I was reading this morning that as many as 30% of the on-line ratings, like “Great restaurant, excellent service. Lamb kebabs were out of this world. Would recommend to my Iranian grandmother who hasn’t enjoyed a meal since the great revolution of 79!” are false. This doesn’t totally surprise. It does make me feel like I lost an IQ point or two, however, because these reviews actually carry some weight with me when considering making a choice of restaurant, product, service, etc. as do the stars associated with my choice. Recently I’ve written several reviews myself after returning items not meeting up to the seller’s descriptions or arriving in defective condition.
One in particular was actually funny. Being old enough to know you get what you pay for is quite often true, I went surfing the on-line marketplaces for an ottoman for the living room. An area with size constraints, I didn’t want a huge ottoman which would stand out like an elephant seated on the couch. After some searching I found what appeared to be an ideal fit. Small, inexpensive, nicely covered, and in a color complimentary to the furniture already in place. Yea for me. I decided to surprise my other half. After all look at all the money I was saving him!
A week later a small package arrived. Perhaps the size would be comparable to a large shoe box containing a pair of boots. Being asked what was in the package, I couldn’t for the life of me imagine. Zipping it open with my trusty blade, no one was more surprised than I to find my footstool enclosed. It was unassembled, naturally. Rarely does anything come put together when ordered this way. Usually the item, whether it be a bar stool or moon rocket, arrives with a single page of printed instructions even the original creator couldn’t decipher. In this case there were five parts, the stool itself, and four legs. Amazingly, several pages of detailed instructions were enclosed. Sort of footstool assembly for dummies. Pick up one leg with one hand. Wrap four fingers and one thumb around it. Point it toward hole in bottom of cushion ….. screw. No the other way. Duh.
Ignoring my other half who was laughing and pointing at the size, I forged on. The first three legs screwed in fine, but the fourth leg was stripped and continued turning without ever tightening in the hole. Ah, this is what meant by “you are screwed”. Mystery solved. Turning it over with one bad leg, it was ridiculous by any standards. It would work for Dopey or Sleepy, but for anyone over three feet, not really a workable solution for resting your feet. Aside from the size, it had a warning on the bottom, “do not use for sitting”. I wouldn’t have been shocked to see an additional line saying, “Do not rest feet on top unless under six months of age”. Really?
Conceding defeat, I unscrewed the three working legs and repackaged it as received. Sitting once again at my computer I sent off an email to the seller detailing the situation. Later in the day I received a response saying they don’t normally offer full refunds for their products but would I like a replacement? Ummmmm, no, unless Sleepy or Doc come with the new footstool it really isn’t functional in my land of giants, I replied. The following morning they responded again, this time offering a full refund and their sincere apologies. At the bottom of the email they asked me to retain the footstool for three weeks in case the manufacturer wanted to see it, otherwise either keep it or dispose of it. A notification would come prior to pick up if the former applied.
About five days later came a knock at the door. I opened it to find a uniformed delivery person saying he’d been notified of a pick up. Huh? Oh, the footstool. I kept him waiting while I dug for the return label and handed him the box. Nice job of notifying. Good thing I was home.
Four days later I received an email from the seller saying that a delivery service would be picking up the package in two days. Really? I replied a driver had already retrieved the package and it should be in their hands shortly.
The following day the same driver appeared at my door saying he had been notified of a pick up at this address. Are you kidding me? I asked him if anything about this scenario seemed familiar to him and he looked confused. Sigh. Explaining I’d already given him the package the day prior, eying me suspiciously, he asked me if I’d sign to this effect. Sure, would “Grumpy” work?
Once again I emailed the seller to explain the situation, and would you believe the following day the same driver appeared at my door, still looking clueless. Perhaps I should simply print out the explanation and pin it to the front door in case I have errands to run?
Finally, I got notice from seller they’d received the product and the driver apparently went back to concentrating on other customers. Whew. Unbelievably, they reached out to me to write a review. Yep, folks, I wrote one. I did mention they’d refunded the money but did warn other potential buyers of the diminutive size. Didn’t get paid, however. It seems some people are making a business out of being professional reviewers. For $4-$50 a pop you can hire a reviewer to write something cheery and positive about your product or business based on 0% fact and 100% fiction and the reader will be none the wiser. A crackdown on these bogus reviews is in progress but like everything else of a global nature catching these fibbers isn’t as easy as it was in the early days pre-technology.
Ah well, I guess I’ll have to rely on common sense down the road when selecting a product. Certainly has served me well up until now. Smile.
This is absolutely decadent, sweet, gooey and delish. Perfect for a fall potluck or Halloween party. The aromas in the kitchen are a plus as well.
Caramel Apple Cake
4 cups apples, peeled and diced
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup caramel sundae syrup
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place apples in med. mixing bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and mix well. Allow to sit for 20 mins.
Add cranberries at the end of the 20 mins. and stir well to mix.
Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with vegetable oil, and vanilla.
Add apple/cranberry mixture to eggs.
Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl.
Fold dry ingredients into apple mixture. Do not over mix.
Pour into greased 13 x 9″ baking dish. Bake for 1 hour.