Business Libel, Slander and Defamation
I ate at a new restaurant in town last week. I did not like the food (it was over-cooked) and I did not like the service (it seemed slow). I also saw an ant on the floor. Plus, I think their coupon was a little misleading on how it worked. I took care of it though! I went home and got on the Internet and tore that new place apart! The new owner and his wife are only 25 years old. I can outsmart them easily. How dare they mess with me! I wrote about how bad the food was and that I saw bugs and that the manager was a jerk and that he tried to over-charge me, and I also wrote all kinds of other things to teach them a lesson in messing with me! I wrote online every single word they said to me when I started to complain. I made that new place look so bad I bet no one will want to try it! I’m so tired of new businesses and people trying to get one over on me. Now I think I got them back- we’ll see!
Okay, sooooooooooo..…of course I made all that up. If you wanted to use me as your attorney or invite me to a social event, how would you feel about me if I had really done this? You would probably be disgusted and not want to work with me- or even know me. Yet every day you read needlessly nasty, vindictive and self-serving comments by people whom you don’t know and situations you have no insight into all across the Internet and you take it seriously. Why?
The only person under such a scenario that you know for sure is in the wrong- is a person who would be so intentionally mean towards another person who’s trying to earn a living. Is that the kind of person you trust? Especially when no one else on earth has made any kind of similar comment, ever, it should tip you off that something smells rotten. It should tip you off to the lack of veracity and basic decency of the comments and the writer. Most people are posting after using a service or patronizing a business in order to get revenge. And It’s never the writer’s fault. They are always in the right and everyone has done them wrong- professional victims who, often, have never done anything in their lives for anyone except themselves. A culture of TMZ and The Housewives has degraded society to a level where people find it cool to degrade and embarrass others. If you find mean, critical people-bashers offensive in your own life- why accept it on the Internet from strangers?
Month after month my clients complain to me that people are writing about their stores or services on the Internet and they never even knew who the person was or had any idea they were going to be so awful. Who can ever anticipate in the course of a workday that someone is out to get you while you’re simply doing the same thing you’ve been doing over and over for years- working. But we all know that those people are out there. Watching and waiting to let someone have it. Often, their biggest achievement in their life is writing something on the Internet that people can read. When they hit that “submit comments” button and laugh, it gives them a sense of power and accomplishment which they otherwise lack in life.
Business and people-bashing since the Internet came along is pervasive and ridiculous. People can be very mean and nasty. If you want to patronize a business, but you trust the comments of a ranting, vindictive person with no credentials, whom you don’t know- you cheat yourself out of living life based on useful, thoughtful, true information from people you know and trust. Always look at the totality of comments- not one person who is entirely against the tide of facts- as you would do in any area of your life. And always check into who is the author of comments and their habits online. Sometimes it’s easy to do and sometimes they hide behind online identities. Either such case will tell you much about them. If you met such person, it might make you sick who you almost trusted.
Perhaps we should all remember what our mothers told us: If you have nothing nice to say…..then I feel sorry for you.
Hopefully those young entrepreneurs whose new restaurant I degraded will forgive me. I feel bad even pretending I would be so mean towards them…….and they don’t even exist! But not everyone thinks and lives like you and me.
Good people who deserve our trust bash other people to their faces, behind their backs, and on the Internet- Right?
People’s true colors come out online: http://features.aol.com/video/pregnant-meteorologist-responds-bullies?icid=maing-grid7|maing15|dl6|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D638475