies since art is so subjective. My review of The World’s Common Tater? Always thoughtful and nicely written. Sending a virtual pat on the back and a machiato your way!

    Liked by 1 person

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