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Most online reviews are fake, so why do we put so much faith in them?

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I was walking down an unpaved road with $180 in cash in my pocket, going deeper and deeper into industrial nothingness. I hadn’t trekked into this void on the wrong side of the tracks to buy an experimental drug or pay off a hit man. No, I was reduced to this walk of shame because I had forgotten it was street cleaning day — and now I was on a lonely hike to retrieve my impounded automobile.

I was already brimming with resentment toward the towing company employees I would soon encounter. Sure enough, I was soon faced with a variety of Bostonian discourtesy I was sure rising rents had killed off long ago — a brutishness so strong that it made me grotesquely proud of my city. The ill-mannered clerk snatched my twenties as if I had stolen them minutes before and waved me toward my car. I found it parked, no doubt intentionally, between two large potholes filled with rainwater. A desire to change plans and place a hit after all sank in. Or, if not that, the only form of vengeance the situation allowed: a one-star, or perhaps even no-star, review.

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Unsurprisingly, that particular towing company already showed poorly on Google’s review platform. Tales abound of stolen GPS systems, brusque workers, and the inconvenience of the back-alley location. What, I wondered, could possibly make for a…



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