Category Archives: Personal

Q. When is a review not a review? A. When it’s censored

A friend of mine recently had a bad experience in a restaurant.  She and her husband only WENT there because it came highly recommended on a restaurant review site.

So, after complaining at the restaurant and refusing to pay for part of the meal she decided to put her own review on said site.

Today, she received this email:

>Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 16:55:35 +0100
>Thank you for your recent review of Gurkha Grill
>As you may have noticed, it has not yet appeared on Sugarvine’s Reader
>Recommended section.
>The aim of this section of the site is for people to recommend restaurants
>they have enjoyed to other people — we have tried to make this clear both
>in the title (Reader Recommended) and in the FAQs box (Our policy on Reader
>Recommendations). We don’t post negative reviews for two reasons — legally
>we have been advised we are on unsafe ground posting potentially libelous
>comment unless we have actually visited ourselves and also we have no way of
>differentiating between ‘genuine’ poor reviews and malicious reviews from
>jealous competitors, disgruntled staff etc.
>We do, however, forward these reviews to the restaurant concerned,
>explaining that whilst we are not going to publish what has been submitted
>to us, this is legitimate customer comment which they might wish to take on
>I do hope you will continue to write restaurant recommendations for us.
>Daniel Coffey

Is it just me that doesn’t get it?  You can submit your reviews, but only if they’re good.  In which case – what’s the point of the reviews?  You don’t get a full picture of what all the customers really thought, you just get the few that thought it was fabulous – which is misleading surely?

Imagine if you could only say great things about anything you ever bought.  Imagine if theatre critics could only say good things about the plays they see, or food critics only publish rave reviews for restaurants they’ve finished. 

Criticism is an essential part of building a business.  How do you change those things that people don’t like if you don’t allow them to criticise?  In this age of online reviews and word of mouth marketing, this sort of censorship is not welcomed by anyone I know of.

Come on Sugarvine, there must be a better answer than censorship. 


Filed under Personal

Harveys Hell

I am losing my patience with the furniture store, Harveys.  I’ve just sent them this email:

"Order 72724xxxxx

I am writing to complain about the appalling customer service provided by Harveys. We bought a sofa back in 2006, which we took delivery of in June 2006. In Dec 2006 the sofa broke. After numerous emails and phone calls an engineer was sent out to take a look at the sofa and took a few pictures, and we never heard anything again. We called the store we bought the sofa from (Hounslow) repeatedly asking when we would have a replacement, to no avail. Eventually we had to contact one of the Directors of Harveys who immediately authorised for us to go into store and pick another sofa. So we did that. Over 14 weeks later we are still waiting for delivery of said sofa.

It was due to be delivered on Saturday between 11am – 2pm. We waited in all day, until 3pm, before we had to leave the house to attend an appointment. At 4.30 I had a phone call from the driver to say it wasn’t being delivered. Really. Like we hadn’t noticed!

I called the number provided (08700 663853) to arrange redelivery today (as it’s not open over the weekend or holidays). The customer service representative who I spoke to at 9am promised someone would ring back by the end of play today to arrange redelivery. At 5.30pm when still no one had called me back I phoned again. I asked for redelivery this Saturday and was told no, there are no slots available. I asked to speak to someone more superior and Camilla, the customer service representative, refused.

I wasted a whole day on Saturday waiting for a sofa to be delivered – with no notification that it wasn’t going to arrive until after the delivery time had been and gone. We have waited MONTHS for a sofa we can actually sit on. It is not our fault that the driver was unable to deliver this weekend.

The next available Saturday slot, I was told, is Saturday the 9th June which is absolutely no use to me as we’re at a wedding that day.

I NEED OUR SOFA DELIVERED ON SATURDAY 2ND JUNE. If you are not prepared to arrange delivery for this Saturday, we would like a refund, IN FULL.

If delivery cannot be arranged for this Saturday or a refund be arranged, I am prepared to stand outside your Hounslow store and tell everyone who passes the door what absolutely shocking service we have received from Harveys from start to finish, and if necessary remove the display model of the sofa we have purchased. I am also prepared to call the local press to watch me do it, and every consumer watchdog I can think of to warn other people of the shoddy merchandise and useless service.

I expect a reply to this message by 10am tomorrow morning.

Mrs S"

Hands up who thinks I’ll get a reply?  Hands up who thinks I’ll be searching for the name of the Head of Communications tomorrow to let them know the local press are about to be informed of my protest this coming Saturday?

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Filed under Personal, PR

My Life is an Open Facebook

My online social network is continuing to grow.  I’ve now joined Facebook.  Added to my online presence on Faceparty, Linked In, WAYN, Viadeo, Friends Reunited and of course this blog it will now be impossible to hide from anyone.  Not that anyone in particular is seeking me out. 

That said, an old work colleague of mine contacted me today.  She’s married to another old work colleague and they have two children – last time I saw her they were still snogging in the local pub toilets.  You know who you are.  Who else will crawl out of the woodwork?

Maybe I should check out Twitter next – there are plenty of bloggers talking about it but I’m not sure I actually *get* it.  If you have a Facebook account, feel free to add me.  I figure there must be lots of PR people on there just dying to be headhunted!


Filed under Personal, PR, Social Media

Google Gracious Me! Part 3

Google has delivered the goods once more!  Another Sarah Hayman has contacted me after finding this blog.  Goodness me, how many of us are there?  We shall call her Sarah Hayman 3!  Sarah 3 has just had a baby boy called Samuel – take my word for it, he’s CUTE!  We’ve been chatting on MSN messenger and there are a few spooky parallels in our lives.

I introduced Sarah 2 to Sarah 3 via email.  This could get confusing.

So now we have: –

  • Sarah Hayman – PR Headhunter, frustrated writer, getting married this year, has a dad originally from Devon who now lives in London
  • Sarah Hayman 2 – lives in Australia
  • Sarah Hayman 3 – lives in the midlands, has a dad originally from Devon who now lives in London, has two sons, is getting married this year, has an interest in genealogy, been in Panto, now an agony aunt for a teen magazine.

The Sarah Hayman Society – current  membership – 3.


Filed under Personal

In the beginning

So I’ve gone and done it now, I’ve joined the 60 million or so people with a blog and have joined the social media revolution.

I went to Sunderland University’s “Delivering The New PR” conference yesterday and was inspired to start my own blog.  So you can thank Tom Murphy and Stuart Bruce for my ramblings.

Three things dominate my life at the moment.  As a head hunter recruitment has to be up there at the top (my boss will read this so lip service is required).  Secondly PR is up there, as it is our niche industry to recruit in and what happens in PR impacts daily on our work.  Thirdly it’s my wedding.  I used to be an independant, strong minded, practical, down to earth soul with a mortgage, cat, car and a secret penchant for chick lit – then on the 16th of May this year I became the proud owner of a sparkly diamond ring, a wedding planning book and the complete inability to walk past any bridal shop.  I’m not quite bridezilla, but it’s a not a long walk down that road.


Filed under Careers, Personal, PR, Recruitment