In April 2010, I had a really bizarre experience. I was at a local pub (RIP O’Shaughnessy’s) with a friend. We were enjoying a pint on the patio when a stranger came over and asked us something random and hilarious. Entertained, we invited him to join us. After another pint, he straightforwardly pointed out that my roots were growing out and I desperately needed my hair colored. Which I knew. This was when he told me he was a hairstylist with his own newly-opened salon in Central Ohio that he was looking to promote. This was when I told HIM that I was someone who likes to help promote new local businesses online. This was when HE offered to take me, straightaway, to his newly opened studio and fix my hair, and asked me to spread the word if I was happy with the experience. I accepted. I mean, who gets the chance for 9pm hair appointments?!
This was the review that I posted shortly thereafter to Yelp. I removed the business name here, but I haven’t deleted the review from Yelp.
Rating: 5 Stars
I had a few too many beers at the bar after work. I was chatting with this guy and he very forwardly offered up that he had what I needed back at his house. Against my better judgment, I went back with him. I walked into his place & he handed me another beer, we smoked a cigarette, and then he sat me down and gave me EXACTLY what I desperately needed…
A cut and color!
Seriously, who picks up a hair stylist at the bar and – at 8pm on a Tuesday after you’ve BOTH been drinking for a loooonggg time – goes to said strangers house for some root touchup? THIS GIRL.
*NAME REMOVED*s salon is a fab space. I expected a basement corner or something – I had no idea what I was getting myself into, see: beer. But NO! A legit studio in an old Victorian duplex in Olde Town East with teal, orange and tope striped walls. Chic. I posted a couple photos.
We listened and danced to Lady Gaga and Cher, took frequent smoke breaks and crushed a six pack. In between all that, somehow, he perfectly matched the color of my hair to my roots, flat-ironed The Beast and gave me a terrific cut.
*NAME REMOVED* himself – hilarious. Snarky. Blunt. My kinda guy.
This posh private experience will set you back $85+. Totally. Worth. It. Call *NAME REVIEWED* and make an appointment immediately!
Yelpers marked the review Useful (6), Funny (8), Cool (5), a fair amount of feedback on Yelp standards. I got a few compliments for it. I added it to a list called “Superb Services” with the best service providers in the city. I think a few people actually made appointments with him because of it. I never went back to him, because I texted him once to inquire about an appointment and he didn’t respond, and I hate calling people. So I moved on.
I had almost forgotten the experience. Until I got this message today:
Hi Cheryl, this is *NAME REMOVED*. I came across your review for my salon (*SALON NAME REMOVED*), and my clients and I are a bit enraged by how you have deferred my reputation. Please be prompt to delete the defermating review, or legal action will be taken. Thank You, *NAME REMOVED*
lolwhat? I wrote you a 5-star review. A long ass time ago. Which you ASKED ME TO WRITE. And which, had I been asked politely, I would have removed without hesitation.
We’ll let it slide that he said “deferred” instead of “defamed.” He followed this up by writing his own review of his business (which Yelp will delete shortly – it’s against their Terms of Service.)
Hi, this is *NAME REMOVED*. I just found out a false review has been written about my salon. I do not know this Cheryl H. woman. I never did her hair, she never same to the salon, and I never “offered” to do her hair. I would not do someone’s hair who was under the influence. I also don’t approach people to do their hair, I usually do referrals. She may have got my photos from my myspace,facebook page, and/or my website and posted these on Yelp. If you want reviews and info, please go to *URL REMOVED*.
Thank you and sorry for this confusion.
The “photos I stole from Facebook” were taken on my cell phone. I have another photo of me IN the studio, with him, somewhere. I hope to find it soon and mail him a print. (UPDATE: See below.)
Either he was so black-out drunk that he does not remember this, or he decided that the way he presented his business to me the first time was no longer how he wished to be viewed by clients and prospects. I stopped laughing long enough at the situation to share a few lessons learned:
1) Monitor the internet continually for your brand.
The fact that it took him over a year and a half to see a review of his business that is ranking #1 for his business name and posted on arguably the most popular review site in existence is astounding to me. There is no business with the same name, so there’s no excuse for missing this. Set up a Google Alert RIGHT NOW for your business name. Monitor review sites for your business. There’s no reason for not knowing what people are saying about you in real-time.
2) If you’re going to ask people to review your business online, you have to accept that you can’t control what they write.
This was a review I was ASKED by the salon owner to write. Obviously I wasn’t obligated to write it, but I wanted to promote good work. I wrote a tremendously positive review of his abilities, adding in my usual snarky style about the atypical experience I had. What did you expect me to do? Lie, and say I made an appointment with you through normal means and everything was sober and regular? If you didn’t want me to share the experience, you shouldn’t have explicitly asked me to several times, or you should have kindly requested that I omit some details. I reviewed MY experience, which was, you know, tipsy.
3) Be consistent in how you present your brand to people.
The first experience a customer has with you is the one they are always going to remember. And the one they are going to tell people about. Don’t do something you don’t want shared, and it won’t be shared. If you don’t want people saying you color hair when you’re inebriated, don’t color hair when you’re inebriated.
4) Don’t threaten to sue people who are advocating you
No explanation necessary.
UPDATE: I found a photo on, funny enough, my Yelp profile of me in the salon. I have placed it next to the photo I “stole from online.” But hey, I probably photoshopped the background in for the sake on sticking to my lie, right?