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The Internet Troll Culture: Stabbing Ourselves In The Heart


7 years ago I did not know how to wash a car.  I did not even know about the importance of microfiber in regards to detailing.  I think I turned out alright.

My first ever real detail went as follows: wash, clay, non-abrasive Klasse AIO by hand, sealant.  My sealant was Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0.  A year later I washed, clayed, applied Poorboys White Diamond Glaze, and then 3 layers of Pinnacle Souveran Carnauba paste wax.  I was the stereotypical kid in a candy shop.  Sometimes I even asked embarrassing questions on impulse without doing an exhaustive search.

My first time doing a paint correction, asking if it was a good idea to use sandpaper, feels like night and day from the work I perform now.  But I was proud no matter how it was going to turn out.  You should be proud of the work you put into your car too!  That person that is putting you down and laughing at your best effort, I have a suspicion if you put their work and processes next to mine they would be singing a different tune.

Many people ask where all of the negativity is coming from.  For starters, this is not limited to the detailing industry, but most prevalent in industries where people struggle for relevance.  Being a niche field (especially if we are talking about detailing at a high level) our passion and efforts to legitimize ourselves are trolled on a regular basis by potential customers.  A lot of the abuse we received is passed on to an innocent enthusiast.  A person tries to apply a ceramic coating for the first time and messes up.  The so-called professional put this person down, thinking to himself, “see that’s what you get for not taking us detailers seriously!”  While basking in anther’s anguish that person does not see their own and ultimately all of our reputations are affected childish behavior on social media.  Would you hand the keys to your pride and joy and write a $1200 check to someone, who posts laughing emojis at someone’s misfortune?

To help explain my feelings on responding to others with positive versus negative energy, I will share my experiences.  I have been hung up on, labeled dishonest, a car washer, told I would go out of business for charging my worth.  Dialogues with others include; “On TV for (detailing) that’s stupid!”  “(Appointment!) So you don’t want to work!”  I have then fielded calls from people who needed troubleshooting on how to detail their own cars.  I have taken calls from people in my area that were looking for advice on starting a detailing business.  In this respect, my compassion and generosity are stronger than my fears, personal insecurities, or other feelings of lack in my life.  Yes, friends and family have argued against that.  I have been cordial and befriended detailers in my area who are starting up.  Yes, some people told me I am crazy.  There is no place in my heart for a scarcity mentality.  I have been that person detailing a car for the first time.  I have been a brand new business owner.  I want to do my part in making the professional detailer a trustworthy source.  When you put others down to passively validate your rank in the world, you will only reap praise from other small-minded people.

Let’s be perfectly clear.  I have no compassion for someone who insults my business in favor of an unprofessional establishment, and then returns hoping I can fix the other detailer’s cheap work.  But taking time out of your day to belittle someone asking for help on social media speaks so loudly about your character I cannot see your 50/50 before and after paint correction photos you like to brag about.  My intentions are to conduct myself in a way that shows I respect myself (regardless of what others think of me), but also to do so in a fashion that would bring attract the clients I do want.

My Suggestion:

Do not feed the troll.  Do not give the self-righteous class clown the validation he or she is seeking, which is acknowledgment. When you see people demeaning someone, I encourage you to proverbially put your hand on that person’s back.  Instead, express yourself by helping and making friends with the person that is bullied.

Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
YouTube | Facebook

9 comments on The Internet Troll Culture: Stabbing Ourselves In The Heart

  1. Billy Stutz says:

    Great post Rodney. I am going to start my mobile business late spring early summer. Up until last week I was on a couple FB chat groups. I can’t do it anymore. So many people worried about what everyone else is doing…. It is mind numbing. Instead of following social media, I have made the choice to work on me/my skills, in addition to being a member of the actual community , you know with live real people. I don’t know how the future will turn out, but I feel better already not sitting ring side to pissing contests and troll wars.

  2. Perry says:

    What is your best winter wax pertective.

    • Rodney Tatum says:

      In my opinion if you are looking for winter durability; I would try this sealant (Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant). It looks real high end carnauba wax like in appearance. It also has great durability when applied CORRECTLY.

  3. markus says:

    great article rodney, its so true too,like i told my guys if they have to say something bad ,,well they better look at there house first, the reason is there worried and i`m not, had one of them ask me why do i help them? i just tell them why not the customer needs the help and that they need to grow up and be a professional, well, its because it was my old working place and the reason i left.i do what i love to do and it gets them worried but when they call for help i still help if i`m able to answer there questions or help out,everything is the customer and getting the job right from high end exotics to every day drivers, they all want one thing,,,,,shiny and clean veh, i just look at what comes in my shop and leave my shop when done, to make sure the customers are happy or even fix what other shops have done, be a professional when asked a question or even when asked for help, that make a huge difference…nto gossip,,great article again, cause these are so easy to fall into

    • Rodney Tatum says:

      Thank you! I think it is important more people strive to make a positive impact in the detailing community.

  4. Ron Ayotte says:

    I’ve made friends with a few detailers in the area, trading tips and ideas from which everyone benefits! If you haven’t done it yet, go out and meet your fellow detailers.

  5. Dave Daly says:

    I wish that people would understand that all of you on this site are going out of there way to help someone else weather it’s a pro or an amateur. I for one are so thankful the these professionals would take the time to help all of us. Thank you all.

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