review the review

I recently purchased a new baby crib and mattress online for the baby’s room.  I got an email notification yesterday that the items have shipped and they will be delivered soon which is awesome!  I visited the website where I purchased the items and reviewed my order and tracked my packages to see where they were in transit (“on the way” it said).  I love checking up on that kind of stuff!  While I was browsing around at my order status I did a terrible thing.  I starting reading the product reviews more carefully than I did before I placed my order.

I usually do read reviews before making a purchase but I generally take them with a grain of salt.  Product reviews are a funny sort of thing.  The general feeling is that you’re hoping for honest feedback about products and not just a rant and rage from a person having a bad day or a five-star review without providing any reasons why it was the best.  How can you take a one star review about a baby mattress seriously when the only justification they provide for that rating is “not comfortable”?  That’s not even a full sentence!  And who found the baby mattress “not comfortable”?  The baby?  Or did the reviewer try to sleep on the mattress first to see if the baby would be comfortable?  I guess it doesn’t matter – sorry baby mattress – you get one star.

And how about reviews that are from several years ago?  What if the product has been updated or improved since the original reviews?  How would we know?!  What if the one you buy today is superior to the one that was reviewed 6 years ago but people still think “it sags in the middle”.  Perhaps the company decided to switch padding suppliers 3 years ago and the newer version is much firmer!  The consumer would never know this based on that one star review in 2009 with the comment “it’s so saggy”.

And then of course you have the great ratings that aren’t helpful either.  I see five star ratings all the time with little or no comments.  I’m so happy that people found a great product and took the time to give it a high rating but they can’t articulate WHY it was so great?!  And aren’t there companies out there that hire people to write 5 star reviews for their products?  How do I know these reviews are legitimate and not some paid advertisement?  I mean, how can I trust a five star review that simply says, “It’s great”?

I like reading reviews that actually provide some real, meaningful feedback.  The reviews that I find most helpful are those with both positive and negative comments about the product.  This tells me that the consumer has actually used it a few times and has an opinion (good or bad) about how it holds up.  Providing a reason why they chose the product over all others is also super helpful.  I tend to spend a lot of time researching products before making a purchase and I place a higher amount of trust reviews that show the consumer also made the effort to shop for the product they ultimately purchased.  Why did they buy THIS one rather than that other one?!  Reviewers that provide updates after a year or two of use are also super duper helpful.  How well did the product hold up after they’ve used it?

I’m a Buyer by trade and sometimes I get a little wrapped up in the purchasing process.  I don’t just read reviews about products before buying, I also read reviews about businesses, too.  I review their website, Google their address, locate them on the Better Business Bureau, and try to find out if the company is who they say they are.  I want the best price, for sure, but I know that the value of my dollar will go farther if I buy quality from a trustworthy company, too.  I wouldn’t want to risk losing money on a poor product from a company that has a terrible customer service department all because it was so darn cheap!  The truth is, online shopping is risky and the buyer should always beware.

All that said, I hope that the mattress that I purchased fits in the crib and offers some support for the baby I plan to lay in it.  I’ll write a review.


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