10192017Thu
Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 12am

The Retailer’s Perspective: Social Media - It’s not really very social

Do you remember that time when everyone played nice on Myspace? How about when everyone played nice on Facebook, all day, every day? Yeah, me neither. It makes me wonder how it got the moniker Social Media? The words ‘social media’ conjure up an image of something, you know, pleasant. The type of place where people are always kind and respectful to one another. Sort of like the Twilight Zone - only not so scary.

In my opinion, social media needs a new title, something like ‘Idiots-are-Us’! But, I guess it would be hard to pitch that ad. “Hello, can I speak to the business owner?” “May I ask what this is in reference to?” “I’m Chuck, and I’d like for you to place some expensive ads on Idiots-are-Us so we can try and drive some of these idiots into your place of business.”

As the internet evolved, a funny thing happened. A lot of filters that used to be in place to shield people from these idiots got removed. Publishers and their editorial staff would take their top four or five ‘letters to the editor’ and print them, giving us a rosy (or bleak) picture about the world we live in. Then, they would throw away the other hundred or so responses to a story that didn’t fit their narrative. Letters that you never knew were even written and submitted. This was all controlled by the top dogs at the paper, out of sight from the public. Well, that’s changed!

Nowadays, newspapers just let the comments flow without filtering, editing, or monitoring them. And flow they do. And let me tell you, some people out there are not very nice. In fact, some people are just down right mean and opinionated. One of our local TV stations has a marketing tag line that says; “Download our app to be part of the discussion”. I’m thinking, ‘discussion’, is that what you’re now calling it? Because it’s anything but a civil discussion.

The invention of the internet has allowed a lot of people to show you their true colors. You know, that side of their personality that they used to keep hidden from view. Out in public, some people are the model of humanity, while at home, they are anything but. But since the internet is a public place and people can access it anytime and anywhere, they can’t hide anymore. And usually when they come out to play, it’s not very pretty.

And where do these people usually come out to play? Yep, your online review page. Heck, one of the best parts about being self-employed was not having to take any crap off of these people. If they came in my store and started acting a fool, I didn’t have to treat them with kid gloves. As a rule, I’m usually not very nice to these types of people. I feel it is my responsibility, as ‘the boss’, to do to them what they’ve done to hundreds of other retail workers before me. A lot of these retailers had to take it, and apologize profusely to this jerk, when they did nothing wrong. I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to make these jerks think twice before they do it again - just in case the next person they are going to be rude and nasty to is another me.

Yes, I’m fully aware of the old saying; “Treat someone right and they might tell someone. Treat someone badly, and they’ll definitely tell everyone.” Well, I’ve always said these kinds of people don’t have that many friends anyway so how much damage can they really do? Plus, any friends they do have are fully aware of what kind of person they are. Heck, they’d probably want to come in and give me a medal or something if they knew I put them in their place.

Well, thanks to the internet, I can’t do that anymore (kinda kidding, kinda not). Now, these people can sit in your parking lot and pull up any number of online review sites to tell the world what a horrible human being you are. I’m telling you, that takes all the fun out of being the one guy that doesn’t have to take their crap! It’s amazing how quickly your 5 star rating can sink with a bad review across Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and probably a hundred others that they know because they do this all the time. That sucks.

And now, these boneheads don’t even have to come in my store to give me a bad review. Most of the 1-star reviews I’ve gotten are from people that were just trolling the internet giving bad reviews. No comments, just a single star. What a bonehead move.

Social media runs rampant with the very type of people that I try to avoid in the real world. If I don’t like someone, I avoid them. If I think you’re an idiot, I avoid you. If I think your politics are stupid, I double dog dare myself to avoid you. But with this wonderful invention erroneously dubbed ‘social media’, son of a gun if these boneheads don’t just keep popping up in my life.

While I was writing this, President Trump tweeted:

Hurricane Irma is raging but we have great teams of talented and brave people already in place and ready to help. Be careful, be safe! #FEMA

A pretty cut and dry message from the leader of the free world, good luck, stay safe, and our teams are ready to spring into action when the storm passes. If this was really social media, the comments would be something like, ‘Thank you Mr. President’, ‘Prayers for Florida’, ‘#FloridaStrong’, and the likes. Well, that didn’t happen! This particular post had melted down by the second comment.

By comment #937, I learned some new words that I had to look up, just so I would know what kind of rotten, disgusting, human being one person was calling another person. Simply because they commented about something; anything! It doesn’t take much to bring out the ugly on social media. Then, this simple tweet devolved into Crooked Hillary, Russia, DACA, Jennifer Lawrence blaming Trump for hurricanes in general, immigration, statues, repeal and replace, vacations, golf, tax returns, and lots of other things I can’t say here, just because he posted something, anything, on social media.

But, somehow, through all of this, we’re supposed to keep our business’s up front and central on social media, knowing these people are out there. And, at any point, they can turn their hate filled rant at you and your company. And, it’s usually something so benign like; you’ll never get $285 for that piece of crap. Why did you even become a jeweler if you don’t know anything about jewelry? I saw that same pendant on Amazon for $125. You’ll never stay in business if you think you can get away with ripping people off like that. I’ll never do business with someone who tries to rip off their customer like that. I’d give you negative stars if they’d let me, just so others don’t mistakenly stumble on your website and think you’re legit. And, for the most part, there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

And, because they hide behind monikers like ‘Ghostwriter27’, you can’t go to their house and punch them in the nose. These are also the same people that buy junk on the internet, and then bring it in to your store to ask if they got ripped off. That’s why I don’t like to give opinions to people that bought anything off of the internet. Hell, they might have bought it from you, and it was a totally legit sale, but they’re just a despicable human being looking to now troll both of us.

You just can’t win. Or, can you? In another column, I’m going to explore the ways to combat these boneheads and keep your online ratings sky high - because you earned those sky high ratings. You didn’t do anything to earn that 1 star review other than to be in the crosshairs of someone most people would cross the street just to avoid. Me, on the other hand, I probably deserved it!

And before any of you write a letter to my editor disagreeing with me about this, I’ll bust out my CAPS LOCK and you’ll wish you never started this, you rotten piece of @##%&*!!!

Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">.

 


Columnist