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’13 Reasons Why’: TV Review

Netflix’s teen suicide drama — directed and executive produced by Tom McCarthy (‘Spotlight’), among others — tackles its touchy subject in a thoughtful and interesting way.

In their song, “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It),” the fictional band Big Fun mused, “Every little thing, every little thing has a place in the big picture.” Heathers, the 1989 movie that birthed that classic song, was darkly comic, but Big Fun’s words are also the theme of Netflix’s far more somber new drama 13 Reasons Why, which takes a butterfly-effect view of teenage suicide in the 21st century.

A steady 13-episode descent into grief and emotional confusion, 13 Reasons Why is an honorably mature piece of young-adult adaptation, fleshing out Jay Asher’s well-regarded novel in a way that allows its cold-hearted high-school environment to breathe while revolving around tremendous lead turns by Dylan Minnette and particularly Australian newcomer Katherine Langford.

The series begins at a high school going through the motions of grieving the late Hannah Baker (Langford) — locker shrines, sad-faced selfies and “know the signs” classroom lectures.

“Some things, you know, just don’t have simple explanations, right?” Hannah says from beyond the grave.

Before she ended her life, Hannah recorded a series of cassette tapes explaining her actions and then set into motion an elaborate chain-letter system to pass the tapes along to the people she deemed partly responsible, one by one. The tapes, accompanied by a map leading the listeners to key locations, recount a snowballing series of experiences ranging from somewhat innocuous youthful callousness to bullying and shaming to sexual assault. The exchange of the tapes is being monitored by an initially unknown source, and it forges a web of secrecy among those accused.

We join the story as the tapes make their way to Clay (Dylan Minnette), a mopey nice guy who had a crush on Hannah and can’t believe he had anything to do with her death. Clay begins to freak out when he hears some of what was done to Hannah, causing him to run afoul of the more culpable people on the tape, who don’t want their circle of trust widened to include parents or law enforcement.

The novel was written a decade ago and has, if anything, become more relevant. It’s not like high school was ever a universally loved period, and kids have always been picking on each other and tormenting each other and ruining an already vulnerable time. What has changed, and continues to change rapidly, is the blurring of public and private among people whose sense of decency and decorum hasn’t fully matured. Sexting and revenge porn and cyber-bullying were nascent when Asher published his book. We’ve only become more entrenched in a social media world that gives the illusion of connectivity, but can just as easily be isolating.

Asher’s book is structured as almost a back-and-forth conversation between Hannah’s taped narration and Clay’s increasingly stressed perspective, all told in one miserable night. The title suggested a clean episodic structure, except that as Tony and Pulitzer-winning writer Brian Yorkey would have quickly discovered, some of the individual vignettes wouldn’t have sustained an hour of television. This forced the expansion of many of the surrounding teen characters, including Alisha Boe’s spiraling cheerleader Jessica, Christian Navarro’s car-loving Tony, Michelle Selene Ang’s Type-A Courtney, Justin Prentice’s slimy BMOC Bryce, Miles Heizer’s approval-starved Alex and more. Since the young actors are less familiar, the roles for the parents have been expanded enough to lure veterans like Brian D’Arcy James, Kate Walsh and Mark Pellegrino, while Derek Luke and Steven Weber play key figures at the school.

The expansion is a mixed bag. The teenage cabal of somewhat-connected conspirators adds a threatening thriller aspect that absolutely propels the narrative, but pushes the show from relatable “This could happen anywhere” mournfulness toward a different genre. Similarly, boosting the profile of the parents gives some of the actors, especially Walsh, tough, powerful material, but having Hannah’s parents pursuing legal action against the school pulls 13 Reasons Why into another ill-suited genre.

The added plotlines seem at least partially intended to make a second season a possibility, even though the 13 episodes, all sent to critics, are amply conclusive. I understand why these embellishments, none truly bad, were required to make a TV series from Asher’s book, which also required no sequel, but diluting the razor-focus of the Hannah-Clay back-and-forth structure also dilutes the clarity of the cause-and-effect that Hannah’s tapes are meant to illustrate.

For all the newly shaded supporting parts — Heizer, Navarro and Boe stand out among the high school ensemble — the show belongs to Minnette and Langford, and it shines when it retains Asher’s focus. Hannah’s journey of humiliation, thwarted hope and misery is a horrible one, but Langford’s heartbreaking openness makes you root for a fate you know isn’t possible. The actress’ performance is full of dynamic range, setting it against Minnette’s often more complicated task in differentiating between moods that mostly go from uncomfortable to gloomy to red-eyed, hygiene-starved despair. (Compared to the book, Clay is also much less a dippy innocent here, which I really appreciated.) Minnette is so dedicated to playing despondent that the relief and pleasure in brief scenes of flirty banter between Hannah and Clay is palpable.

Any levity is rare, though. Teens are the intended core of the 13 Reasons Why audience, but this is a show that believes teens are capable of watching the things teens are capable of doing. The treatment of rape, cruelty and the show’s inciting event are unflinching. A Sundance-friendly gallery of directors including Tom McCarthy, Gregg Araki and Carl Franklin keeps the performances grounded and the extremes from feeling exploitative, and holds together a story that jumps around in time, withholds key pieces of information from viewers and weaves in mentally distressed fantasy sequences.

As a series, 13 Reasons Why advocates strongly for communication and basic human decency and shows many of the ways friends and loved ones failed Hannah. If it falls short in exploring the role of depression in Hannah’s situation, the accompanying 30-minute “Beyond the Reasons” episode makes up some of that ground. The conversation-advancing special includes necessary outreach information, expert analysis, behind-the-scenes footage and features executive producers Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey. It’s a valuable capper to a well-acted series that’s difficult to watch, yet always highly watchable.

Cast: Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Brandon Flynn, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Michelle Selene Ang, Justin Prentice, Devin Druid, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Tommy Dorfman, Sosie Bacon, Kate Walsh, Brian D’Arcy James, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke.
Creator: Brian Yorkey

Showrunners: Brian Yorkey and Diana Son
Premieres: Friday (Netflix)

Yelp Reviews Disappeared! Here’s Why, and How to Solve It

November 22, 2020

See customer feedback from over 100 review sites in one place

The Problem: Your Yelp Reviews Have Disappeared

Yelp is one of today’s most popular and influential review sites.

Reviews and ratings on your business page have the power to shape your brand reputation, influence consumer behavior, and even improve your search engine visibility.

Sometimes, though, these reviews go missing from your Yelp business page .

This can be frustrating. Imagine a Yelp user arriving at your business page without being able to read a positive review posted by one of your most loyal customers.

Has this issue affected your business? Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.

“My Yelp Reviews Disappeared!”: Why This Happened

There are a number of reasons why a Yelp review has disappeared. Let’s break down some of the most common ones:

The review is fake.

The most obvious reason for Yelp removing a review from a business page is that the review is fake.

While the site does not typically take sides in factual disputes, Yelp moderators can independently verify questionable reviews that have been flagged and reported. For reviews deemed by moderators to be fake, the result is removal of the review from the Yelp business page.

The author deleted the review.

If the author deleted the review, you will not be able to get the review back, regardless of whether it was positive or negative. The only way you can have it displayed again on your Yelp page is if the author writes the exact same review.

Yelp removed the review because it violated content guidelines.

  • There should be no threats or hate speech in any review.
  • There should be no conflicts of interest in a review. So if a consumer posts a review on a relative’s business site, for example, then it’s against Yelp’s content guidelines.
  • There should be no promotional content found in a Yelp review.
  • Review content should be relevant to the business.
  • Review content shouldn’t violate another person’s privacy. For example, a review shouldn’t contain a photo of other customers without their permission.
  • The review must be original.

So what kind of reviews does Yelp accept? “The best reviews are passionate and personal,” according to Yelp. “They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers.”

Yelp filtered the review.

Yelp filters reviews if the review is considered “not recommended.” The Yelp review filter was built to make sure reviews are as unbiased and organic as possible.

According to Yelp, “Every review is automatically evaluated by Yelp’s recommendation software based on Quality, Reliability, and User Activity.”

The review could be filtered if:

  • The reviewer does not have a complete profile
  • The reviewer does not have social integration
  • The reviewer has only positive reviews
  • The review was submitted from an IP located somewhere else
  • The reviews are originating from the same computer
  • The reviewer does not have Yelp friends

Yelp says that it regularly evaluates the reviews caught by its filter, so that a filtered review can still be reinstated once it’s proven to be legitimate and written by a trustworthy Yelp user. That’s why, if you’re monitoring the reviews on your Yelp listing’s review tab, you’ll notice some come and some go. The order of reviews can even change, depending on the trustworthiness of the Yelp users who’ve written a review of your business.

Yelp’s review filter should not dissuade your business from trying to garner great reviews by offering excellent products and services, and engaging with your audience by promptly responding to online reviews.

Keep in mind that asking for Yelp reviews is discouraged. Instead, we recommend you spend time engaging with prior reviewers via review responses and building a business rooted in excellence in order to earn your reviews fair and square.

Yelp Reviews Disappeared: What You Can (and Can’t) Do

While it’s hard to say exactly what you can do to make sure Yelp does not remove or filter reviews, we know what you should not do.

If we look at Yelp’s content guidelines, there are a few rules you can follow that will prevent problems of Yelp reviews disappearing from your business page.

  • Don’t use promotional content on your site.
  • Don’t ask for reviews from friends or family.

Make the effort to engage with your customers on Yelp. Respond to their reviews. Listen to their concerns. If you talk with your Yelp community and build relationships, then you’ll get reviews from reviewers who are consistently active on Yelp, who have complete profiles that link to social accounts, who post negative and positive reviews, and who have friends in the Yelp community.

As a business owner, you should also feel free to use your Yelp business account to publicly or directly respond to any inaccuracies in the review.

Click the line of gray text to find your filtered reviews. Then identify the positive ones that you’d like to display publicly on your Yelp business page.

Interact with these reviews by leaving a public comment or sending the customer a direct message. You can also visit the customer’s profile page to add them as a friend, follow their reviews, compliment them on their feedback, and tag their reviews as either Useful, Funny, and/or Cool.

Again, these steps can go a long way in legitimizing your customers as valued and trusted members of the Yelp community.

Follow the Rules

You should also consistently follow Yelp’s content guidelines to prevent Yelp reviews from disappearing on your business page.

  • Don’t use promotional content on your site.
  • Don’t ask customers to review your business on Yelp.

For more information and insights, check out our ultimate guide to Yelp for Business .

Revealed: Five Reasons Why America’s Got Talent Is Fake

It claims to find the best talent this land has to offer but is the show really what we see on the television? Or is there something dark lying just underneath the veneer of competition? Let’s find out.

In September last year, America’s Got Talent concluded its 12th season amid great fanfare and a promise that it would be back next year. And why shouldn’t it be back? Ratings were as good as ever, with the public glued to seeing the realization of American Dream right on their TV screens.

Still, just like every other reality show out there, the show has faced its fair share of accusations over the last decade and so. Some of the accusations went as far as to claim that the show was rigged and that the competition was merely a byword as the judges favored their favorite candidates.

How right were these accusations? Let’s find out.

#1: Contestants’ Backstories aren’t always verified

Remember contestant Timothy Poe from the Season 7? If you do, you may also recall what his backstory was; an Afghan war veteran who nearly lost his life after a grenade burst close to him on the battlefield. That story moved a lot of hearts and tears were also shed to know how a guy who almost lost his life put it back together to get back on the biggest stage reality TV has to offer.

If you were like the majority who believed in America’s Got Talent’s fact-checking department, I’ve got news for you: Ted Poe’s story was false. Worse, the image which Ted used to showcase himself as a soldier fighting in Afghanistan was that of another soldier. To be fair to Ted, he offered an apology after being caught pants down. Sadly, we cannot say the same about America’s Got Talent as, till date, there is no word from them on this story.

#2: The Show Holds the right to exaggerate life stories of its contestants

Ever wondered why almost every contestant’s backstory is so heart wrenching? After all, they are human beings like us, so why don’t they live a stale, uneventful life like most of us? The answer to this question was revealed in a book – which claimed that the show reserves the right to exaggerate the life stories of its contestants anyway it may like.

Worse, cashing in on its reputation as a programme which attracts millions every week, the show signs a contract with the contestants telling them that no matter how the show depicts their stories, they cannot sue it.

#3: It Pits Contestants against One Another For Ratings

Competition is fierce, showcases America’s Got Talent every year, so chivalry goes out the window and only those who are emotionless could survive. Well, as it turns out, while the competition is fierce, the administration of the show works hard to make it as ugly as possible to attract ratings.

Have doubts? Well, in a book titled Inside AGT, Cas Haley, Runner-up of Season 2, claimed that the producers of the show manipulated him and some others to make a female contestant cry in front of the camera.

#4: Many of the contestants are pre-recruited before the show

Nowhere does America Got Talent expends its audition process to showcase that the show is authentic. An anonymous guy (or girl) walks into the audition room, performs their act, and suddenly we’re told that yes, America’s Got Talent!

Well, as you might have guessed already, the show doesn’t work that way. In fact, once again turning to the book mentioned above, some of the former contestants allege that the show’s producers recruit performers before the audition season begins. Consequently, the show saves its time which it would otherwise have to spend trying to comb through a pool of candidates.

#5: Grueling Schedules might be the norm for Candidates

Ever wondered why almost every contestant cries when they are on-stage? Well, of the many reasons that may come to your mind, I’m sure that fatigue might not be there. Still, as alleged by some of the show’s previous candidates, fatigue does play a role.

In fact, as Season 4 Candidate Damien Escobar alleged, contestants were kept in the holding area for 19hours on a stretch. Worse, to make sure that they remained fit to do the job, nurses were on set to give anyone struggling with their health Vitamin B and K shots.

Top 5 Reasons Why ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ Is Wrong

One woman who frequently flew on Southwest was constantly disappointed with every aspect of the company’s operation. In fact, she became known as the “Pen Pal” because after every flight she wrote in with a complaint.

She didn’t like the fact that the company didn’t assign seats; she didn’t like the absence of a first-class section; she didn’t like not having a meal in flight; she didn’t like Southwest’s boarding procedure; she didn’t like the flight attendants’ sporty uniforms and the casual atmosphere.

Her last letter, reciting a litany of complaints, momentarily stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to Herb’s [Kelleher, CEO of Southwest at the time] desk, with a note: ‘This one’s yours.’

In sixty seconds Kelleher wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.'”

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, and is typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.

However, I think businesses should abandon this phrase once and for all — ironically, because it leads to worse customer service.

Here are the top five reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong.

1: It Makes Employees Unhappy

Gordon Bethune is a brash Texan (as is Herb Kelleher, coincidentally) who is best known for turning Continental Airlines around “From Worst to First,” a story told in his book of the same title from 1998. He wanted to make sure that both customers and employees liked the way Continental treated them, so he made it very clear that the maxim “the customer is always right” didn’t hold sway at Continental.

In conflicts between employees and unruly customers he would consistently side with his people. Here’s how he put it:

When we run into customers that we can’t reel back in, our loyalty is with our employees. They have to put up with this stuff every day. Just because you buy a ticket does not give you the right to abuse our employees .

We run more than 3 million people through our books every month. One or two of those people are going to be unreasonable, demanding jerks. When it’s a choice between supporting your employees, who work with you every day and make your product what it is, or some irate jerk who demands a free ticket to Paris because you ran out of peanuts, whose side are you going to be on?

You can’t treat your employees like serfs. You have to value them . If they think that you won’t support them when a customer is out of line, even the smallest problem can cause resentment.

So Bethune trusted his people over unreasonable customers. What I like about this attitude is that it balances employees and customers. The “always right” maxim squarely favors the customer which is a bad idea, because, as Bethune says, it causes resentment among employees.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of bad employees giving lousy customer service but trying to solve this by declaring the customer “always right” is counter-productive.

2: It Gives Abrasive Customers an Unfair Advantage

Using the slogan “The customer is always right,” abusive customers can demand just about anything — they’re right by definition, aren’t they? This makes the employees’ jobs that much harder when trying to rein them in.

Also, it means that abusive people get better treatment and conditions than nice people. That always seemed wrong to me, and it makes much more sense to be nice to the nice customers to keep them coming back.

3: Some Customers Are Bad for Business

Most businesses think that “the more customers the better”. But some customers are quite simply bad for business.

Danish IT service provider ServiceGruppen proudly tell this story:

One of our service technicians arrived at a customer’s site for a maintenance task, and to his great shock was treated very rudely by the customer.

When he’d finished the task and returned to the office, he told management about his experience. They promptly cancelled the customer’s contract.

Just like Kelleher dismissed the irate lady who kept complaining (but somehow also kept flying on Southwest), ServiceGruppen fired a bad customer. Note that it was not even a matter of a financial calculation — not a question of whether either company would make or lose money on that customer in the long run. It was a simple matter of respect and dignity and of treating their employees right.

4: It Results in Worse Customer Service

Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency since bought by American Express, took it even further. CEO Hal Rosenbluth wrote an excellent book about their approach called Put The Customer Second – Put your people first and watch’em kick butt.

Rosenbluth argues that when you put the employees first, they put the customers first. Put employees first and they will be happy at work. Employees who are happy at work give better customer service because:

  • They care more about other people, including customers

On the other hand, when the company and management consistently side with customers instead of with employees, it sends a clear message that:

  • Employees are not valued

When this attitude prevails, employees stop caring about service. At that point, genuinely good service is almost impossible — the best customers can hope for is fake good service. You know the kind I mean: courteous on the surface only.

5: Some Customers Are Just Plain Wrong

Herb Kelleher agrees, as this passage From Nuts! the excellent book about Southwest Airlines shows:

Herb Kelleher [. ] makes it clear that his employees come first — even if it means dismissing customers. But aren’t customers always right? “No, they are not,” Kelleher snaps. “And I think that’s one of the biggest betrayals of employees a boss can possibly commit. The customer is sometimes wrong. We don’t carry those sorts of customers. We write to them and say, ‘Fly somebody else. Don’t abuse our people.'”

If you still think that the customer is always right, read this story from Bethune’s book From Worst to First:

A Continental flight attendant once was offended by a passenger’s child wearing a hat with Nazi and KKK emblems on it. It was pretty offensive stuff, so the attendant went to the kid’s father and asked him to put away the hat. “No,” the guy said. “My kid can wear what he wants, and I don’t care who likes it.”

The flight attendant went into the cockpit and got the first officer, who explained to the passenger the FAA regulation that makes it a crime to interfere with the duties of a crew member. The hat was causing other passengers and the crew discomfort, and that interfered with the flight attendant’s duties. The guy better put away the hat.

He did, but he didn’t like it. He wrote many nasty letters. We made every effort to explain our policy and the federal air regulations, but he wasn’t hearing it. He even showed up in our executive suite to discuss the matter with me. I let him sit out there. I didn’t want to see him and I didn’t want to listen to him. He bought a ticket on our airplane, and that means we’ll take him where he wants to go. But if he’s going to be rude and offensive, he’s welcome to fly another airline.

The fact is that some customers are just plain wrong, that businesses are better of without them, and that managers siding with unreasonable customers over employees is a very bad idea, that results in worse customer service.

So any business needs to put its people first — and watch them put the customers first.

Alexander Kjerulf, the “Chief Happiness Officer,” is one of the world’s leading experts on workplace happiness and the author of Happy Hour is 9 to 5: How to love your job, love your life and kick butt at work.

Alexander is a speaker, consultant, and author with a global following of millions. He runs a consultancy firm offering lectures, workshops, and leadership training with focus on happiness at work for clients including IBM, Hilton, LEGO, HP and Ikea.

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