Do You Leave Bad Reviews? My Bad Day

Thursday was an interesting day to say the least. I was rather emotional to begin with simply because of the issues with my husband, even though I took steps to resolve them. That doesn’t just mean I took an eraser and they were gone.

There were multiple issues at work, but one really takes the cake. Pop some popcorn, because it’s quite the telling.

It started with a client with a new rescue dog I’ve groomed prior, the owners had expressed that the dog mom had severe allergies. On the initial phone call, the dog dad asked very personal questions, such as if I or the other groomer here were smokers. Though that was a bit personal for my taste, I was understanding with the concern and answered that no, we were not. I also made note of no fragrances for their dog.

Come yesterday and I got them in on a cancellation. On drop off I told the mom that I could use our fragrance free products and confirmed no perfumes. She made comment that she could smell the salon through her mask. Being cognizant of her issues, when she left I moved any air fresheners away from the entrance area, noting her level of sensitivity.

I groomed her pup like normal. She picked up and was over the moon happy.

30 minutes later I received a call from her on her drive home. She called to confirm we did not use perfumes. I confirmed. She asked if we wore perfume, and I was honest and told her I do but wasn’t sure if I wore any today and that my staff may be wearing perfume. I informed her that we can in the future not wear perfume on days her dog comes in if she has that level of sensitivity. She irately told me that it would linger on our clothing and asked what she could do to remove the smell from her dog.

I recommended wiping her dog with vinegar water, as it removes odors. She said she would try it and that she hoped she wouldn’t need to go to urgent care. I apologized profusely.

An hour or so later, queue phone call from husband. I let our answering machine pick it up.

He accused us of dousing the dog in perfume and that they wasted money and threatened to dispute the charges.

I had to think of the best course of action, because my initial response was simply being upset and panic over not knowing how to respond.

I decided to send a text, as I often get flustered on the phone and end up hanging up when I get overwhelmed, which I know pisses people off. I texted him that there must have been some confusion because we used fragrance free products on his dog and that after consulting with my staff, our conclusion was our clothing smelled of fabric softener. That was my only guess, honestly. I told him that we wished him well with his future groomer (my way of saying he’s not welcomed back, ever).

So here’s the review his lovely wife decided to leave on Google…

I guess it could have been worse. It could have been 1 star, and she could have not raved about the beautiful job I did, how caring and gentle I was. But the level of entitlement shown, surely it’s not just me seeing it here? She basically calls me a liar, stating we used perfume on her dog.

That review and encounter was at the end of an already stressful day, whereas I had received a less than stellar review from a 2 year client. His issue being unevenness and missed spots, which he had not brought to our attention but decided to leave a review instead (a month after his visit!).


I used to leave bad reviews a bit more frequently than I do now. Until I was on receiving end of a few. And until I moved closer to God. So many bad reviews are by angry people lashing out, looking to hurt the business they are reviewing. Over half the time, there is zero attempt at solving the issue before said reviewer runs to Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.. to leave their scathing remarks. As someone in the service industry, speaking to other business owners, we deal with it all the time and it is so very frustrating.

Why is it that people jump first to reviewing before resolution? Is it because there is so much competition for so many products and services? They figure they’ll just leave a bad review and go somewhere else? Whereas in the past, there was less choice so you were forced to try to resolve the problem and remain with the person or business that miffed you?

Why is there no attempt at resolution often times? Or second chances?

I’ve grown over the years and have only given 1 bad review in the last…5 or so years. That was for a Veterinarian who refused to give my new Vet our dog’s records and a bad review seemed my only recourse. They were being vindictive due to me disagreeing with the care, so it was a pissing match with us.

There are multiple companies I’m unhappy with, but leaving bad reviews? Unless some intentional harm is done, my question is why? Why bad mouth that mom and pop shop that has that slow cashier behind the counter that always makes you run late? Did you stop to think she may be disabled and moves as quickly as she can? Or what about that restaurant with the good food but they got your order wrong that one time? Did you know the cook had dyslexia and made an out of character ‘oops’?

Some people are forgiving, and if you are, thank you. Truly, as a service industry professional, I tip my hat to you. If you go around leaving reviews left and right, I’m talking the bad ones…shame on you. You are doing no one a service but yourself. Ultimately, a plethora of bad reviews is an ego trip (my reviewer above just leaves bad reviews), a grasp to feel important, not heard. If you want to feel heard, deal with the company and personnel directly. A bad review should be a last resort, not a first option. And it shouldn’t be a threat. Small business owners live in fear of the bad review.

I’m done living with that fear. I treat my clients all fairly and if they feel the need to leave a bad review? That is on them, they will face their judgement day for their actions. Or Karma, if that’s your belief.

The above reviewer had her husband accuse, threaten, and attack me, rather than call and inquire about what could have happened. Had he done so, and behaved respectably, I would have bent over backwards to make amends. I would have offered solutions moving forward. I actually would have suggested to them that I alone touch their dog, after laundering my clothing/smock in fragrance free detergent, on days their pup needs grooming. I empathize with health issues, having my own that make life challenging.

As of now, I’m having a much better day. I was super emotional after a series of misfortunes that day. A less than stellar review was unfortunately enough to trigger my OCD and cause obsessive thoughts of harming myself, thoughts that I was horrible, and on down the rabbit hole of self depreciation. I was a mess, who cried sobbing, ugly tears when my zipper got stuck when I got home that evening.

I’m curious as to how many people think it’s a great service to others to leave those scathing, no holds barred reviews? Me? Being on the receiving end has cured me of that.

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