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Staggeringly unprofessional

Oh, the things Twitter teaches me. Just today I’ve decided to avoid Twitter like the plague. Yes, again. I know, I do that a lot and then I eventually return. I think this time may be different, though. There are a few reasons why I’m not tweeting; the fact that it’s a time sink-hole is one. But there’s another reason that has really gotten my goat of late: stupid, arrogant, obnoxious, self-important, delusional people. Granted, I’m guilty of all of these characteristics myself, but these people could make a living off it if they were given a penny for every time they exhibited these characteristics. Yes, I am talking about sex toy reviewers (more so than bloggers although reviewers are also often bloggers). Sorry for boring the folks uninterested in this, but I’m so enmeshed that I almost can’t help but talk about it (repeatedly heh).

The most annoying thing I’ve “learned” from these people on Twitter is that professionalism is a one-way street. I don’t know how they would’ve handled their dealings with sex toy manufacturers and retailers before they signed up for Twitter, but damn they handle it poorly there. They deign to publicly bitch about what they deem to be unprofessional practices by companies while blatantly (and arrogantly) ignoring their own unprofessionalism.

The most common practice these reviewers engage in is immediately taking to Twitter to bitch about a supposed terrible breach of good business with a company without contacting the business first. Or they start a dialogue with a company, get butthurt when they don’t get the response they think they should get, and rip the company a new one in a blog post. They also hurt the good, honest, hardworking people who associate with that company. And when those people complain on the blog posts or on Twitter, the arrogant fuckers either tear them down further or talk out both sides of their mouth. I can’t tell if they think they’re really clever or that everyone else has the wool pulled over their eyes.

I’d wager money that most of these bitching twats have never been involved in running or managing a company. But they will tell you just how they think a company should be run based on their own set of morals and ethics and damn anyone who disagrees. And if an ostracized company disagrees, well, the reviewers say of course they disagree; they have a reputation to uphold at all costs. People outside the situation will be told how evil said company is and how they lie out their asses and would sell their own mothers down the river. Of course, the reviewers tell nothing but the truth, right?

Face it: reviewers can be just as dishonest as businesses can. They have their own reputations to uphold, and it wouldn’t do to have their readers and/or sycophants question their views/behavior/ethics/morals. Even your average consumer can lie through their teeth; it’s not a trait owned by “evil” companies. I find it rather sad that a lot of people assume all bloggers and reviewers are unerringly honest and good. They believe every word that is written, be it in a blog post or on Twitter. Hell, I’d find it sad if everyone believed every word I type. A healthy dose of cynicism is good. Find the truth on your own through research and don’t just jump to conclusions based on rumors spread around on Twitter and on blogs. Embrace the truth even when it puts your favorite blogger/reviewer in a bad light. Even if it’s me. If you don’t know the truth, quit acting like you do and quit spreading the rumors and insinuations as though they’re gospel.

Sadly, though I type these words and hope they spark common sense in people, I know it’s highly unlikely to happen. Most people love nothing more than drama and to hate on “evil” companies. No one likes to hate on the “little guy.” No one wants to find out that the little guy is a lying asshole. But it happens. I can see how this can be crushing for some people. Seeking the truth no matter who it hurts or who looks bad is not an easy thing to do. I’m guilty of falling off that path easily. But you know what? The truth is important in situations like these, especially when businesses and their employees are at risk. As consumers, our first thoughts are toward the risks we take, but we rarely think about the risks businesses take.

One of the biggest risks toy retailers and manufacturers take is entering into a contract/agreement with their consumers. These consumers are so thrilled at the prospect of getting free products in exchange for reviews that they forget that they are now essentially a part of that company. It’s a dual role that can be like walking a tightrope. The consumer remains a consumer, but now has the added responsibility of behaving in a professional manner not required of your average consumer. Sure, everyone should be professional when dealing with business matters, but the average consumer is given a bit more leeway because they’re only looking out for themselves.

Reviewers are not obliged to accept and work under any rule or edict that a company sets. But they are obliged to handle any negative dealings in a professional matter. Taking your anger to a public space such as Twitter before or in the midst of a dispute with a company is bad form. I don’t care if the company has acted in bad form itself. You are responsible in how you respond to it. Posting about it in whatever social media just so your followers can raise their torches and shout, “Yeah, get those bastards!” serves no purpose other than to bloat your own ego. And don’t give me any crap about “fair warning” or “educating” others about the evilness of a company. Such bullshit. If your followers were smart, they’d realize they’re getting only one side of the story and would do their own investigating. But if they’re just as set on ruining a company as you, well then, it doesn’t matter. It becomes a circle-jerk of one-sided information and bad-mouthing.

Do some businesses engage in unethical or corrupt behavior? You bet your ass some do. Is every consumer or reviewer complaint evidence of this? No. These complaints are not even necessarily representative of the overall level of service, product or customer, that these businesses offer. There could be 100 irrefutable instances of bad service of one kind or another regarding a certain business, but if their customer base is on the large side, these 100 instances could very well be a drop in the bucket. Are they signs that the company needs to step back and make changes? Sure. Are they signs that they are evil corporate bastards out to screw the little guy? Maybe, maybe not.

Speaking of irrefutable, “documenting” your troubles with a business on your blog does not equal irrefutable truth. Neither does copying and pasting your e-mail correspondence with the company. It’s easy to manipulate those words within the blog post. What about screen captures of said correspondence? I say edit out identifiable information about the company’s employee and contact information, such as name, phone number and e-mail address. If you won’t do that, you’re a douche.

By the way, siding yourself with another company that offers the same products and/or services does not automatically make them a better or good company. Of course they’ll be eager to take you on because it’s all about competition. And if your sycophants follow you wherever you go, they’ll gladly take them in, too. That’s called scoring a blow for the competition. And, no, I’m not talking about any particular company, and I’m certainly not bad-mouthing any company. I’m simply pointing out the flaws in the thinking of these deluded reviewers.

I’ve had a few companies tell me I’m one of the more professional reviewers they work with. My first response is an “aw, shucks” one, and then my chest puffs out a bit and I get a feeling of pride. And then I think, “Well, that’s fucking sad that I’m one of just a few, especially considering how many reviewers there are out there.” I do take pride in being professional in my dealings with the companies I review for. It’s too bad so few feel the same.

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