User-Reviews, IKEA and Parallel Universes

CM87,

This communication to you is so patently bizarre I often do not know where to begin. It also came to mind that email and the internet are still quite primitive for you, so the chances of you discovering any of these communications in this forum are remote for at least another 7 years. I am going to print this out and fax it to your office. Please bill this under: LASC In Re Peterman re: Discovery request.

I am still guessing at how this works. For all I know, you may have stopped existing. When the Big Jump happened, I may have carried all of our collective memory with me, and the world as I perceived it in 1987 may have transferred with me. Indeed, if this is so, I truly am the center of my own universe, and other people’s opinions should not matter, because they only exist in the world that I am creating. If this is the scenario we are in, I have several more questions to ask, and feel sheepish because in theory then, I am supposed to answer them. Wait, I’m confused.

The other theory, and the one I think makes more sense, is that our lives split into parallel universes, running along equal paths, tethered through some nebulous interstellar sinews. I’ve gone ahead and drawn this out in a diagram for ease of reference.

20150311_092757[1]

The remaining question (among others) is what effect my actions in 2015 have on yours in 1987 (OH GOD, is it 1988 for you now?). We were vegetarians prior to the rift, I apologize, but I began eating meat again. Does that mean you are eating meat again? Or have you already died of coronary heart disease because of my conduct? If my conduct controls yours, is yours controlling mine? Or are we independent of each other, living parallel, but un-identical lives?

This conjures for me a serious fear: Would you even like me if we met?

(Please don’t answer that.)

Enough questions. Here’s a big part of the future: user-reviews.

Instead of stopping and asking locals where to find the best breakfast burrito in town, we now use the internet to crowd-source trustworthy reviews, and make informed decisions. I seldom randomly walk into a place on blind faith anymore. It’s all calculated by how others have rated them. Understandably, some purveyors have tried to game the system by flooding the field with fake reviews (either glowing reviews about their company, or devastating reviews about a competitor). But as is the case with a large enough sample size, even the corner-cutters get cut out.

Ultimately, it’s a good thing. One of my favorites was the demise of the Union Street Guest House at the hands of Yelpers (oh Yelp is the predominant user-review site for food, and other non-travel establishments. Travel users use Trip Advisor.) This hotel in upstate New York had a business policy that it would charge $500 if the guest left a bad review on Yelp. The policy read: “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event, and have given us a deposit of any kind, there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”

So Yelpers (and redditors) chimed in to flood the site with fake-bad reviews, like, over 10,000 1-star reviews. For example: “Stayed here for a wedding and they amputated both my legs.” Or “This place was nice until we discovered that it is actually inside of a Sizzler.” Or “We were weirded out because when we looked in the mirrors here, there was nothing there.” Or “This place only serves extremely hot octopus.”

As helpful as these sites are, they are also mired with imbecilic twa’s (that’s French). People who only use such sites to complain are the kind of people who shouldn’t be allowed to use such sites. “Food was great, service was great, bartender didn’t change the channel to ESPN-U during the Astros game and had a horse-face.” 1-star. “I came here only to use the bathroom and they said “Customer’s Only” and so I had to buy a f*ucking mocha. Bathroom was nice tho.” 1 star. “I’ve been eating nachos my whole life, I can tell you what bomb-a$$ nachos are. I’ve been called the nacho-nacho-man, nacho chief, chips’n’sips, crunchy-tuner, and Natches, Arizona, that’s how well I know Na- (I stopped reading this goofer). 1 star. 

The main problem with the sharing economy is the sharing part. Every once in a while, you think the world has some good left in the tank, and then people come along and call themselves “Crunchy-Tuner.”

But setting aside the self-centered, loud, attention mongerers, the economy is being shaped in a positive way by giving the people a voice. There is some accountability that didn’t exist in the yellow pages.  I’m actually a little concerned that you’ve probably stopped paying attention because none of this makes sense, or is at all important to you. And that’s fine. But, I think you ought to know that I don’t need to go to 8 breakfast burrito spots before I have a good one, because of Yelp. So, time = money = power.

That was a pretty good, maybe even great lesson, right?

I hate to keep harping on this, but the internet is so important, I literally don’t know what to do when it goes down at work. I can’t do any of my normal afternoon activities, which includes 30-45 minutes exploring free items on Craigslist (will explain, sort of like a Denio’s, online, but free), an hour on Reddit (cannot explain), 45 minutes looking at gnarly local news websites (it’s like dime store fiction, but, not fictional and really close to home), 15 minutes hating myself for looking at Facebook and then 15 minutes on Craigslist again to close out the day. That’s billable work, right?

But the internet is also terrible and causing people to stop using words correctly. Here are some words and phrases that need to stop. If you can help me with this, I’d appreciate it.

  • Using “tho” instead of “though”
  • Using “feels” to mean something is emotionally stimulating. For example, saying “that song gave me the feels.” Come on, this isn’t MegansLaw.com.
  • Saying something’s whatever is “strong.” For example, when a man wears patterned socks and someone says “Your sock game is strong.”
  • Saying something’s “game” is strong. Same as above. For example, you cook eggs and they taste OK, so you say, “Hey, my egg game is strong.”
  • The phrase “Keep Calm and ________.” Whatever you fill that blank with, it’s annoying. Unless you fill that blank with smaller and smaller repetitions of “Keep Calm and ______.”  Like when you are in a room that has mirrors on both sides of the walls, and you keep reflecting into infinity. That would be OK and I’d probably buy a poster of that.
  • The use of periods.after.every.word. (Wait.I.kinda.liked.that.) [robot dance]
  • I’m not even going to put hashtags on this #list, because they’re actually #really #great. But hashtagging generic #words is the #most silly.

I think the best thing to come out of Tweet-speak are really complicated acronyms. I saw one on a Billboard the other day which was like SLOLFYD (“so laugh out loud funny you’ll die”). I thought it was a piece of IKEA furniture. This modern bed is SLOLFYD.

Ikea is a Swedish furniture company that makes modern furniture and sells it cheap because the materials it uses are made from garbage and also you have to assemble it yourself. They don’t even provide legible instructions. The instructions are essentially the mascot from Little Caesar’s playing Pictionary. They sell extremely well in every market, especially on Craigslist, where they generally are fully assembled and sell for half price.

Here is how you build it.

Step 1: Get on your knees Step 2: Ceremonially present drawer on carpet Step 3: Open a gift from an unknown sender Step 4: Use a really long corded phone and walk into the Ikea parking lot. Done!

You’re missing out on a lot my friend. You’re probably watching MTV and thinking “music television is so radical, I’m gonna eat some sunflower seeds now and stare out a window.” I’ve already forgotten what the late 80’s are like.

Yours really,

CM 15

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