Saturday, 2 March 2019

Rewards And Reviews

Last year, I took part in a week-long survey for Ipsos Mori about travel- I had to log how I travelled [foot, bike,car etc] and at the end of it I received a gift voucher. I was able to choose from a list of vouchers, and I opted for a supermarket gift-card. 
The final question was 'would you be prepared to do another I-M survey?' and I said I would. Four weeks ago, a pleasant lady telephoned on a Saturday afternoon, and said would I take part in their TouchPoints survey about internet usage, it would take 7 days. TP has been around quite a while, in fact Steph did work on it when she first left Uni in 2006. I signed up.
This time there was no choice about the reward - but I was pleasantly surprised to receive a large voucher for Amazon [£60!] Not having done any teaching for 7 weeks, that was very welcome.
I couldn't immediately think of anything 'useful' - but did mention to Bob I had heard part of a book about needlecraft being read on Radio 4 and it interested me. He suggested that I should treat myself - it cost around £15, or £10 as an e-book.
Now here's the thing, I like to hold craft books in my hands, and pore over the illustrations, and trace templates, and get physically involved with the actual book. To flip back between pages comparing the finished object and the instructions. To put two books side by side to see similarities and work out how to amalgamate two projects into one...and you cannot do that easily when it is an e-book!
But as this was a treat and I have the token, it should be a no-brainer. I went to the site to order. But first I decided to read the customer reviews. I'm not sure quite when I learned that reading the reviews was an important pre-requisite to on-line buying, but it is a habit I have no plans to break.
I am so glad I did - 95% of the reviews said "a lovely book, beautifully written, but where are the illustrations?" "so disappointed, how can this book refer to pieces of stitchery but not include any pictures?" One person even complained that she had purchased it after reading a positive review in the Radio Times which had lots of pictures - so was really surprised to discover they were not in the book. So I haven't bought it - but I have instead ordered a copy from the Library. Maybe once I have seen it I shall rethink my decision.
Some customer product reviews are plain daft - written by people who clearly didn't check what they were buying, and got annoyed when the item didn't meet their needs. But many are useful guides to the quality and usefulness of the product. The ones on the Lakeland website are usually useful.
If a blogfriend reviews a book or film, that's helpful - because these are people whose thoughts I read regularly on their blog, and if they express an opinion on a film or book, I feel better informed about my decision to watch or read. 
Writing a book review can be hard. When I first began blogging, I was asked by a Pastor's wife in the US to review her book. She sent me a copy. My review was mostly positive - but I did say that I wasn't sure it would suit UK readers. It had too many American words [faucet, stall, fannypack] which would not necessarily be understood by Brits [who say tap, toilet cubicle, bumbag] Furthermore, it was centred around a nail salon where all the church ladies went every Friday evening for their manicures. In 2008, I didn't know any groups of Christian women here for whom this was a weekly social activity. The dear lady was desperately upset and asked me to remove my 'negative comments' - she said it wasn't right or kind to say such things, and I should have only written praise for her efforts!  
I'm afraid I cannot agree with that. I felt I needed to be honest. It is a good thing that writers like Lucy Mills and Emily Owen understand that readers will perceive their books in different ways, and I am happy to review and endorse their output. The best review I've read in Blogland this week is here [thanks M.] 
So - Ipsos/Touchpoints you get ***** for well planned easy-to-follow surveys, with generous rewards, promptly despatched.
Amazon and Lakeland ***** for publishing customer reviews online so I can be well-informed before I spend my money.
Ferndown Library ***** for an efficient ordering service!


  1. Glad to hear that you received a generous reward for your survey input. Good idea to read customer reviews before ordering the craft book and requesting a copy from the library, first.

  2. That's good to hear you got a reward for your efforts! Shame is was the evil Amazon though. I don't like buying from them!

  3. I ALWAYS read reviews. I may decide to disregard them but, as you say, the more info the better. PS Thanks for the review of the review


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