Last night we had a really terrible experience with a local, kid-oriented business. I felt duped and frustrated. We have only lived in the area for about 9 months, so all the businesses here are new to us. I had done all the research I could possibly do. I was diligent because this was something for Superman and I wanted to make sure we were being smart about his needs as well as price, location and offerings. This place, on paper seemed great, ideal even. I cross referenced with online reviews and found none. Literally. Well… no news is good news, right? In this case that was dead wrong. Our experience was so poor my husband and I immediately took to twitter and yelp to make sure our frustration was perfectly clear (we did also, of course, call and email the business). Because of our experience their first two reviews were bad ones… really bad ones. But why were we the first? This is not a new business. Our kid was not the only child there. While it is somewhat possible our experience was a one-off, isolated incedent… given what happened I doubt it. So why weren’t there more reviews? Even positive ones.. or mediocre ones?
This as a one time experience would have been frustrating enough but this happens to me time and time again. Whether it’s moving across the country or just trying something new for my kids, it happens all too often that I look for guidance on the internet from other parents and come up short. We live in an amazing time, advice and reviews are at our finger tips. It’s so easy! And parents, it’s important! As parents new to this city I rely on reviews from other parents to help me find the best pediatricians, dentists, vet, you name it. But when I can’t find reviews I have to just try things out. It’s not only frustrating having to use trial and error to find the best place, but can come at a real cost when you are using trial and error with your own kids’ well being.
The truth is sites like yelp and trip advisor are only as helpful as the amount of reviews it gathers. You can really only get a good idea of what the masses think of a business if lots of people review them. Two reviews, even five just isn’t enough. We need everyone taking two minutes to review the businesses they love, hate and everything in between so that the new parents have that network to help guide them! So fellow parents, lets band together! Get the apps, make it easy and next time you are at a business, any business take two minutes to give it a star rating and a quick review! You never know who is new to the neighborhood or who has a kid looking for a new experience! They need your help! 🙂 So happy writing! And as the new mom in the area, thank you!