A brief rant about the "chime in" button

Today I have seen two separate posts by a RS staffer that said simply "Happy Shopping!". Apparently this staffer had nothing of substance to say but felt compelled to post something because the OP checked the "chime in" button. But I think it looks unprofessional. Wouldn't a better response be something like "I don't have the answer to your question but you've gotten great advice from the RS community"? (Which was true in both cases.)

Anyone else vote for doing away with the "chime in" button?

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1124 posts

I've actually seen instances where RS staffer Laura, who's well on her way to a gold star posting level, has commented that previous replies have addressed the question well.

It's unfortunate if someone who's compelled to provide a comment, any comment, couldn't come up with something appropriate.

Keeping "Chime in" should be OK, as long as the "chime" is OK.

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
759 posts

I have watched this and it's an interesting dynamic, since it is apparent that many posters here-I do not count myself among them-have far more travel experience, and hence good advice, than even the nice folks at RS do. Not sure what you do about that kind of awkward feeling, if anything, but I don't blame the RS folks for it, it is their site and they are in business after all. I don't feel like it's up to me to "vote" on it, but it's an interesting topic.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
4751 posts

As far as I know, only the OP can hit the chime-in button. Why can't the RSers just PM the OP if they have nothing of substance to add? The OP gets a reply from the RS staff, as they requested, and we never have to know. RS staff should post when they have something to add.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12216 posts

The bigger question is what do you do when the Steves' poster is completely wrong? Seen that more than once. Also, there are times when their answer is incomplete or misleading. I would think that the staff has an obligation to be completely accurate.

Posted by Leigh
Missouri
383 posts

When good answers have already been given and there is nothing else to add, I have no problem with someone saying so. I wouldn't click the chime in button myself because I wouldn't want to force someone to give a response who might not have a response to give, and I know there is a lot of great knowledge on this board without the chime in button. The people who are clicking it obviously want the chime in, and they are the one asking the question.

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
759 posts

Zoe, right or wrong, I believe they view the chime in as a marketing opportunity, which is why there are so many links to money belts, etc. I wish they didn't but I think they do.
Frank, I agree, and have seen that too. The responses from RS staff should hit a pretty high bar of accuracy and usefulness to the OP's question. Sometimes the answer is a non sequitur.

BTW-I'm okay with a little spitballing in lieu of pointing out specific, less than stellar answers by RS staff.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3881 posts

Wow, I haven't seen any of the chime in posts reference a Rick Steves sale unless maybe a guide book, which is frequently recommended by many in this community. And, hey if they are legitimate recommendations then what's the problem? It's Rick's website! Go start your own if you want to have no commercial aspect at all and BTW I think that ETBD staff don't over go overboard in this area at all. And you can always get a money belt at Walmart, or here in NYC in Bed Bath and Beyond at 60th and First.

I have no problem with the Rick Steves person saying, hey they got it all. Or, you've gotten good advice here. The people may have a variety reason's to ask the Rick Steves's staff to "chime in." They may be looking for validation of the replies. They may be uncertain about reliability of the advice.

Why get wound up about this? I think that this is much ado about nothing.

Pam

Posted by Roy
Auburn, AL
924 posts

I will chime in to second Pamela's post. Just get over it.

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3310 posts

Here are some examples from last month:

Florence to Siena by train is only about an hour so driving will be about 45 minutes one way.
Posted by xxx
Rick Steves' Europe
04/03/14 03:47 PM
65 posts

To a question about day trips from Paris:
For longer day trips, you could do Normandy beaches (albeit briefly) or Avignon (also briefly). Trains to Bayeux take about 2-2.5 hours and trains to Avignon will take about 2.5-3.5 hours one way. For Bayeux it would be best to arrange a guided tour before you go. I hope this helps some.
04/07/14 03:10 PM

And the ever popular:

If you are still looking for a hotel in Toledo with a pool you can do a simple google search for that.
Posted by RB xxx
Rick Steves' Europe
04/02/14 11:40 AM

Posted by MarieB
120 posts

Maybe the RS staffer was just being encouraging, as I took it that way, and really had not much else to offer at the time. No big deal as I see it. What is the difference of a poster, seasoned or not, leaving a welcoming or short answer compared to a RS staffer doing the same? Traveling is about fun, excitement, experiencing new cultures or enhancing what was already experienced.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1823 posts

I'm not wound up over this, I just think it looks unprofessional ( and a bit silly) to respond to a question with "Happy shopping!" One post was asking about the price of food in grocery stores in Italy, so it just looked out of place.

And like Frank I have seen some incorrect answers. One specific example is in the Italy forum. Someone asked about transporting a tandem bike and bike box from the airport to their hotel and the RS staffer (the same one that urges shopping) said it's not a problem on the bus from the airport or the vaporetto. Nigel responded with a long post explaining that it IS a problem, both on the bus and the vaporetto. I don't know how to link to the thread but if you back to april3-6 you will find it.

On other occasions I have seen answers that were not actually incorrect but just so vague as to be useless. Someone asked about hikes in the Dolomites and the (same) staffer said to go to the TI and get a map. That is not helpful to someone who is trying to decide WHERE in the Dolomites to base themselves for the best hikes.

Posted by MarieB
120 posts

@Sasha, Seasoned travelers have given similar answers too. I know there are some who write in great detail, down to the times, names and routes of transportation or whatever. But why is it unprofessional?

I really do not think it is nice of people who try to make others feel small, silly or stupid for questions they ask or answers they may give. People who continue to pick or overly criticize can lose credibility. It seems that type of person would never be satisfied and not fun to be around. I would not ask them anything nor read what they write.

If you feel that strongly about the RS staffer, you could PM her and discuss your feelings.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12216 posts

I do think it is a legitimate question about how to respond to inaccurate or wrong responses by the RS staff. After all, the round blue badge does convey a instant level of authority. Who should the poster believe if answers conflict? Since the community guidelines ask that your not comment on prior postings, what do you do? I think there should be an extremely high standard of accuracy when the staff responds.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12216 posts

Any poster can make a mistake and I have posted a few. But a staff member from a professional travel organization who is hosting this site, should not. Whether it is a short answer, unprofessional, or wrong, it is all tied together in the obligation of the staff to be professional and accurate. They have an image to project and protect.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12216 posts

George, have you ever had posted anything that contributed to a discussion?

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3035 posts

The chime in's don't bother me anymore than the rest of us posting the same responses in threads that had simple questions answered in the first couple posts. Even after the OP posts "Ok, got it thanks" there will usually be more responses with nothing new to add. At least some of the staffer responses that are short and just say "Happy Shopping" are indirectly acknowledging that the OP's question has been answered and they have nothing new to add.

Posted by Kristen
Chicago
514 posts

Marie, I definitely agree with your point that some people (in the minority) can be unwelcoming or sarcastic in some of their posts. And I agree that we all make mistakes. But questions that are based purely on fact (i.e. What is the driving time from Florence to Siena) and not opinion should have minimal to zero mistakes.

But I am trying to cut them some slack. I don't mind short replies or "happy shopping" replies or the advertising. I suspect the mistakes happen when no one has personal experience so they start using google. I think they need to figure out a better way to handle those questions-either divy up questions differently amongst themselves or to simply say "no one has dealt with this before but we will help you figure this out etc".

Posted by MarieB
120 posts

@Kristen, Yes, I understand and agree about certain questions needing a definitive, more concise answer.

Maybe the RS staffer was "picked on" so to speak, because some believe a staffer should have the correct answer or at least know where to get it as opposed to a regular traveler? Don't know...

Some people like the "hand-holding" - others just "jump and swim." There has to be a balance, an understanding and patience for that as well.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
1680 posts

I don't have a problem with the staffer's responses, whatever they are. When they are asked by the OP to 'chime in' they have to say something and it must get difficult to respond if they don't have the answer and yet want their answer to be unique to the OP's question and not like a 'canned' answer.

Edit: I deleted my off-topic rant. Sorry about that.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1823 posts

Marie, my gripe ( if you want to call it that) is not that the "answer" by the RS staffer was "too short" but that it was not an answer. It was a flippant remark tossed off to satisfy the " chime in" request ( and increase the post count.). I only look at certain forums ( mostly General Europe and Italy) and maybe ten posts that interest me, so to see the same response twice in that many posts was interesting. Maybe there are more, who knows.

Like Frank, I think that posts by the RS staffers should be responsive to the question, and accurate. They are on paid time and should act accordingly. The response " happy shopping!" assumes that the person asking the question enjoys shopping, and many people do not. (Especially grocery shopping in a Venice supermarket---way too crowded and stressful). I think it reflects badly on the credibility of the company, actually. If I asked a travel company a question and the response was "happy shopping" I would think (a) they don't have a clue and (b) maybe I should take my business elsewhere.

Not all Rs staffer answers are like that. I found this one one a thread asking about upgrading a British Airways WT+ ticket to business class with Avios:

"Unfortunately since we don't have any experience booking flights and upgrades, we are not sure when these seats are available for an upgrade. Sorry we couldn't help."

Now that is an appropriate answer, responsive to the question. Why couldn't the other staffer just admit she didn't know the price of groceries in Venice, Florence, etc.? She would have looked a whole lot more credible.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20285 posts

I tend to agree with Pam in that this seems like "much ado about nothing". Whether a RS staffer or anyone else wants to wish a traveller "Happy Shopping" seems like a very trivial thing, and not something I'd be concerned with. I would hope the staffers would be free to offer replies and good wishes to travellers, even if the "chime in" button wasn't ticked. I tend to view the RS staffers as being the same as anyone else here.

I can't comment on whether incorrect information has been provided, as I haven't followed every reply from RS staffers too closely. The replies that I have looked at have been accurate.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

Chime In:

Question: Where can I stay in a medieval castle near Avignon?

Answer: Here's what I found on the internet.

Facts: One-hundred fifty miles away; fifty years old.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1685 posts

Come on, give them a break. All of us are here because we want to be. These staffers are busy doing their jobs, and now they have to respond to chime in requests when they may not have much to add. I don't think they're shilling too much. You're expecting them to give expert, personal advice, in a professional and polished response, and stay within the RS corporate philosophy. Quickly, while they may be doing the rest of their daily job. All the while knowing that there are some people on this site who are self appointed monitors who will jump all over any errors.

Agree or disagree with them. Read or don't read. Post a correction if you feel it's necessary. But don't pick on them for doing what they've been asked to do.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1823 posts

No, I am not saying I expect the staffers to give expert professional service and a polished and complete response. And I definitely do not expect them to google to find an answer. (Look at the example Ed gave).

I am just asking them to be more accurate and responsive IF they do "chime in". It would be better to say nothing if they have nothing to add. Or if appropriate, they can quote Rick's books on the subject. There is a discussion in the Italy section about restaurants in Manarola did just that. Even if the staffer wasn't posting from personal knowledge, that response was appropriate and better represents the company than the type of response I am pointing to.

I think we have to assume that having the staffers post on the board was a business decision. I don't think that flippant responses help the business at all. I would not pay for a travel consult after seeing such a response.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1685 posts

They get hassle if they post what they know, if they say they don't know, if they repeat RS books, if they go off RS script, if they post a link that may or may not further the discussion. They haven't been given the time to develop their own style or cyber personalities. Cut them some slack.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1167 posts

It just shows how some people interpret responses differently than others. I didn't think the Happy Shopping comment was flippant or unprofessional at all. There were good answers already and she had nothing to add but has to add something because of the chime in button.

I do think it might be better if the chime in button were made optional. I've noticed after a weekend especially, that there are many answers already but the staffer has to say something. I think it would be better if the rule/policy was the staffer adds something if the question hasn't been answered adequately or if they have something different to add. They should not be required to respond to all chime in questions just to say they don't have anything to add. Webmaster? Any thoughts about tweaking the chime in feature?

Posted by MarieB
120 posts

@Grier, I agree. Overall, I saw it as no biggie about the RS staffer's response. To me, it did not come across as unprofessional or anything negative. I just took it with a grain; gave the benefit with a brief thought that the staffer did not have much to contribute but just wished the OP a happy shopping trip.

If a person had wished me that, not knowing my shopping likes or dislikes, I would not get offended. The RS staffer merely was being fun - shopping in a grocery store, or any store in a foreign country can be fun! "It is all about how you view the glass."

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1124 posts

So was anyone from ETTBD asked to chime in on this thread?

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
301 posts

I'll chime in! So, there are a lot of concerns that are coming out here that have all frankly been addressed in the major discussions we had about this change earlier. As there is still some confusion, I'll clarify a few things in response to comments above.

"I do think it is a legitimate question about how to respond to inaccurate or wrong responses by the RS staff. After all, the round blue badge does convey a instant level of authority. ... Since the community guidelines ask that your not comment on prior postings, what do you do?"
- The Community Guideline being referenced is only enforced when moderating bickering, arguments, and other general negative behavior not befitting of our community. The round blue badge is there to deliver transparency in our company's actions, not convey authority. If we wanted authority, we wouldn't have opened up the questions we otherwise privately received to the community members here (please see the More Changes in the Wind discussion to review the purpose of this change). With regard to how to respond when our staff has given a response, we have been very clear that you can and should respond with an alternate viewpoint or set of facts. You can do so in a respectful manner that flatly states your opinion or the facts that you know without comparing or condemning your information to a previous post. This has been our long-standing expectation for years whether you are giving a response that is different or contrary to the info posted by another community member and applies equally to posts contributed by staff.

"I tend to view the RS staffers as being the same as anyone else here." - This is what we want.

"Pause for popcorn?" - Good idea. - - - OK, I'm ready for more.

This is a two part answer...
"I think it would be better if the rule/policy was the staffer adds something if the question hasn't been answered adequately or if they have something different to add." - This is effectively how our staff operates already. More to add after the next comment...
"...my gripe ( if you want to call it that) is not that the "answer" by the RS staffer was "too short" but that it was not an answer."
- So, to review how this system works, if the "chime in" checkbox is checked, our staff is required to give a reply. If they don't, it will remain in their queue, and they won't be leaving anything in their queue. Thus, we give a response even when there is nothing in particular to add. So, as recognized by a few others in this very thread, we usually do note when others have already answered the question well and we have nothing further to add. I find the "Happy Shopping" comment to be perfectly acceptable in that clearly we had nothing to add, but gave a friendly response to enjoy that part of their trip. I think this response is also a reflection of that staff member's personality which should also be encouraged so that we aren't sounding like soulless robots. ;) There's nothing unprofessional about wishing someone well.

If you really take issue with a response that doesn't fit with how you would respond, as has always been the Golden Rule of forum behavior, if you don't like a post, proceed to the next post. If it breaks Community Guidelines, report it.

If you feel that I haven't addressed your concern here and you still have an issue to raise, we've probably already addressed it in our many responses on the More Changes in the Wind discussion (they're easy to spot with the new badges as you scroll through). Please check that out before posting further as I can't be re-writing responses to address the same concerns again and again. Thank you for doing so.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10168 posts

I have nothing to add. I've spoken my opinion about this previously, and I'm leaving at that.

But because this thread is getting so much attention, perhaps we should bring up this yearly announcement: If you find yourself in Europe this Saturday, it's time again for the continent's yearly celebration of musical schlock and awe... yes, live from Copenhagen, it's time for the Eurovision Song Contest! Best appreciated with copious amounts of wine.

Posted by emma
London
710 posts

WOO HOO Eurovision!
If you really want to understand Europe AND find something to argue about watch Eurovision!
Highlight of the entertainment year and last time I checked the UK were third favourite!

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1675 posts

Interested to know if Sasha hit the Chime In button on the original post.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1823 posts

Thanks, Tom. I love Eurovision! but won't get to England until a week after, sigh.

And thank you, Webmaster, for your thoughtful response. I will just note that the "more changes in the wind" thread no longer appears at the top of the General Europe board, so it is hard to find. Maybe if someone posts a comment it will come back to the top?

Posted by emma
London
710 posts

Popcorn is always appropriate:-) but if you want to do it properly at a Eurovision party you can try and have a native food ( and/or drink) for each of the countries competing!

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1823 posts

"Popcorn is always appropriate:-) but if you want to do it properly at a Eurovision party you can try and have a native food ( and/or drink) for each of the countries competing!"

That adds up to a whole lot of aquavit and schnapps!!!

Posted by Sandra
Illinois
256 posts

I welcome the RS staffers input. That's how I learned about a website showing which trains in Italia have dining cars.

I welcome all input. This is a good time to thank all of you who helped me travel thru Italia last year. Even the one-line replies often gave me enough information to proceed.

Many of you did the research for the first time. You could have easily told me to look it up myself, but no one said that. You searched for the information and then shared it with me. Awesome of you.

What I didn't say is that I had No WiFi in my lodgings. I was visiting remote mountain towns in the Autumn and Winter, and I would walk thru the towns until I found a home with WiFi. I was Not invited in, but sometimes I got the Code and was able to access their WiFi outside. But it was so COLD, I could Not do much work. Many times the most I could do was ask the RS Forum for help.

So thank you for your courtesies. You made such a positive difference for my travels. I was able to rely on the Forum when I really needed help. And so all replies welcome.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
391 posts

Not to keep this discussion going (because frankly I could really care less about the chime on button - it doesn't bother me at all), but I actually like that the RS staffers are contributing here. IIRC from the More Changes in the Wind thread, Andrew (Webmaster) mentioned that they are putting the answers here on the forum because they are getting these questions in the office-often as phone calls, already. So, the RS staffers have been answering these questions for years anyway. They might as well post them here, so those of you that are truly knowledgable can correct any errors the staffers may make. I suspect that mostly newbies are the ones who chime in, and so it's good they get to hear not only the staffers answers, but all of ours too!

Enjoy!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10168 posts

Lest anyone mistake Eurovision as a serious exploration of European culture and not a complete circus of gawdy excess... this year it even features a bearded drag queen. Yes, I'll be watching every minute.

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1124 posts

It sounds like everything else in Europe grinds to a halt when Eurovision or soccer (football) is on . . . the streets must be empty during those times, if everyone's glued to their televisions.

So, regarding the original theme of this thread, what if someone's Eurovision act was responding to on-line questions? They could be rated on their replies. Thumbs-up or thumbs-down based on how well they chimed in?

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2892 posts

So how can we see Eurovision in the US??? Or do I have to get a ticket to Europe? I know many of the past ones have been on YouTube but it would be great to watch while it is happening:))

Posted by emma
London
710 posts

According to this website you will be able to watch the Eurovison live on line.

http://www.chicagonow.com/raising-world-citizens/2014/05/eurovision-song-contest-grand-final-airs-on-saturday-performers-from-26-countries-compete-for-2014-title/

If you really want to get into the spirit of it playing Eurovision bingo also helps, drinking totally optional!
http://static.tvtome.com/images/genie_images/uk_topslots/Banner/Eurovision%20Bingo.pdf

As well as the competing acts the host nation also hosts a mid show performance to dazzle and amaze( read confuse and amuse) the international audience. The quality can vary! The Irish RiverDance show started as an eurovison midshow performance, but last year Sweden provided people dressed as dancing meatballs!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20285 posts

@Cyn,

"It sounds like everything else in Europe grinds to a halt when Eurovision or soccer (football) is on . . . the streets must be empty during those times"

I was in Europe in 2010 during the World Cup (Soccer) and I found just the opposite. Many of the Bars and Restaurants have big screen TV's set up on their outdoor patios and the atmosphere was VERY vibrant and lively (almost to the point of a near-riot in one town in Switzerland on one occasion when the "home team" was playing).

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1756 posts

Used to be a big thing in the UK years ago but now not so much. We have been out and about on the streets of Bologna this evening and from the great number of people also enjoying the evening air as well as patronising bars and restos, it seems like the local population is not that interested in Eurovision either. A free rock concert in Piazza Maggiore was gathering a crowd.

Posted by Devon
Ballwin
833 posts

Although the RS badge is intended for transparency, I do think it gives an air of authority which is problematic when the staff is wrong. For example, I just noticed that in explaining that hotels in Italy register their guests with the local police, one RS staff member named this process the Permesso di Sogiorno. That is completely wrong - the Permesso is a totally different thing than registering your temporary stay, it is a permit to stay over 90 days and requires a long application, fingerprinting, etc. While the person's mislabeling it a Permesso di Sogiorno is unlikely to mess up anyone's vacation to Italy, it is a little frustrating to see something so incorrect posted by a staff member.

(Edit:) Just to clarify this point, according to a FAQ with the state police (question 10735 on that page), foreign nationals staying less than three months in Italy must present a "declaration of presence" (dichiarazione di presenza) but do not need to request a permesso di soggiorno. (This indicates to me that they are separate processes, and that what the hotel submits does not produce a permesso.)

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3415 posts

The more incorrect responses I read by RS staffers the more I'm glad I never paid for one of the expensive RS tours. I don't think it reflects well on the RS company as a whole when incorrect information is given by one of the staff. It's better to "not say anything" than to say something incorrect. But if you just must say something then let it be "I don't know, but I'll research and get back with you".

Posted by John
Van Nuys, CA, USA
236 posts

Right now what you have is a checkbox and the text "I'd like a member of Rick Steves' travel staff to chime in on this topic."

"The round blue badge is there to deliver transparency in our company's actions, not convey authority."

That may be your intention, but when the average traveler goes to the RS site and asks for a reply from a RS staff member, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many that understand the employee reply is no different from any other forum member. Most are going to think checking the box adds in an expert reply.

So, a simple suggestion. Change the wording. Something like "I'd like a member of Rick Steves' travel staff to chime in on this topic with their personal opinion or advice."

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
301 posts

It is no good to argue who is more correct than someone else.

Devon, you present a nice example of staff being "wrong." However, you don't have the full story. Please read about the first of two ways of getting a Permesso di Soggiorno. Our staff member was not wrong and neither are you. The only thing wrong here is that you were accusatory of someone being wrong.

This is exactly why no one on these forums, no matter if they are a new member, a longtime member, or a staff member, deserve any hostility or judgement for being "wrong" as almost anything is subject to interpretation. As explained many times now, if you have an alternate viewpoint, share it in a respectful manner.

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
301 posts

John said...

"That may be your intention, but when the average traveler goes to the RS site and asks for a reply from a RS staff member, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many that understand the employee reply is no different from any other forum member. Most are going to think checking the box adds in an expert reply."

-When I was stating that the badge is for transparency and shouldn't be taken as authority, I was responding more toward the concern that some have with regard to how to respond to our staff's posts. I was trying to convey that you should feel comfortable with giving a reply that is different to those supplied by our staff. Your concern here is actually a bit different in that the concern is for the OP (the original poster aka the person who asked the question).

To address the angle on this concern that you just presented, whether someone views a reply from a staff member as 'expert' or not, as part of the set of replies given to any question, there are other responses and opinions that are all taken in by the OP. As has been the case both before and after this change, we trust the OP to make the right decision based on the collection of responses given.

Posted by April
Portland, OR
327 posts

I can't believe that I am still following this ridiculous thread.....but since I am......

The "chime in" button does not equal free travel agent advice that the Rick Steve's office also offers for a fee. If you want professional travel agent advice that takes time and planning then stop complaining and pay for it people! If not, then shut the front up when you don't get a detailed itinerary with your whole freakin vacation planned for you. I have no idea of the qualifications (ie professional travel agents or not) of the RS "staffers" but I think that if you are asking them for FREE advice then take it....or leave it.

Tim, having PAID for and been on two of Rick's tours I can tell you that they were the most pleasant tours we have ever taken. Every detail was thought out and delivered to perfection. Every tour member cried at the end of both of my tours and I still stay in touch with the guides and many people that I met on both tours.

Does anyone give Roberto this much crap when they don't like what he has to advise about Italy, even though he lived there? No, you look forward to his response and if it isn't what you agree with then you move on.

Move on.....

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1647 posts

I have not seen a RS staffer promoting his books,merchandise, etc. Specifically Laura has mentioned certain pages of his book for reference or suggesting you copy certain pages for your trip or in one instance saying "we have no experience there" or suggesting other tour books,like lonely planet, etc. Also suggesting buying money belt at Walmart. Yes, they make mistakes as we all do but I don't think anyone needs to be hurtful to any of the staffers or any other traveler. Have also seen other travelers say "look it up on Google". This website is great and was started by RS and I think we should be grateful for that and many of his staff who I am sure contributed to his books. If you don't like what was said,move on.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10168 posts

"I have not seen a RS staffer promoting his books,merchandise, etc" I've seen that plenty of times. But I don't see anything wrong with that. This website is owned and operated by the company. Why shouldn't they promote their own products? Plenty of regular posters who have no business affiliation with the RS organization do the same thing.

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1124 posts

Rick's books even include suggestions of other companies' travel books and resources that vacationers should consider. The rant may have been brief, but the discussion was lengthy!

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8341 posts

I have it, on good authority, that the Chime In button isn't going anywhere.