I don’t particularly like being coerced in to writing reviews, but it happened the other day when I was, of all things, buying a milkshake. It was a fine milkshake and I’ll partake in such a fine milkshake about once a week.
The guy in the shop recognises me and while I was waiting for them to make my Kinder Delight Shake, he asked me whether I would mind putting a review on Facebook. Apparently he had a few negative reviews that he believes are planted by a rival, and that that meant he’d lost his five star rating.
When the rating is out of 5, once you’ve had one that isn’t perfect, you ain’t getting it back (rounding aside). The way it was phrased did put me in a position where he didn’t just mean “do a review”, but “give me 5 out of 5”. To be fair, I probably would have done anyway. I have one minor complaint that maybe the people working there aren’t completely professional (you sometimes get the impression that they’re just friends making milkshakes) but they are good at what they do.
I always quite enjoy reading the reaction to negative reviews. One technique that is fairly noticeable is to go on the offensive. One person you don’t expect to see do this, though, is a Buddhist priest.
The Sekishoin Shukubo guesthouse offers tourists the chance to stay in an ancient Buddhist temple in Mount Kōya, a World Heritage-listed site south of Osaka. Daniel Kimura, 30, an official Shingon priest who was born in the United States but has lived in Japan for about 15 years, didn’t take too kindly to negative reviews on booking.com.
After telling one person that maybe he would like to shave his head and become a monk, he decided to take on a customer who noted that there was no heating outside the bedroom and the “strange” meals were “quite unlike any food I’ve ever tasted”. The only suitable response was, of course:
Yeah, it’s Japanese monastic cuisine you uneducated fuck.
Apparently booking.com have asked the Temple not to insult its customers and, for his part, Kimura has noted that he needs to work on his “impatience”. Also, according to the Buddhist scripture Digha Nikaya, bad language is “contrary to right speech, one of the steps on the Noble Eightfold Path”.
I’m not saying that all bad reviews need such replies, but part of me thinks that Kimura was just a little bit right in his reply.