I have been a customer and wrong at the same time. I consume a lot of media, a lot of free stuff too and you won’t hear me complain about the free stuff a lot apart from banter or if I really care. It happens to the best of us.

Just recently for some reason I thought I bought Dragon Age: Origins on a sale, it was downloaded and ready to play. Being at home for 3 weeks plus, it was time for me to fire it up, but no, error codes everywhere. So I did the thing, that I thought might fix it, deleted the game and as I was about to download it again, it prompted me to pay again, bummer!

So I chatted to the super friendly and helpful Microsoft support. Seriously, they are friendly and great and I can tell they do their best. Even some of the standard but make-you-feel-good replies are fun ‘Love your gamertag!’ – maybe they really do :-). Turns out, somehow this game downloaded, but no transaction went through and I haven’t payed for it. So I left it at that and apologized for my mistake (I could have checked that in due time) and moved on to other games.

I haven’t spend a dime and somehow lost out on a good deal, but whatever. Life goes on. I could have checked.

Now on to why I am writing this. This video:

Zei Wei presented by Mamahuhu and a lot of awesome people involved.

It made me cry. It made me think and hit a nerve. It also made me sad that somehow (most of the time for male-male friendships) we find it so hard to say ‘I love you’ and for a reason that is not depicted here either and I understand that might be misunderstood anyway (so that might be just me). It does however happen in one of my favorite comedies of all time: Superbad. There we have crude humour and penis jokes and all kinds of below the belt fun, but the movie hits all the marks when it comes to friendship too and the love we have for the same sex and how that should be articulated and how it does that one time in the movie.

I am going in the wrong direction though. So this movie has been produced by a brilliant team of friends, who I know a couple of and they are fantastic human beings. Obviously they put time, effort and thought into this little short.

The acting comes off as natural for the most part and so does the dialogue, but what is completely spot on, is that feeling, that feeling of having to let go, of being left alone here or wherever else.

So these amazing people put this video out for free. For everyone to enjoy. The consumers out of the sudden are free to voice whatever they think and we all know the ‘opinions are like assholes saying’, so out they come and shit on this. I mean it is the internet. It is Reddit and Youtube, but wow, this made me sad and mad = smad!

This short hit me, because it describes an all too familiar feeling and tugs on my heartstrings here and I am sure for a lot of other people too. It’s a short that possibly describes best (without having known that I want to describe that before) to friends and family how hard it can be to live here in Shanghai sometimes – the possibly worst part that affects us (or maybe just me) on a deeply personal level.

Maybe people don’t like to feel that way or maybe people on the internet like to belittle other people (I am sure they do), so someone for example said: ‘this is not China or Shanghai specific thing, this is part of growing up and happens for everyone’. No, it doesn’t and your voice on the internet doesn’t speak for everyone. I have lived in different cities and personally this descibes 98% of what it feels like to be left here or go away and leave friends, as I have done both.

I dread the day, I will inevitably leave Shanghai and hope it is far away but also hope it has only a few of these hard goodbyes in the meantime.

There are people you stay in contact with in life with just a good wish on your birthday or you are the one that leaves one for them and that is fine. Some of who we lose contact with or stay in contact or keep being close friends with – with or without contact inbetween and all of this is just fine and part of life.

What I don’t like is shitting on content. Especially shitting on free content. Shitting on service when it’s provided in a friendly manner and with a good heart.

Here some people put some sweat, blood and tears in video and get shit on by salty people. If you don’t have anything nice to say for free content, then by all means, feel free to keep your opinion where it comes from: your behind.

I don’t say: no one should be able to critique something that is provided for free nor help them to get better, that can all be said in a fine tone and can be led with ‘I find/In my opinion/I liked this, but would have liked/loved to’ and so on – you get it. if you are are decent human. But boy, was I smad.

So this was personal, as I know some people behind this and even more so because it is free.

Now let’s look at a game – Destiny – is a great example. I get it that people where made having paid 120 US-Dollars or maybe more and wanting to love this output and having doubts in part 2 (that seems to have improved on all the major problems), that releases on PS4 and Xbox One today, but you can chose to not pay for the second instalment or look or ask around and form an opinion before paying and wasting time and money on a product. Vote with your wallet and feel free to voice your opinion.

I have seen and spend money on things I ended up not enjoying too much, but it made me smarter. Still I am trying to find something positive to justify the time and money spent to myself. Sometimes it hurt, the wallet or my feelings, but I see it most of the time as my mistake first, then try to see if it is in my power (or should be or worth the hassle or justified) to speak up and try to make it better, most of the time it is not worth it nor will other people learn or have a better experience, so why bother?). If you can change a situation and something is clearly bullshit or someone is bullshitting or scamming you or other people then check if that is true and you are not wrong then speak up and depending on the severity one can still be decent in voicing the then important opinion. I think that is much healthier than being a salty asshat on the internet for ages.

Of course this is me ranting and I am fragile when it comes to rude critisim of my work in this blog for example hence me not posting, that I posted on reddit anymore, I gave that more (and of course too much) weight compared to positive reactions, as it is less common for people to go out of their way to show appreciation. There is not enough Burnilein’s out there that have nice things to say and too many salty asshats. And I change the world with that, my world, starting with me. It’s written in ink on my skin. I make it a habit to appreciate and thank nice people, friends and even companies. With reviews and a message or a simple ‘thank you’ to the face or even the ‘I love you’ which I am not afraid to say, because I am aware of my sexuality and don’t care much what others think of that part of me.

Don’t be an asshat! Be nice and know that you are not always right. Working in customer service, the real nice people get the best service – I make sure of that, because that is what I wanted for me. No one I treat like an asshat, but there are people behind every product. Stop shitting on free stuff. Try to enjoy it. Try to see the good that is being done for your enjoyment. I do and I try.

Be the voice of the voiceless and use the energy to thwart bullshit instead or for some nice words, but hey, they don’t cost as much energy, they are basically free.

2 thoughts on “The customer (or consumer sometimes, as a lot of stuff is free) is always right!

  1. I don’t often get the chance to read reviews of my work, especially longer than a sentence or two.

    Thanks man, I’m really glad it touched you and the positives we’ve got from people far outweigh the negatives.

    1. Much obliged! So glad the positives outweigh the negatives and thanks a ton for the comment. Keep it up and most of all please keep going on chugging material out like this.

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