Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Donald Trump, Meet Your Customers

Trump say he’s the tribune of the common man. I read 26,000 online reviews to find out what the common man thinks of his products.
‘So you have the water, you have the steaks, you have the airline. I mean, what’s wrong with selling?” Donald J. Trump asked Tuesday in his remarkable election-night defense of his business empire. “Every once in a while you can sell something. You have the wines and all of that, and Trump University, we’re going to start it up as soon as I win the lawsuit.” He went on to invoke other “assets” including his hotels, Trump Vodka, the New York towers, the golf links and the Mar-a-Lago club—but missed the opportunity to plug his Trump-branded neckties, restaurants, jewelry and mattresses.
Mr. Trump says he’s the candidate of the common man, and, well, the common man now regularly shares online his opinions of the stuff he buys. By coincidence, a few weeks before Mr. Trump’s speech, I wondered what the amateur critics who contribute to websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Amazon were saying about his consumer-facing products, and I started to comb through their reviews whenever I had a spare half-hour.
According to my spreadsheet, I’ve now read about 26,000 individual reviews. It has been slow, bleary-eyed scutwork, trust me, and remember, kids, this is what happens if you go into journalism.
The digital portrait of Mr. Trump that emerges, review by review, is instructive, however subjective and impressionistic. You might call it an unscientific poll—Mr. Trump’s favorite kind—of his achievements, failures and the relationship between his grandiosity and reality.
Mr. Trump was flanked on Tuesday by a pile of what he called Trump Steaks, but his mail-order beef business is defunct. The label on the steaks indicated that they were sold by Bush Brothers Provision Co., a West Palm Beach grocery.
Read THE REVIEWS and the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.

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