We love it when small businesses get their own back on fake and malicious ‘reviews’. There’s just something really satisfying about an eloquent and damning exposé of the true story; that perfect response which gloriously denies an entitled customer’s childish thirst for petty revenge.
Image credits: David Reber (not the actual photo)
It seems that the last refuge of the scoundrel is to play the victim when things go awry between customer and business owner; when the customer has no valid case to fall back on, they lash out in an attempt to ‘destroy’ the business by forever tainting them with the stink of racism.
Exactly this happened recently at Blade & Timber KC, an axe-throwing facility located in Leawood, Kansas (They have five other facilities located across the US).
Someone calling themselves George B. clearly didn’t have a great experience there and decided to write a damning review about it on Yelp.
Clearly looking for Jordan to get the sack, George was quick to point out his friend’s cultural background as the reason for the group getting kicked out.
Luckily Matt Baysinger, CEO & Co-Founder of Blade & Timber, remembers them all too well and was quick to respond with the full story. Because there always is a full story in these cases.
Now that, my friends, is how to respond to malicious reviews. A logical explanation, a thorough dressing-down and a generous and cheeky offer to the Hispanic community, just to ram the point home. Racism my ass, George.
Speaking to Matt kindly gave a little further context to the story. “This particular group was not acting ‘unsafely’, aside from attempting to share beers with underage throwers,” he told us. “We have video footage of these guests trying to pass beers around whenever our coach turned their back to help a thrower. They weren’t just being stupid, they knew what they were doing was wrong, and when we caught them and removed them from our facility, they wanted to get back at Blade & Timber.”
Now alcohol is obviously an important issue in a place like this; people want to relax and have fun but, you know, axes are sharp. You can have a couple of beers while hurling your axe around, but there are clearly defined limits to boozing.
“The top comment on nearly every article about axes and alcohol is, “What could go wrong,” Matt explained. “It’s a fair question for our relatively new industry.
“Our Blade & Timber team has created an incredibly controlled environment to ensure our guests are safe and have fun while throwing axes. Coaches are required to pass a safety test through AxeSafety.com and complete additional training before serving alcohol. Everyone who comes to our facility signs a waiver and agrees to our facility policies. During check-in, we check IDs of all guests who want to drink.”
“We have a strict “no shenanigans” policy that pertains to folks who are drinking (and people who might get the idea to be stupid without alcohol.) We cut everyone off after three drinks from our bar (beer only, 6% ABV or lower) and our coaches are empowered to decline service if they believe safety could be compromised. Knowing Blade & Timber provides employment to so many staff members, we take the enforcement of our alcohol policies and safety rules very seriously.”
It turns out that someone else from the group had an axe to grind too, coming at revenge plan from a different angle
“We make an effort to respond to as many reviews as we can. Many businesses like ours live and die by reviews, especially in a new industry,” Matt continued. “Generally speaking, our Blade & Timber managers reply to the reviews and thank people for their feedback or enthusiasm.”
“This was a special case where I wanted to personally address the seriousness of the accusation, and do my best to paint a clearer picture with facts. Before responding, I watched footage of the entire incident. It was very clear our coach, Jordan, handled the situation with the respect and professionalism we expect from all Blade & Timber staff members.”
“In short, these customers were upset that we threw them out for underage consumption and made a fake review saying that we were promoting hatred. Oftentimes, first impressions mean everything for a small business, and we hated the idea that people might read a fake review and get the wrong idea of Blade & Timber.”
“I think we received so much support after posting the response because the response spoke to the facts and took an unequivocal stance again racism while calling out someone “crying wolf” in an attempt to punish a business for enforcing the law.”
Here’s a translation of the offer to the Spanish-speaking community
Matt told us that the promo code has been live for just 24 hours, and he hopes that folks take them up on the offer!
“My Spanish is a bit rusty, so I asked one of our bilingual staff members to help me not sound like a Google-translated robot, he chuckled. “I also knew if Fake George was dumb enough to try supplying beer to a minor and lie about it in a fake review, he’s probably dumb enough to not recognize us making fun at his expense (in Spanish, of course.)”
“We could have shared his real name or a video of the incident, but making sure that everyone knows “George es un mentiroso” is a lot more fun. We’re not in the business of trying to ruin someone’s image online like he attempted to do to us.”
Here’s what people had to say about the episode
What do you think? Was this a good way to respond to the dishonest review? Have you ever tried axe throwing? Would you like to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!