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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Talk to the banana and tell me how it feels


Yesterday, at my son's graduation commencement, I listened to words of wisdom. Each sentiment was a carefully selected expression of the best advice intelligent people with vast experience might pass on to these young graduates – all full of hopes and dreams but with precious little life experience.

One speaker ended a wonderful delivery with this quote from Maya Angelou:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

A few days ago sellers at Bonanza were notified that the site had launched a new feedback feature they're calling "Transaction Impressions." In it's introduction on the company's blog, CEO Bill Harding remarked: "Of course, we've listened carefully to our seller community and understand that some sellers are wary of feedback systems that can be used against them unfairly.  Specifically, we know that there is a segment of our sellers that would not want Bonanza to introduce a system akin to eBay's "DSR" system...

Well, most sellers were not happy, and they felt management was not listening to their objections to the new feature.  Feeling frustrated and insulted, they offered many, many valid reasons why the feature might actually prove detrimental their businesses. In fact, you can read the comments that were left on the announcement blog here, although several comments were deleted by management so you won't see them. This is actually a common practice that Bonanza Management employs when "listening" to their membership. Had I written this piece on Friday I would also have been able to direct you to similar threads in their site forums, some several pages long, all commenting on the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the new grading system. They too have been wiped from the site. Again, the listening thing.

Leaves a bad feeling... every time.

It is important to note that checkout is still not reliable on the site. Management clearly does not believe their selling site needs a glitch-free system through which purchases might be made, and that is why I do not sell there any longer. And why my commentary is no longer appreciated...

And by the way, the picture cropper that was launched with the new star system was launched broken. The stars themselves do not stick and there are typos in the prompts. But this is typical bonanza style, the speed over perfection model.  A helpful seller pointed out some areas of improvement, but to no avail:

“Sellers communication was helpful & friendly”
please add an apostrophe “Seller’s communication…”
“Shipping time my met expectations”
 switch “my” and “met” to “Shipping time met my exp…”

But back to the issue of feelings.

The purpose of our feelings is so that we will know how to respond to an experience. Our feelings can tell us that a person we are relating to is unsafe, or that a situation is not serving our best interests. Our feelings are filled with important information; information about what is going on in our world and what our response is to those experiences. Our feelings can guide us toward securing our personal safety by getting the heck out of the situation and by setting appropriate boundaries. Feelings are five-star feedback.

So... as the sellers discussed their feelings, some were promptly discounted and deleted by management, such as this one: "I think we would have a better chance keeping buyers if checkout worked all the time and the offers got through to the sellers… buyers will not return when offers are ignored and a seller can not respond when they do not know they exist. I think these two things would do much more to keep buyers than stars.."

Another seller asked: "why? why bother. what’s wrong with the other? isn’t there enough to do or fix around here. most won’t leave feedback because it’s a pain in the rump; now it’ll be a bigger pain in the rump. I just think time and resources should be concentrated it better utilized areas of need..."

Management's reply: "The reason “why” is that it’s a lot easier to keep an existing buyer than to recruit a new one. Every time a buyer has a negative experience, that is a buyer that will probably never return to Bonanza again. In addition to spending money to recruit buyers, features like this will help us to keep the buyers we already have (by giving sellers feedback that let them keep their buyers satisfied)."

Another seller wrote in response: “Of course, we’ve listened carefully to our seller community…” Respectfully, that doesn’t seem to be evidenced today or lately. Of course it is your site and you will implement changes as you see fit. But, please don’t attribute changes to listening to your community."

And then Bill's avatar changed to the fruit picture. It seemed odd, felt "off" to the many who were trying to have an intelligent conversation. ‎This behavior from a guy with a dislike of urinal splashback which he feels the need to speak publicly about (see FB profile) a fondness for the acronym CHUBS (see my blog http://oshunspirit.blogspot.com/2011/04/exploring-core-values-of-ceo-club.html) and not one but two bananas for an avatar that his programmer "made him accept against his will" (see http://www.bonanza.com/blog/main/New_seller_tools__transaction_impressions_and_auto_crop)...

His reply to a seller who mentioned the sudden change: "I know, it’s awful, right? Christopher made me this profile icon and told me I had to use it. Please file your complaint with him so that I can get back to my usual human form."

How's that feel?

Another seller wrote: "Do you also believe that it is a lot easier to keep an existing seller than to recruit a new one… because many of your sellers (your customers) are not as happy as they use to be with a lot of the upgrades and with the way customer service has become.. many sellers who have been here for years have left for varying reasons.. all are dissatisfied with situations on the site… how are you going to help us.. what are you going to implement, or fix to keep your customers??? Many of the sellers who left were also buyers.. and many still here that are thinking of leaving are buyers.. if they leave as a seller you have also lost a buyer."

Management's response: "Your account has been censored on Bonanza for 7 days for expressing negative viewpoints in a non-constructive manner."

Then the blog was closed to all comments.

Talk to the banana...

How's that feel?

Feelings are wired into our most primitive and accurate defense system. They are neurological, biochemical reactions that happen on a cellular level in response to stimuli. They don’t require thinking... by feeling what you feel, you’ll know what you need to do in every situation. They are your guiding star, in fact, the only star you'll ever need.

May you be blessed!  

image credit: Bonanza.com

35 comments:

  1. As always, standing ovation and spot on, right on and hitting the mark perfectly.

    Deb aka jamiro*eclectica

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  2. Very well put as always Susan.

    They really do not care... about the site or customers or people in general.. it's all one big game and one big joke to them

    they are having fun messing with peoples lives and livelihood

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  3. more comments from the blog...I think the added comment thing is just way over the edge. As a buyer, I’ll leave some quick feedback, but I don’t have time to fill-out a questionaie. Here’s a clue, if you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m happy. That being said, I do like to give praise for a job well done, but can’t we just keep it simple? Do we have to be like everyone else?

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  4. As always your post is spot on and insightful. Thank you for sharing your time and talent.

    While reading the blog I noticed the condescending manner used by Mr. Harding and noticed the avatar which if memory serves me has a banana far left, orange and apple and had to wonder if the message was that his customers were comparing apples to oranges, blah, blah, which I perceived as very disrespectful to do something so childish during a time of great stress for many sellers.

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  5. and another comment: well i comment; and thank many for agreeing BUT the down side is we WILL be stuck with this time consuming useless tool for feedback and we will get less than we were before. people just are going to use it and if they do…..the old 4 stars will do because nothing is perfect…………..the old rank out for shipping charges and time because they don’t understand.

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  6. wow..you are an excellent wrtier...get your point across so the regular joe can understand what you mean..I have been missing a lot thats going on...because of my health issues right now.l.but I am trying to read and find out whats going on...I must say that its not very promising...they tried so hard to fix things that werent broken and add things that do us no good at all...all for what reason...I know for a fact that I know of at least 20 sellers right off the bat that have left ....and I'm sure there are many more to follow...thanks for this blog..its helped me tremendously...

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  7. Thank you all for commenting. Pugs, I agree its a game, and many do not realize they are being played. I do not know what the inside joke is on the fruit but it does nothing evoke a sense of respect or trust, not that it is intended to. And thank you Brenda for taking the time to read and comment, I hope your health is improving. My intention in posting is to inform any sellers that are still trying to run their businesses from the venue but might not frequent the site blog. Many I consider friends and many I personally reccommended to the site. Again, my most sincere apologies. I, too, was bamboozled.

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  8. Bonanza is run buy 2 Chub adolescent idiots! They have never listened but they are very good at silencing people. I am so glad I am no longer on there.. The site is turning into bBay the child of eBay!

    Bonanza is all about cover-up.. they remove negative feedback, any comments they don't like. They have also removed many sellers because they brought up the fact that certain things on the site are not working. If you sell on Bonanza then don't complain that a feature or checkout isn't working or they will slap you shut and kick your ass off the site..

    Soon Bonanza will be no more and I will be waiting. It looks like they stopped their feed to Power Sellers Unite. Are they trying to hide the fact that many are leaving? LOL

    They better wake up because word of mouth is what made them and it can break them as well!!!!

    I suggest if anyone is still selling on Bonanza and wants to leave a comment, you should do it anonymous to protect yourself!

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  9. Thank you Shopatusm, that is VERY important info, current sellers should post anonymously because "Seattle" monitors this blog and has been known to hunt from it.

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  10. and another comment by a Very Fine Seller of High End Items that has been on Bonanza since it's inception...yet, they listen not:

    Totally hate the star system, it will remind everyone, buyers & sellers, of eBay. Hello, IF anyone has a negative experience, I hope they would just TELL me, and I would, of course, do everything/ anything to make it right. Stars are not a good way of communicating…ugh…can we opt out? HATE HATE HATE this…just sayin’

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  11. Standing ovation, Bravo!

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  12. Everyone who is having problems with Bonanza should file a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau!

    http://www.bbb.org/western-washington/business-reviews/internet-selling-services/bonanza-in-kirkland-wa-22476619

    These complaints should go on record so people can see what this company is all about... This is what the BBB is for.

    File them complaints people and let your voices be heard!

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  13. absolutely spot on and truthful. Paula

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  14. Those fruits will decompose and rot shortly just by the natural process of Karmic law. No one has to worry unless we have not taken out the garbage when they started stinking.

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  15. maybe the banana is his way of telling you he is "top banana"

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  16. maybe magnoloaglitz, I'm sure it is code for something...

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  17. From the Bonz forums http://www.bonanza.com/topics/163048?forum_id=9&page=1, mamagements answer to the fact that only 4 out of 5 stars show is, "There are two possibilities here. First one is the most likely and that would be that this is a bug and that we need to get that fixed (reported). Although knowing Bill, there is a slight possibility (very very slight), that this is by design because no one is perfect (cackle)." Locked, no further comments allowed. Its always a big game on Bonanza, and you might just lose your business, home and reputation if you play long enough.

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  18. Virginia B. (former seller)May 23, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Susan, thanks for more insight - and peeling the banana.

    Have to add: IMO comments that are removed invalidate the feelings of those that have them. So why does Bz bother to allow comments?

    Condescending and arrogant remark to sellers that are having difficulty navigating the glitches, and may be without sales. From the Bonanza blog:

    "We can only hope that you will use that time to go sell some lemonade or brownies to save enough money to come hang out with us in Vegas in June. What's fair is fair, right?" -

    The avatar change from CEO to fruit merits your perfect title for this blog - Talk to the banana and tell me how it feels. Further erosion of confidence that sellers should have in a professional relationship.

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  19. Reading this morning, I found this comment, and I think it so eloquently sums up the bonz experience and begs the deeper question, why do you allow such disrespect in your life?

    "When measured out into minutes and hours, The time it ‘takes’ for BNZA staff to (theoretically) FIX a ‘glitch’ is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compared to all of the HOURS and Hours and Hours and Hours and Hours it takes booth holders to keep messing around with listings to fix the errors.

    I for one am tired of the word GLITCH when it comes to software. The real word is either Incompetent Software, Beta Software that hasn’t been proven to work, or We Just Don’t Know What We are Doing but we’ll try it out anyway.

    It is disrespectful to throw trash out to feed a group of hungry people, says Prettydog."

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  20. This is worthy of a Saturday Night Live Skit! Cracks me (and many others up, thank you for the constant giggles). I wonder what a counselor would say for you to speak of your son's great achievement in one breath, and then your disdain for Bonanza in the very next sentence. I would think that your sons achievement should stand alone and get it's own blog post and it should not be used to echo your consistent gripes you have with how a private business (yes, that is right, a private business) operates. To your son: Congratulations and best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

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  21. Well, Bonz Cheerleader (and I do recognize your writing style) I am glad to have become a source of entertainment to you and your many others. And thank you also for your concern for my health. While my children's achievements certainly merit attention, it has always been my practice to draw on a vast diversity of experiences for my blog posts – this one about self respect – including business, community, national, and planetary activities. I am sorry you did not reap more benefit from the passage. Perhaps another day!

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  22. Actually, I stand corrected Seattle, but great impersonation of your most devoted. You should be on Saturday Night Live with me! Cheers!

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  23. Anonymous said...WHAT?? What??? I can't hear you if you are too underhanded and chicken to stand behind your words.

    "This is worthy of a Saturday Night Live Skit! Cracks me (and many others up, thank you for the constant giggles)."

    Please don't sully the name of SNL with your chicken post. At least they have the integrity to let us know who they are speaking of and who is speaking. You obviously don't! LOL

    If you are not upstanding enough to stand behind your words you should not post them. You have no voice. Just pissing into the wind must be your game. Talk about giggles ROTFLMAO at you. When you are ready to go heads up come back.

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  24. BTW, I wish you the best in your future endeavors also. ;)

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  25. I never give any credibility to those who hide and will not post with their real name.. withe the exception of those who fear retaliation from Bonanza, that is a good reason.. however, the SNL poster is nothing but a coward.. obviously not intimidated by Bonanza or afraid of retaliation.. so hiding just makes you a coward..not that I'm surprised

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  26. "it should not be used to echo your consistent gripes you have with how a private business (yes, that is right, a private business) operates."

    Since when did an online selling venue become private business? So does this mean that anything any business does is their "private business?" I do believe that is why we have resources available to report misconduct by any business such as the BBB. There is no such thing as a truly private business.

    If you provide a service to anyone for monetary gain you must be accountable for your actions, and anyone unhappy with that service has a right to express their opinions of such service and to file complaints when the service provided is substandard.

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  27. Well Said Avocado and I could not agree with you more. In addition once Bonanza accepted funding from others they no longer remain as private as they would like to believe they are.
    The level of disrespect the management has demonstrated and continues to display to its sellers is just beyond despicable. They have endorsed the game playing, the cyber bullying, the victimization of others, and encourage their sellers to argue, not trust, dislike and mistrust each other….. I do not see any mentions of any charitable giving, acts of kindness, or giving back to the community anywhere about Bonanza. (Which by the way…Addoway does routinely and one can truly respect the kind of man Fred is.)
    The level of mistrust comes from the top management; it is fostered by the upper management there. It has trickled down and permeated the entire site and the membership of the forums in particular. The misuse and abuse of power and control on Bonanza is not a viable business plan at all. And a model that will not serve them well.

    The joy and chuckles the management so enjoys and the expense of their sellers is just unconscionable, and they continue to allow and support this to fester.
    I am going to make the assumption that the problems with the site probably indeed mirror the problems management may experience in their own personal lives…and it is just being played out again..and again…and again…
    I for one do not appreciate “chuckles” at others expense. There is way too much pain in the world these days …Bonaza’s contribution to the festering of mistrust and disrespect they have demonstrated to others is truly a sad state of their affairs

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  28. "I wonder what a counselor would say for you to speak of your son's great achievement in one breath, and then your disdain for Bonanza in the very next sentence. "

    I think you Mr/Ms Anonymous you may want to think twice about putting this in your post...As being the director of a Mental Health Agency ....YOU...should wonder about the functionality of Bonanza I would be happy to consult with you about the dysfunctional aspects of Bonanza ...but I suggest you leave the personal issues alone unless you are willing to begin a campaign to address your own...not sure you really want to go there??????

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  29. Yes! An SNL skit!

    Spotlight: a company with a brilliant vision. Add a populace of Happy Idiots (I'm qualified to play an unpaid extra). Humor the HI's to blindly follow, promote the business at their own expense and charge a monthly fee to those daffy enough to pay it. (laugh track)

    (Enter squad of jackbooted, goose steppers)If any HI becomes lucid enough to realize they're being had, DMV, suspend or ban them from expressing further thoughts. In fact, give the rogues 5 years!(laugh track)(applause sign)

    Promise advertising, to be done after the platform is stable enough to handle the looming throngs of buyers. Deploy untested software daily to ensure platform instability. Place the blame squarely on operator error, cookies, cache and ISPs. If HI's balk, look innocent and the other way. (Audience plants shout: HUZZAH! and AWESOME!)

    When mass exodus begins, remove published traffic stats, send out PR indicating best month ever, offer remaining HI's; good grades, stars and poker chips. (Instruct audience to give standing ovation while doubled over in laughter)

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  30. CLAP>>>CLAP PENNI... HUZZAH...AWESOME!!!!!

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  31. There's nothing like producing the SNL skit RIGHT from the "Get Go" Penni. The irony of it all! APPLAUSE! HuzzaHA!

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  32. PenniPete, OMG thank you for the laugh! And thank you all for your heartfelt commentaries. Even seattle-anon allows a window of clarity that is telling, and important. Clearly Bonanza has missed its mark in providing a quality product and satisfactory customer service. Naturally, its customers (myself included) will discuss their experiences, and I hold the possibility open that management might even read the feedback with the mindset that the information could help them to improve their product and services... customer feedback can be a wonderful opportunity for insight and a catalyst for positive action.

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  33. Penni, I love it! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

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