Or you could get defensive

When I write a negative review of a toy, I don’t expect to ever hear from the company that produced it — and I usually don’t. I’ll be the first to admit that my negative reviews can get very snarky, so I’m not shocked by this. But recently I wrote a review of the OhMiBod in which I called it a “shoddy piece of crap,” and to my great surprise, I received a very positive email response from the company. In the email, I was offered a chance to try a new wireless version of the OhMiBod. The email ended,

Thanks also for the critical review of our first one. We’ve fixed a couple of issues you talked about but people like you are why we keep developing and striving for perfection. So thanks! You are great for our industry. Best Brian & Suki.

I was floored. They seemed to be glad that I wrote such a scathing review. In subsequent emails, they asked if I would like to test some of their upcoming products and give them feedback. All of this changed my entire opinion about their company. Even if I hated the OhMiBod as a toy, there were good, appreciative people behind it — people who recognize the treasure trove that is a negative review.

Today, I have witnessed the flipside of the coin, in the form of a comment on my negative review of the Don Wands Treeze wood/urethane vibrator. The comment is from “Don,” who is apparently a representative from Don Wands, as he left the email address [email protected] (I also looked up the IP address. Perrysburg, Ohio: where Glow Industries, Inc. is based — which is the company in charge of Don Wands.). In just the few hours since receiving this comment and tweeting about it, I’ve also received a slew of new comments from my readers, many of them expressing distaste for the tone of Don’s comment.

I’m going to re-print his comment, paragraph by paragraph, and respond to it here. This is only fair, I think, since he chose to post his thoughts publicly rather than emailing me privately.

Well, it seems many of you don’t really know much about the Treeze from Don Wands do you? If you would like to find out more, contact the company, they can explain the difference of a solid wood product that is saturated with urethane resin so as not to need a coating, coatings can chip and scratch and create bacterial issues for the user.

You certainly have attitude right from the get-go, don’t you? How exactly did I misunderstand the material? As the packaging says, it is a “hybrid” of urethane and wood. I’ll agree with you that I should’ve emailed Don Wands directly to find out more about this material, but it seems that I understood it perfectly on my own: it is, as you say, wood “saturated with urethane.” In terms of coating, NobEssence uses a coating that is well-known for its durability and nonporousness, so please don’t try to convince me that any coating is a bad coating.

As far as the sound, we have included a super high powered vibe, because unlike you, our marketing research shows most women want power. They also want a vibe to last longer, since the design of a vibe does not allow for a very long life, we designed it to be replaceable for around $15.

Unlike me? First of all, I’m glad to see that your “marketing research” trumps my opinion as a human with a vagina. Second of all, did you ask your all-knowing women if they like the inside of the vagina to be assaulted with vibrations? Because that’s what it feels like. On my clit, however, I love power, so stop making assumptions. My main issue is this: if power means having an insanely noisy toy, no thanks. Lilly echoed this sentiment in her comment: “while I may fit into the women you designed this for (the Moar Power movement), the uggo design and power-tool-loudness completely kill that aspect of it.”

And finally, let me get this straight: you realized that women want their vibrators to last longer, and your solution to this was to make the vibrator replaceable? Don’t get me wrong — I think the idea of a replaceable vibrator is a good one. But shouldn’t your reasoning be “just in case the vibrator fails,” rather than “when the vibrator fails”?

The vibrating inside the wood sleeve, if not dampened, which they are now, will cause a rattle, so make sure you are tight before you get it on at your Grandmother’s house. If you want a quieter vibe, I will send you the quick fix.

I guess you didn’t bother to read my response to Lilly’s question about rattling just a couple comments above yours. I wrote, “It doesn’t sound like it rattles against the wood. It just sounds like it’s a very loud vibrator muffled by a sleeve. If you don’t screw it in completely, it will rattle.” As for your “quick fix,” I find it slightly laughable that instead of admitting that your product is too loud, you propose I alter it.

A solid wood dildo is only that, not knocking it, but these are two different animals. The solid wood dildos have all been coated to protect from the porous nature of wood, so you are feeling more of a foreign substance in their piece, than you are a Treeze. If you think it feels coated or like plastic, you have only talked yourself into it.

Yes, solid wooden dildos are coated (interesting how you now seem to be in favor of this type of coating), but you’re overlooking all of the reasons that your toy reminded me of plastic (like that it’s a vibrator and the colors look hokey and unnatural). Also, not sure why you feel the need to point out that “these are two different animals,” since my review centered around my personal opinion that a wooden vibrator just isn’t the same as a solid wooden toy.

But since you, disturbingly, have so little faith in the consumer that you would actually state that I have “talked [myself] into” feeling plastic, I must paste part of Backseat Boohoo’s response: “I was unaware that you were psychic and could tell how a toy felt to me. Surely I must be lying if I say this toy feels like plastic, for you have seen inside my head whilst I masturbated with said toy and have seen otherwise!”

This may not the be all end all, but with Don Wands designing and producing adult novelties with the customer and their pocket book in mind, it sure speaks to those who make expensive plastic and rubber throw-aways. If you want a good strong wooden vibe, we make one.

But I apparently don’t count as a customer? Your tone doesn’t seem to be keeping me in mind.

I’m getting the sense that you didn’t bother to read anything else on this blog. I am just as much against “rubber throw-aways” as you seem to be. And yes, your wooden vibrators fill a niche that has yet to be explored within the sex toy industry. I have to wonder, however, why you think a price tag of $70 is easy on the pocketbook. Nonetheless, you do not have to remind me that some of your toys are very reasonably priced. If you were to do so much as click the link to the “Don Wands” tag at the bottom of my review, you would have found my review of the Blue Tip Clear Rings glass dildo, which praises the affordability of Don Wands glass dildos.

Thanks for your honesty, but don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer for clarification.

You seem to think that if I only knew more about this hybrid material, my review would be positive. Sorry — no matter what the material, the Treeze vibrator is still loud, has push-button controls, feels boring, and costs $70. But oh, I forgot… my opinion has no weight.

Toy shop Zotica Toys commented to me on Facebook, “It is funny to me that they think that they understand what women want and yet bitch about what women actually say about it.” I think that gets to the heart of why I feel slighted by Don’s comment — it implies that I am wrong because my experience with the toy does not line up with whoever Don Wands surveyed. Newsflash: women are different, which is why I have seen multiple very positive reviews of the Treeze line so far.

My review of the Treeze Wave, and my opinion of it, would have faded into the background if not for Don’s comment. In trying desperately to publicly defend a product that one reviewer found lackluster, he has only made his company look defensive and stubborn. As Carrie Ann put it in the comments section, “[Don] could have made a good impression for the company rather than coming across as combative and condescending.  I think Don let his emotional reaction to a critical review lead his typing fingers into a response that was unprofessional and bordering on ridiculous.”

Don did not make an effort to respect my personal experience, and in doing so he painted an unflattering picture of his company which did not exist in my mind before today. And that company is now losing customers — six of my readers (and growing) will be avoiding Don Wands products now, and Zotica Toys is reconsidering whether or not to sell their toys in their online store. Especially considering new glass toy competition such as RubyGlass21, DreamToys and Erotica Glass, I would expect a company to be more careful in how they respond to criticism.

If you would have asked me yesterday whether I would recommend Don Wands toys, I would have said, “yes! Their glass toys are extremely affordable, and I’m in love with my Rainbow Mega Nubby.” Today, and from now on, I will say, “well, let me link you to something…”