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Paige: You're listening to Coffee with Gringos. I'm Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. Welcome back to the pod. Today we will be talking about reviews. If you have used a product or service recently, chances are you have either read a review or left a review. As you listen, if you get lost along the way, the transcript and vocabulary guide are on the website to help you out.

Paige: So, hopefully everyone already listened to last week's episode about the sharing economy.

Mariah: Exactly.

Paige: And so, if you did, you know we talked about Airbnb, Uber, MoBike… all of these sharing economy apps. To talk about Airbnb, that is a company that relies and revolves around reviews. The reason the company is so successful is the accountability of reviews.

Mariah: Right, it's that reputation system. Honestly, Airbnb without reviews would not be possible because nobody is going to stay in a complete stranger's house or rent their home to a complete stranger without an evaluation, without somebody saying: "Hey, I stayed with Paige last month! She was a great host, everything was clean, it was an awesome stay. Definitely would stay with her again." Or, you know, on the other side, right? Paige says: "This was an awesome guest, everything was really chill, would host them again." We need those reviews to have the trust that that person is not going to trash our house or that that person's not going to murder us if we stay in their house.

Paige: Exactly, I mean Airbnb is this crazy idea, right? You're opening up your house, your most personal place in the entire world, to a stranger.

Mariah: To a complete stranger.

Paige: And then, the other way is, you are staying at a complete stranger's house. I mean, these are very scary concepts, so you kind of need that review system to be like, ok... like for instance I will not stay at an Airbnb that does not have, y'know, at least 10 good review. Right? If I see a place that has zero reviews, I'm like, "Nope! I don't wanna be the first one to stay there!" Because I have no idea what I'm getting into. I don't know if this host is very reliable, if the apartment's in a great location, if it's clean... all of those things are up in the air. But you go on Airbnb and see 12 reviews, and it's like... great location, the host was responsive, he helped us out with transportation, recommendations for restaurants, the place was immaculate, it was very, very clean, it had all the accessories you need. I mean, that's how I pick places, is reviews.

Mariah: Me too, me too. No, I completely agree, and I also take really seriously the fact that this person is reviewing me... right? With Airbnb, those of you who use the app, you know that before you can read the feedback that they left about you, you need to leave feedback, and so everybody has a stake in the game, and I get really nervous about it because I want to continue using this app all over the world, and if somebody leaves a negative review about me, it's possible that a future Airbnb host will not want to host me, and so I take really seriously that I leave the place clean. I take really seriously that I arrive on time. It's interesting how everybody needs this evaluation system to be successful in order for things to continue functioning smoothly.

Paige: It's the same with Uber. I mean, a lot of people I think don't know this... you rate an Uber driver, but they rate you. Every time that you take a ride, you are given a rating, and so if you go on your app, you have a certain rating as a passenger, so if you go in an Uber and you're really loud, or you're drunk...

Mariah: Or you arrive late...

Paige: Or you're late... or you're just not very respectful, you're gonna get a bad rating. And that affects you! Because less people are gonna wanna give you rides. So, you could be requesting an Uber, and maybe it takes 15 minutes more because your rating isn't very good. Like Mariah said, you know, it's very vulnerable to get in a stranger's car, but you see Francisco has a 4.99 rating and has done 200 rides, and you're like, "Okay, I trust him!" But, if he had a 3.00, you'd probably be like, "Ehhh, I don't really wanna get in his car."

Mariah: I've even cancelled rides before with people that have a 4.5, just because, like you said... getting in a stranger's car is something that I kind of take seriously, and if enough people have given you enough less than 5 ratings... because I usually give a 5 star rating without even thinking. If I arrive safely, if the conversation was fine, if it was a calm ride... 5 stars, no problem. If enough people gave you enough 4, 3 star ratings that you have a y'know 4.4 or 4.5, I don't know if I want to ride with that person! It makes me a little nervous.

Paige: So, it is just something that we really, really take into account.

Mariah: For our listeners who are learning English, reviews are a great way to practice your English. Do you want to buy a product on Amazon or online? Read the reviews. See what people have to say about the product. It's a great way to understand people's opinions, to practice reading opinions, and also for you to decide whether you want to buy that. I'm sure you read reviews in Spanish, right? Try reading them in English. See what people have to say, and then try leaving them in English. It's just a great exercise.

Paige: I agree! I think so many times, too, I rely so much on these reviews, but then I don't give them.

Mariah: Yeah, good point.

Paige: I'm pretty, I think like most, we're pretty bad about it. Where, you know, I bought this amazing jacket, right? I love it, it's great for hiking, it's warm, it's light... all of the great characteristics you want in this jacket. And the reason I bought it was because I read all these reviews that said it was so great, y'know? 5 star, great quality, great price, very durable... but then I get it, I love it, think the same thoughts, and then I don't leave a review!

Mariah: I totally agree.

Paige: Yeah, it's one of those things where we rely on it, but then we don't go that extra mile to think, "Maybe I should leave a review!"

Mariah: Right, right. So, that's our English language challenge for you today. Leave a review in English about a service you've used or a product you've used - whether that's an Airbnb you stayed in or hiking boots that you bought online or a restaurant that you went to... it's a really good idea. Speaking of, I know that this has a big impact on businesses. Let's talk about when reviews go wrong. So, restaurant reviews are a great example of this. If you go on TripAdvisor or Google Reviews - I've noticed is really popular here - and there's this restaurant, and it has a low rating or a really negative review. Things like this can have a really tough impact on restaurants. Sometimes they're justified. And sometimes they're maybe a little harsh! One person had a negative experience, and now a restaurant has to struggle to come back from that tough feedback. I don't know, I think that it was one of the dangers of reviews is you still need to use your brain, and you still sometimes just need to go to a place and see for yourself, right?

Paige: Yeah, I think when it comes to restaurants, it's very, very subjective because you buy a product, and it's usually a good product or a bad product. Y'know, if you want a jacket, it's warm or it isn't. Right? Y'know, there're pretty basic characteristics. But with restaurants, everyone has different styles of food they like. Every day is different. There's new waitstaff, there's new cooks.

Mariah: Some people want really attentive waitstaff that check in with you all the time. Some people wanna be left alone. Our experience at a restaurant or anything related to the service industry is so subjective to our own personal preferences.

Paige: And that day! There could have been something that went wrong just that day, where the service was worse than it normally is.

Mariah: Did the Wi-Fi not work that day? And so then you leave this terrible review for a coffee shop: "Horrible coffee shop. Faulty Wi-Fi. Never returning. Would not recommend." Well, maybe it was the one day of the entire year where their wifi was faulty. That's not fair!

Paige: Yeah, so, I think for me as a customer/consumer. When it comes to products and Airbnbs and Ubers, it's more kind of set in stone. Where, when it comes to restaurants, I feel like every meal is always gonna be cooked a little differently, y'know? Every service is gonna be a little different that day. So, I put a little less weight on the reviews. I think what I love too about reviews, especially for travelling is not only do people leave reviews on TripAdvisor that are like, "This is good" or "This is bad." A lot of the reviews have amazing recommendations! It's like: "Go to this museum! It's amazing! But, go at noon. There's less people. Buy this ticket online at this website... you get five dollars off. Make sure to wait in line at this time."

Mariah: Or: "This is a beautiful lake, make sure to go to the West entrance because there's boat rental." Those are really, really great tips. I know I've used those a million times.

Paige: A lot of my trips have benefitted from those little pieces of advice because if you didn't know that, then you'd waste time or spend all day... and then you'd read it later and be like, "Aw, man!"

Mariah: Exactly. Exactly. So, I think this is a really convenient time to say that something you can rate is a podcast. So, if you've been using Coffee with Gringos, if you like Coffee with Gringos, leave us a review! Practice your English, and leave us a review!

Paige: And that is it for today. Go write that review.

Mariah: Go write that review. Thanks again for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.


Review(s) (noun) - evaluations of a product or service

Example: f you have used a product or service recently, chances are you have either read a review or left a review.

To leave a review (phrase) - to write an evaluation of a product or service

Example: If you like a product or service, it’s important to leave a review.

To rely (verb) - to depend

Example: AirBnb is a company that relies on reviews.

Accountability (noun) - being accountable, responsible

Example: The reason the company is so successful is the accountability of reviews. People are less likely to do stupid things if they know somebody is writing a review about them!

Host (noun) - the owner of a home or apartment who facilitates somebody staying there.

Example: She was a great host, everything was clean, it was an awesome stay.

Guest (noun) - the person who stays in a home, apartment, hotel, etc.

Example: It’s also important to be a respectful guest and not be too crazy when you stay at somebody’s house!

Trash the house (slang, phrase) - when you’re very messy and leave a place in disastrous conditions

Example: We need those reviews to have the trust that that person is not going to trash our house.

Up in the air (idiom, phrase) - uncertain

Example: When a place on AirBnb doesn’t have reviews, I don’t know if it’s clean or safe. Everything’s up in the air!

Immaculate (adjective) - perfect, often used to describe when a place is perfectly clean

Example:  I said in my review that the apartment was immaculate!

To have a stake in the game (idiom, phrase) - to be invested

Example: Because both the host and the guest leave reviews with AirBnb, everybody has a stake in the game.

To rate (verb) - to evaluate something, usually in a numerical way

Example: You rate an Uber driver, but they also rate you. Every time that you take a ride, you are given a rating. For example, my passenger rating is 4.8 out of 5.

Wanna (slang) - want to

Example: If an Uber driver has a really low rating, I don’t really wanna get in that car!

Take into account (phrase) - consider seriously

Example: Reviews are something that we really take into account when making decisions.

Harsh (adjective) - unfair or cruel

Example: Reviews can be a little harsh, especially with businesses like restaurants.

Feedback (noun) - reactions to a product or service

Example: Sometimes people’s negative reviews and feedback are justified, and sometimes it’s unfair!

Waitstaff: Servers who attend to you at a restaurant.

Example: With restaurants, everyone has different styles of food they like. Every day is different. There's new waitstaff, there's new cooks. So, people’s experiences can be different everyday.

Faulty (adjective) - working badly, not functioning well

Example: This is a horrible coffee shop with faulty Wifi.