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Tow Hitches And Word Documents

You know that tow hitch that you put not he back of your SUV? Okay, maybe not you, but people who tow boats, or trailers, or campers. Or, sure, maybe you too. Even if you don’t have a tow hitch, if you have an SUV, or a van or a truck, you have that square hole that the hitch goes into right?

Did you know there are different sizes of tow balls? And you have to have the size of ball that matches the trailer hitch you are pulling. The most common is a 2″ ball. And In fact, you could go your entire life of owning an SUV, or a van, or a truck and never even know there was a different size.

If you are going to pull a heavier trailer, you need a bigger ball. If you have a big boat with double axles, you probably need a 2 5/8″ ball. I didn’t have a big boat, but I did have a trailer that took a 2 5/8″ ball at one point. But, like most people I had the 2″ ball on my tow hitch.

So, I bought a 2 5/8″ ball. Now I had to install it on my tow hitch. It takes a really large socket to fit the bottom of that ball. And it takes a 3/4″ socket driver. And then I needed a pipe wrench to hold the ball while I was unscrewing the nut.

It was about $75 by the time I got all the needed tools. And now I could swap the 2″ ball and the 2 5/8″ ball as needed.

My lovely wife had a question.

How much would it cost to just buy a full tow hitch with a 2 5/8″ ball?

Ah. . . .

The tow hitch costs about $30.

I was so intent on how to swap the ball that I didn’t really think about how else to solve my problem.

I was working with a company that needed to take some files from one format to Microsoft Word. The old software didn’t have a conversion feature. Well, it only kind of had a convert feature. The company spent a long time working with the converted files trying to make them work.

I’m not part of the decision making team on the client side. My company was providing a service and API that the client would call. How they created their documents was an internal decision. But, I just had to wonder,

How long would it take to create the files in Word from scratch?

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Book Review: Don Quixote

This book was new when I started reading it

Don Quixote is 768 pages long. At least my copy of it is. It’s a long book. In fact, other than the Bible, it may be the longest book I’ve ever read.

Of course, the Lord of The Rings trilogy is long. It might be more than 800 pages long. I’ve read it multiple times. There are other series that are also long and I’ve read them. What makes me point out Don Quixote’s length? Because it felt long.

You are no doubt familiar with the story. Don Quixote thinks he’s a knight errant. And he, along with his squire Sancho Panca, roam around the Spanish countryside getting into hilarious adventures.

Have you ever played Dungeon & Dragons? Really any role playing game. But, D&D is the archetypical role playing game. In D&D you play a a knight. Maybe you have a squire. You roam around the countryside having adventures.

Sound familiar? Yeah. It did to me too.

When my brother and I used to play D&D as kids we tried to write some of the stories down. After all, it was really exciting to play D&D. We’d play for hours.

But, you know what? The stories were boring. They were unreadable, even considering they were written by teenagers. Because it was the “same story, different day.” Your character would show up, fight a monster, get the gold and then move on to repeat it at the next encounter.

What makes literature interesting, engaging, is growth. Lord of the Rings isn’t just stories of hobbits and dwarves and orcs and wizards. Frodo is a much different person at the end of the story than he is at the beginning. In fact, the events break him. He stumbles to the end, rather than running.

Every good story is the same way. Harry Potter, the boy who lived, is much different at the end of the seventh book and eighth movie than he is when we first meet him.

And that was my biggest problem with Don Quixote. After 700 pages, he was the same person that we met on page 1. Sancho is just as stunted. He’s an interesting character, and certainly as the link between reality and madness, the key figure in the story.

He spends the first 600 pages hoping that Don Quixote will win him a governorship. In a surprising turn of events, he actually gets it around the 600 page mark. And we see, amazingly, growth from the perpetual sidekick. He has to learn to govern. Previously he’d been fond of dropping platitudes and parables. Now we see that his wisdom was actually genuine. He rivals Soloman in some of his judgements.

It was really interesting. And then? Cervantes takes us right back to Sancho the side-kick. But, it was a really interesting 100 pages.

Cervantes wrote his masterpiece (and it really is a masterpiece, more on that in a minute) in the 16th century. A couple hundred years later P.A. Motteux translated Cervantes into English.

So, the words and stories we read in Don Quixote are 500 year-old stories translated into 300 year old English. And still we laugh at Sancho’s antics. We smile at Quixote’s naïveté. The stories read very much like short stories, loosely collected into a larger narrative.

If you “study” Don Quixote, you learn that Cervantes was writing a social commentary. His story was a response to certain contemporary writers and popular stories of his day. I’m sure when viewed in its historical Context, Don Quixote is a brilliant work. And it’s obvious in reading it that you are reading something important. Like looking at a brilliant painting, but having no idea what makes it special, only that it doesn’t look like a woman, weeping or otherwise to you.

What I Liked

The writing was amazing. The actual stories that Cervantes tells are each interesting and engaging. He describes his characters and his settings in wonderful detail. When you consider his narrative was translated, it’s even more a complement to his amazing skill.

What I Didn’t

About 550 pages of it. Not that it wasn’t entertaining. Just that it was like eating potatoes. . .everyday. . .for 768 days. As I already mentioned, the characters has no growth. Don Quixote was a caricature of himself for the entire book. He was an idea more than an actual person.

What It Means To You

If you are studying classic literature, you MUST read Don Quixote. If you don’t have to, you can get the story from the excellent movie “Man of LaMancha.” And it has very memorable music.

My Rating

3 Stars

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

My Brother The Spy

The story worried me.

Richard Bliss, an engineer working for a US technology company was arrested in Russia on charges of espionage.

The year was 1997. I knew Richard Bliss. And while I wouldn’t have called him an engineer, he certainly worked for a technology company and travelled internationally.

I called my sister-in-law.

Hey, this is Rodney. Ah. . .my brother hasn’t been in Russia lately has he?

.

No. But, you’re not the first to call. I just hung up with your mom.

Yesterday I talked about meeting someone with my same name, (Talking To Myself. . .Hello, I Don’t Think We’ve Met.) This is a picture of Richard Bliss, who was arrested for espionage in Russia in 1997.

This is a picture of Richard Bliss who was not in Russia in 1997 and is definitely not a spy.

If you google Richard Bliss, most of the links will be for my brother. He’s a published author. He’s a successful LinkedIn coach. He ran multiple successful podcasts. He’s popular online and not hard to find.

But, because 25 years ago a man who shared his name used an unauthorized GPS device in Russia, and because the Internet never forgets, my brother’s name is forever linked to spying in Russia.

More recently, in 2018, a man in Florida got into an argument with some people at his business. He ended up shooting a man and was shot himself and was killed. His name was Richard Bliss.

Google makes it easy to find yourself, or at least those people who share your name. It also makes it easy to find other people who share names.

Most of the time it’s a strange version of looking in the mirror, but seeing someone else’s face. In my brother’s case, it does screw up a background check.

Ironically, my brother and I both know one more Richard Bliss. Our older brother named one of his kids Richard. And he’s not a spy either.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Talking To Myself. . .Hello, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met

My friends call me Rod. You can call me Rodney.

I had a conversation today with Rod Bliss. His name is also Rodney. We’ve never spoken. But, we are both working for the same company. Me as a contractor, him as a fulltime employee, what we used to call a “blue badge” when I worked for Microsoft.

But, this isn’t Microsoft.

Rod got my mail. Well, he got a meeting invite that was intended for me. It’s hard to blame him for being confused. The invitation was addressed to Rodney Bliss. He reached out to the meeting organizer via Microsoft Teams.

Why do you want me in that meeting.

Sorry, that meeting invite was for Rodney Bliss

Well, that’s ME!

It’s weird to talk to someone with your same name. I reached out to Rod and let him know that I was new to the project and my name appears as a contractor RBLISS-C in the address book. Rod called me.

Hello, this is Rodney.

Hello, this is Rod Bliss. How are you?

It feels like a weird version of talking to a verbal mirror.

Yeah, tell me about it!

What do you say to someone that shares your name? Of course, we talked about our family background. My Bliss’s come from Montana, his from Nebraska by way of Seattle. Which is the area I grew up in. But, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t find any near common ancestors. But, all the Bliss’s in America descended from a couple of brothers who fought in the Revolutionary war. He’d heard the same stories. I sent him a link to the blog post I wrote about Capt Abdeil Bliss Hero of theRevolution, But Was He A Captain?

I also asked if he had a brother named Richard. He does not, but I do. And my brother can never pass a background check. There’s another Richard Bliss (no relation to either of us that we can tell) who was arrested for being a spy in Russia.

Bliss is not a common name. And Rodney is not a common first name. There aren’t that many of us. I do know of one other, a Rodney A Bliss that used to sell real estate in Maryland. In fact, the website for this blog is rodneymbliss.com (notice the “m”) because Rodney Bliss already had rodneybliss.com. I used to get his email from prospective buyers. Unlike Rod and I, I never spoke to Rodney.

I don’t imagine we will interact much. Rod works in a completely different part of the company than I’m involved with. But, we both appear in the address book, so it was worthwhile to at least say hi.

How about you? Ever met yourself?

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Project Management Chicken

It comes from the James Dean movie Rebel Without a Cause. Two cars driving toward the edge of a cliff. Last one to jump out “wins.” The game is called “chicken.” Just a brief sidebar, I never really considered the James Dean cliff scene as the origin of the game of Chicken. In fact, most versions I’ve seen involved two cars headed toward each other and the last one to swerve wins.

But, the Internet said it was James Dean, and honestly, that’s a WAY cooler origin story than I was imagining.

Alright so what does the game of chicken have to do with project management?

Quite a bit, actually.

Software project management is pretty simple. You have three variables

  1. Features
  2. Schedule
  3. Resources

As a project manager, you can change any two. Stake holders will insist that you deliver on all three.

The schedule says we must ship on September 1. That can’t change.

Well, we need to cut features.

No, that’s not acceptable. Every feature is critical.

Well, we need to hire a bunch more people then.

You can’t increase the budget. Just make do with that you have!

There’s an excellent book called “The Mythical Man Month.” It explains that at some point in the project, adding more people actually makes things worse not better. The logic is,

A woman can have a baby in 9 months. But, 9 women cannot have a baby in 1 month.

Software development is often measured in terms of how long it takes to create it. As project managers we get estimates on how much it costs to build each feature. In other words, how long to create each feature. The results are added up. Then a healthy dose of buffer space is added and the project manager puts it into a calendar.

Projects are projects because they have an end date. But, some projects take years to complete. A schedule never gets shorter. Not on its own. It’s a project manager’s job to keep the schedule on track. It’s often a near impossibility. And a large project will have multiple project managers. You might have someone over the database upgrades. Someone else is responsible for the user interface. Still another group handles the public facing APIs.

Everyone has a schedule and if everyone meets the schedule the project ships on time, on budget with the agreed upon features. But, that doesn’t happen. I might say “rarely” happens, but that would assume that it EVER happens. I’ve only been in project management for about 20 years, so it could be I just haven’t seen it yet.

So, everyone is late, but no one wants to admit they are late. That’s where the game of chicken comes in. Project managers hold weekly, sometimes daily, status meeting. No one wants to be the first to say they won’t make the schedule. So, everyone pretends that things are fine. Really, they are waiting for someone else to admit they can’t make their dates.

Eventually, someone blinks and says,

We are going to need another four weeks to put the print feature in.

Now, everyone can relax. They just an extra month and they didn’t have to take a hit for it.

In case you are interested, I’m a pretty good project manager. I don’t play chicken and work very hard to keep the teams I’m working with from playing chicken.

In the movie, James Dean’s character wins his game of chicken. But, for the wrong reason. Dean would have jumped first except he gets trapped in the car. He wanted to bail out early, but was unable to. He would have fit right in at a project management meeting.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Old Stuff

I like old stuff. Why? I have no idea. Most new things are more efficient, cheaper, more useful. But, that doesn’t change me liking old stuff. Here’s just some of it.

I carry a pocket handkerchief and a pocket knife.

My stepfather gave me this 1921 silver dollar that I carry for luck.

My son gave me this pocket watch. I carry it every day. And use it regularly.

I have a bit of a pocket watch collection. From left to right. Far left belongs to my son. The next one is one I bought. The black one is actually tarnished silver. It was a gift from my mother to my father. The watch fob belonged to my grandfather. The white faced watch next to that belonged to my other grandfather. The one on the end of the board was another gift from a kid. And the watch in the glass case belonged to my great-grandfather. Oh, and the wooden display board was made by my daughter.

Lots of history in that picture.

This is what people used before we had calculators and smart phones. This is a slide rule. It’s the tool that engineers used to put a man on the moon.

I not only own a slide rule, I can use it. (Okay, I can only multiply an divide.)

I’ve typed on this old type writer. As a writer, I have to admit I appreciate my computer and iPad. Corrections are SO much easier. But, still the typewriter has a place of honor in my office.

No, this isn’t any sort of incense or drug picture. It’s a wax seal that imprints the Masonic image. And that’s a wax stick. And that’s a traditional Zippo lighter.

A leather journal and a fountain pen? Of course.

This looks old, but is actually very modern. This entertainment center is bluetooth enabled, has a CD player, a cassette player and of course, can play records. I own three.

Here’s another new thing that looks old. This is a replica deck of 1865 playing cards. I play solitaire with these.

These books look old and they are old. These are Tyler Ledgers for Story Lodge #4. The books cover attendees from the years 1896 through 1910. I’m the historian for Story Lodge #4. These are irreplaceable.

Do I NEED to lock my rolltop desk with a large brass key?

No.

Do I lock my rolltop desk with a large brass key?

Just about every day.

Even my car is old. It’s a 1996 Toyota Corolla. It’s manual transmission, manual windows, manual doorlocks.

I just like the old stuff.

Of course, if you ask my kids, they’d say I just like stuff as old as me. . .I’m not sure they are wrong.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The Stories I Don’t Tell

“Why did you make the donations anonymously? “

“Because I wanted to remain ANONYMOUS!”

– Absence of Malice

I’m a writer. Okay, you probably guessed that by all the words I write here every Monday through Friday. But, I also write short stories (coming next spring in an anthology.) I write for the local newspaper. (Okay, it’s a monthly, but it still has to fill its pages. I write journals. I have three currently; a collection of spiritual events (weddings, sons going on missions, etc), one that is a list of 40 life history questions, and one that is for other thoughts and musings. I also write prayers for my Mason’s lodge. And my kids gave me a “Journaling” service for Christmas last year. I get an interesting question every Monday. Such as “What’s your favorite vacation memory?” Or, “Tell me about one of the best days you can remember.” At the end of the year, they are going to put it all into a book and send it to me.

Sometimes the question is something I can answer immediately. Sometimes it takes me a few days to think through it.

But, last week I got one that I just can’t answer. It asked, “Have you ever given or been the recipient of a random act of kindness?”

Okay, the simple answer, is that “Yes, I have. Next!” But, the idea is to give a longer, more interesting answer. And that’s clearly an interesting question. We love to hear about random acts of kindness. They help restore our faith in the world.

Remember Mike Ilitch? He founded Littel Caesars Pizza. But, he’s possibly better remembered for the fact that he paid Rosa Parks rent for the last ten years of her life.

But, here’s the thing, he didn’t do it for the fame. In fact, it wasn’t until after she died that we even heard about it. Ilitch clearly wanted to keep it anonymous.

And that’s what makes it so hard for me to answer this question. With s much writing as I do, as many stories as I tell, I don’t tell those stories. Not even to my wife or my friends. Maybe it’s a false sense of nobility. Maybe, (I think this is what Nietzsche would say) I do it to feel good about myself. To somehow feel noble?

I like to think it’s more Christian than that. Jesus said,

1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2. Therefore when thou doesn’t thine all self, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say until you, They have their reward.

3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what they right hand doth:

4. That thine alms may be in secret: and they Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Matthew Chapter 6

But, if that’s why I don’t talk about it, am I really doing any better? Am I doing it so that I can get heavenly blessings? That doesn’t seem very charitable, does it?

I had an opportunity just tonight to help someone out. The person said, “God bless you.” My thought was “God bless us all.” The person I was helping needed God’s blessing more than I do right now.

Yes, I’ve been the recipient of random acts of kindness. More than I could ever say or deserved. And I’ve tried to pay that back and pay it forward. But, despite being a loudmouth writer with WAY too much to say, I think those are stories I’m going to keep for myself.

I hope you go about quietly doing good. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to help others, even if it’s just a smile or a kind word. And I’ll understand if you want to retell that story. Like everyone, I love hearing those stories.

I just don’t tell them.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Saying Goodbye For Two Years. . .or Why Do Mormons Serve Missions?

I said goodbye to my son today. I gave me a hug and told him I was proud of him. I won’t be able to hug him again for 23 months.

My son is 18 years old. He turns 19 in a couple months. Last year he graduated from Pleasant Grove High School where he played on the football team and did his best to pass all his classes.

He has a serious girlfriend who lives North of Salt Lake City. He also has two best friends from high school. He wants to go to a Utah university and study criminal justice to become a police officer. Specifically he wants to be a SWAT team member.

So, why is he putting all of that on hold for the next two years?

You’ll have to go with me into Mormon theology and culture a little bit. If you aren’t interested, that’s fine. Tomorrow I will probably be back to writing about cars, or campouts. And if you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I don’t expect you to understand. If you are a member, then you already know.

The church has always been a missionary church. From the time the church was founded in 1830, men have been going on missions. You’ve seen them. They are the clean cut young men (and women) in white shirts and ties with those black name tags.

They all seem to have the same first name: Elder. Elder is a priesthood office in the church. As a full time missionary, young men are also full time representatives for the church and for Jesus Christ himself. Elder is the priesthood authority that they hold.

The boys have actual names, of course. But, for two years they will be known as Elder. My son has a name tag that says Elder Bliss.

My son will go to the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah for the next two weeks. After that he will get on a plane and fly to Philadelphia. That’s the area that he will spend the next two years preaching.

Missionaries have a pretty simple mission. They are 100% focused on sharing information about Jesus Christ. Will they talk about the Book of Mormon? Joseph Smith? Tithing and not smoking or drinking?

Of course. The Book of Mormon is a book that has many, many stories about Jesus Christ. In fact, the subtitle of the book is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Joseph Smith? He was the founder of the Mormon church and the first prophet of modern times. Just as ancient prophets received revelations for the people living throughout history, modern prophets receive revelations for people today. Joseph Smith was the first prophet of modern times. Today there is a prophet named Russell M. Nelson. Elder Bliss will talk about him too.

There are some pretty strict requirements to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have to give up alcohol, tobacco, even coffee. Why? Well, that’s another (long) discussion, but mostly because of those modern revelations I talked about.

So, is a missionary just out there to get more converts for the Mormon church?

No. In fact, there are some missionaries that don’t preach at all. Really, it’s about sharing the Word of God. In fact, if you have no intention of EVER joining the church, but you still would like to hear a message about Jesus, the missionaries will be happy to engage at whatever level you would like.

My son has planned on going on a mission since he was a little boy. Tithing, giving one tenth of your income to the church, is a well established practice in the Church of Jesus Christ, as it is in many churches. Many young men view a mission almost as a service tithing. Ten percent of your first 20 years.

My son’s friends will likely still be his friends when he gets back. His girlfriend? Let’s not even go there. He’ll apply to a university. He’ll move on to the next phase of his life. A phase that many young men enter right out of high school. He’ll be two years old. Hopefully, a little wiser.

But, he’ll also be a different person. Spending two years serving the people of Philadelphia will have an impact.

Good luck and Godspeed, Elder Bliss.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

All I Want To Do Is Watch Baseball

Sorry, I realize very few of you, my faithful readers are baseball fans. I try to limit the amount of words I put down on this electronic paper talking about America’s pastime. And honestly, whatever I write today will be in the bottom of the birdcage tomorrow. Baseball is like that. With 162 game regular season, there’s a baseball game every day, with few exceptions from April through October.

Have you ever watched a car race? Indianapolis 500, or the Daytona 500, or example? That race is 500 miles long and often the ending is decided by a handful of seconds. Sometimes baseball seasons are like that. They play for six months and the season can be decided in the last few days.

My favorite team, the Seattle Mariners are in that position. They have four games left. And they are 1/2 game away from qualifying for the playoffs. (Don’t worry too much about what a “half game” means. I don’t really understand it either. Well, I do, but well enough to explain it.)

So, here we are, the last week of September, and the Mariners, the team that has the longest playoff drought (20 years) and the only MLB team to NEVER attend the World Series is fighting for a chance to keep playing after game 162 records its final out.

I know those of you who aren’t baseball fans, don’t care. And even those of you who are, many of you support some team besides the Mariners. But, this week is why I love being a baseball fan. It will all be over in week. Even if they win, it will be the playoffs, a whole new season.

But, for now. . .it’s wonderful.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Buy Based On 1 Star Reviews!

Does anyone buy anything without reading through the reviews any more? Seems like our entire lives are governed by those little stars. And of course, fractions. Who knew you could cut a star in half? Isn’t that like trying to dig half a hole?

You probably look for products with the highest rating. And don’t misunderstand, so do I. But, if you really want to find out about a product look at the 1 star reviews. Someone really has something to say if they only give a single star.

Those 1 Star reviews will quickly tell you what COULD go wrong with your purchase. You aren’t going to get that from the 5 star reviews. “Everything was great. Perfect even!” Okay. Good to know.

The low reviews fall into a couple different categories. First, are the ones that aren’t really the company or the products fault.

“I didn’t realize this was only available in black.”

“Keyboard will not fit comfortably into my workspace.”

“Noisier than I expected.”

These can provide valuable information. Noisy? Oh, I was going to put this in the baby’s room. Black? Yeah, that’s not going to work well with her pink themed room.

The other type of low reviews are when somehow the company or the product screwed up.

“Arrived missing parts.”

“Will turn on but only runs for 5 min before it overheats.”

“Had someone else’s picture instead of my baby’s.”

These are the most valuable reviews. Because they tell you if the company will make it right. Did someone from the company add a comment saying,

“Please let us know what parts are missing and we’ll get those out to you right away.”

“Please call our customer service number and provide them the model number. We’ll be happy to help you figure out the issue.”

“Please send me your order number and I’ll track down the correct item.”

The opposite could happen as well. You might see plenty of comments saying, “Same thing happened to me.” Or “Called support never heard back.” People who are unhappy are always willing to tell you about it. If they are telling you, then listen.

However, obviously if a company has ONLY negative reviews, don’t buy from them. But, if a company has a good review score, it’s still worth checking out the unhappy customers. It will tell you the worst that can happen.

If a product doesn’t have any 1 star reviews I get a little suspicious. It might actually be the thing that makes me move on and shop elsewhere.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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