Tag Archives: unbiased reviews

who’s afraid of feedback?

THURSTON MOOREI admire people who can take feedback with grace.  ‘Bout the only feedback I can tolerate is on a Sonic Youth record.  Recently I completed leadership of a program. I wanted to know what my students really thought, so I gave them free rein on providing me feedback.  I said “take out a blank piece of paper and write anything you think I should know about my performance or the program.”  I left the room.  I had one student collect all the reviews and put them in an envelope.FEEDBACK

I stared at that envelope for a week before I had the courage to open it.  I was sure that because I was hard on them – would you have pegged me as a pusher? – that they would be equally hard on me.  In all fairness, I should be willing to eat the the brutal honesty I so often serve others.WAY HARSHTurns out I worried for nothing.  The reviews are overwhelmingly positive.  99% of the students understand why I pushed.  I’ve learned to accept that I always provoke an angry 1% in any room I enter.  That’s just part of my charm.  Can’t win ’em all.RUM AND COKE

she just wore me down

I met this really nice woman several months ago through professional avenues.  She was kind and complimentary of my services.  She mentioned during the course of our conversation that she sold all natural skincare products called Arbonne and provided me with a generous sample.  A couple days later, she emailed me to see how I liked the products.  Avid readers know that I keep my samples for traveling, so I hadn’t even tried them yet.  I told her as much, and that I’d let her know when I got around to them on my next trip.

Then she started inviting me to see Arbonnettes receive white Mercedes as perks for strong sales performance.  I politely declined.  (Really, I just wanted to tell her that the Mercedes build quality has really deteriorated over recent years, but didn’t think she would find that information particularly relevant.)When I finally tried the RE9 Advanced samples, I begrudgingly admitted they were good.  Keeping my word, I told her of my positive experience with the products.  Of course this triggered an intense sales push.  I planned to get just one, but the company made it so difficult and financially illogical to try a single product that I ended up backing out of the overly-complicated transaction.  She wanted me to pay $20 under the guise that I can benefit from a year-long discount on all their products, plus they want me to pay shipping.  Those fucking sales lures annoy me.

She would not quit with the invitations.  She intermittently appeared around my work.  Her very presence ignited a pilot light of guilt in my gut.  Each week a new email asking me to an event or demo appeared in my inbox.  The girl eventually wore me down with her fucking indefatigable persistence.  After dodging at least eight different invites, I finally accepted one.  I drug my friend Dez along (I owe you bitch), and low and behold if we weren’t the only two in attendance.  Let’s say it together: PRESSURED.Our host spread products everywhere: in the living room, in the dining room, and in the kitchen where we began.  She prepared energy shots and protein shakes, and peppered us with product points as we consumed the mysterious contents of the offered Dixie cups.  Next, we were guided to the sofa.  Now her captives, she commenced her spiel which was comprised of a lot of random, seemingly unrelated statistics about childhood obesity and the nation’s sugar intake.  She promised us chocolate kisses if we asked questions.  Most of the questions I asked she couldn’t answer.  Questions like,

“What are the active ingredients in this product?”

“What do you mean by active ingredients?” She looks at me perplexed.

“Retinol, Acids, Peptides, Antioxidants?”  I nudged.

“I can find out for you.”  She classically covered before quickly gliding on through her presentation.

I wondered how she could possibly be so uneducated about the ingredients in the products she was so aggressively pushing, and furthermore how is it possible that no one had asked her this fundamental information before?Insisting it wasn’t a pyramid scheme, she spent much of the demo trying to sell us on selling Arbonne.   The “direct marketing” approach smacked of structured hierarchy.  If it isn’t a pyramid scheme then why are you trying to add me to your team?  When Dez showed just an inkling of interest in selling the products, our host would not let her leave without promising to host a demo herself.

Despite all this, I still bought products.  Why?  Even though I know it’s all bullshit, the Arbonnette persisted until my polite resolve eventually crumbled away.  In truth, I indirectly bribed her to leave me alone. 

If nothing else, I will review Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced for your benefit.  Steer clear of these bitches though, because they are Amway-style intense.


Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: pandering for praise

On at least three separate occasions recently, businesses or proprietors have asked if I would post positive reviews about their service.  One woman in particular retyped handwritten comments I left in a guest book and asked me to cut and paste them into a link she provided in her mildly badgering email.

I am VERY appreciative of your leaving a comment and am hopeful you might not mind submitting something to the sites below for us…. being new, it is especially the number one thing that is helpful for us.

If you wouldn’t mind…  here are the two links below that help us the most!  AND here is your guest comment (made tense appropriate)….. ONLY to make it as easy as possible for you to do, copy/paste, change, add, delete, … etc

If you are still vacationing or catching up at home and don’t have time for this nonsense now… I will resend this to you in a couple weeks…

So what do we think about this folks?  Fair request or foul over-reach?  I personally find it pathetic to pander for praise and would never do any such thing because I simply have too much foolish pride.  However, I do want to acknowledge that we dwell in a time where online reviews can make or break you – especially as a small business.  Moreover, I throw ample shine where it is duly deserved.

I will likely capitulate and leave the requested review, but these pushy business owners may not necessarily love every word they read.  It’s why this bitchy critical cunt generally keeps her sharp opinions safely confined to the four corners of this site.

catch a color

Not all laundry gimmicks turn out to be such great inventions or additions to the traditional routine.  Remember the dumbass Downy Ball?Shout Color Catchers really work to prevent laundry disasters.  The novel product effectively captures color bleed before it transfers to other fabrics in the wash.  I’ve had a great deal of success washing highly-pigmented fabrics with the single-use sheets.  The newest version includes a shot of Oxi Booster in a Color Catcher pouch.  Truthfully, I haven’t noticed a measurable difference with the addition of the Oxi Booster, but I had a coupon so I tried it.  In the future, I will return to the original version which is a better value. Throw a sheet in with any new clothes, or if you feel a little nervous about a mixed load.  Shout Color Catchers definitely warrant a spot on your laundry room shelf.  Make room for these legit laundry helpers by throwing last decade’s Downy Ball in the recycling bin. 

Seattle Veg

Don’t fucking tell me it doesn’t rain “that much” in Seattle all you darling Pacific Northwest lying-ass bitches.   Seriously, it’s like living in a puddle.  I’ll forgive the shitty constant drizzle only due to the excellent array of plant-based food options.  What Seattle lacks in sunshine, it makes up for in an abundance of vegetarian friendly dining establishments.  I’m a homing pigeon for crunchy, granola, hippy, super specific vegetarian food, and this city provides more than a few dope places for an herbivore to land. At Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe the lentil burger looked like a turd, but tasted delightful.  Casual and unpretentious, come prepared to place an order at the counter and bus your own mess.  Come equally prepared to chow down on filling fresh veggie goodness.  A respectable B+.Next up, the adorably odd Star Life on the Oasis Café, step into a cute little house, decorated with quirky found furniture, and manned by “Wings,” a super nice guy with killer knife skills.  The beautifully fresh veggie sandwich filled my tummy full for the whole day, and the self-serve loose tea bar is a tea drinker’s dream.  AWe waffled on whether or not to hit up Araya’s Vegetarian Place, an all vegetarian Thai restaurant.  I like my food to punish me and Araya’s served up the 4 star spicy all right.  We were sweating balls after the delicious and impressively presented Tom Yum soup.  My dinner companion over estimated his spice tolerance and struggled to finish his meal, but that was his own damn fault for writing a spicy check his non-Thai ass couldn’t cash.  Amateur.  Overall, a solid B.

Bite of Hype: Piroshky, Piroshky

A trip to Seattle isn’t complete without the obligatory visit to Pike’s Place Market.  It’s a cliché, yes, but it is an experience unique to the city and therefore a requisite stop.  In conversations about Pike’s Place Market, one establishment consistently gets mentioned – Piroshky, Piroshky.  As a simple explanation, a piroshky is a Russian bun baked and filled with sweet or savory filling.  Pike’s Piroshky, Piroshky is a crowded little bakery nestled among the flower stalls and fish throwers.  (Don’t you fucking scroll past that picture without drinking in those sexy mom capri pants.)Established in the early 1990’s, this place is so legit the instructions behind the counter are still in Russian.  Anthony Bourdain even featured the little family-run joint on No Reservations.I tried a savory bun – onion, cheese, and potato.  It reminded me of a stuffed pretzel with distinct Russian flare.  I also ordered a sweet rhubarb and enjoyed it very much until I stumbled upon a short dark hair.  Total food boner killer.  Are the Slavic buns tasty?  Sure.  If you have never had one, by all means endure the line and try one.  Are they worthy of all the hyperbolic praise?  Truthfully, not really.  First, for $5 a bun, I prefer my snack follicle-free.  Secondly, the middle got mushy and greasy.  Just an off day for the popular dive or is Piroshky, Piroshky really just an overrated bite of hype? 

hot tip

I’m about to take an adventure and I went on a Hotwire binge.  I haven’t used the site before, but I do like a deal on lodging.  I like to keep it under $100 a night including taxes and extra expenses.  Free breakfast is an added bonus, free wifi – an obvious necessity.  You’d be surprised how difficult a $100 budget-restraint can be in both major cities and small towns, assuming you don’t want to go the two star route.  In my opinion a 2 star rating pretty much guarantees a dreaded foreign pube encounter. So here is the tricky shit.  If you are willing to risk the unknown, you can do quite well on Hotwire.  The steepest savings lurk in the Hotwire Hot Rates.  Book an accommodation based on a star rating, general geographical area, and/or amenities, but the identity of the hotel remains a mystery until after you reserve a non-refundable stay.  Risky business, I know.  Those who take risks are well-rewarded.  A 2 night stay in a 4 star accommodation listed for $311.02 on Orbitz.  I booked the same hotel for $228.92 on Hotwire –  for a total savings of $82.10.  To be clear, I didn’t know what hotel I was booking at the time of irreversible billing, I just pressed the button and hoped for the best.  I was pleasantly surprised 3 x in a row in three different locations.  When I compared my booking rate to the available published rates, the savings always ranged from super to spectacular.  It is easy to feel smug from the plush cushiness of my own chair, but when I arrive at these hotels, they better live up to their promised cleanliness ratings.  A rogue hair can really spoil an evening.  In keeping with my budget, Hotwire allowed me to upgrade a full class of hotels.  Plus, I enjoy a thrill when confirming a reservation and the big name reveal comes.  I immediately skip to the other travel sites and gloat over what a fantastic deal I scored.  Fear not, I plan to keep you bitches fully informed from the road as to whether choosing this site was a wise or poor decision.  

Give Good Hair: L’Oreal EverCreme

I’ve been working my way through the L’Oreal EverCrème product line and have yet to be disappointed.  I’ve tried the Nourishing Shampoo, the Intense Nourishing Conditioner, and my favorite – the Nourishing Leave-In SprayI’m not big on heavily fragranced products, but I frequently receive smell-good compliments when I use this effective detangler.    Overall, EverCrème has proved a highly enjoyable return for little investment.  Worth a try. 

Story of O > Fifty Shades of Grey

While traveling this week, I broke down and read the much-hyped Fifty Shades of Grey.  Don’t waste your time; it’s total drivel.  Author E L James routinely refers to the female genitalia as “there.”  The writing is consistently atrocious.  People claim it is a pager turner?  Yeah, because you want it to be over.  Want classic BDSMStory of O exceeds Fifty in every way.  It is better written, more graphic, and a timeless classic.  If you actually like Fifty, you’ll fucking love O.