Amazon began life as a bookstore. But these days, some of the online retailer’s best reads are on the site itself.
Scrabble through the glowing customer reviews on the website obviously written by PRs or denunciations penned by disgruntled former business partners and you might find the odd — often very odd — gem.
A number of Amazon’s entries have found their user-generated review sections hijacked by mischievous trolls penning spoof critiques. Some expose lofty ambitions: if you’re in the market for a Mr. Men book, brace yourself for write-ups considering Roger Hargreaves’ classics in the context of Marxist analysis.
Others turn the mundane into something wonderfully surreal: stationery replenishers, be prepared for critical assessments of ballpoint pens based on their lack of a spellcheck function or failure to write properly if you use the wrong hand.
And some just lower the tone: men, wince at graphic explanations of exactly why you shouldn’t apply hair remover to your private parts.
Here’s 10 of the best other customer reviews that we’ve encountered trawling through the nether realm of the online retail giant.
AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable, $9,999, by Denon
“Transmission of music data at rates faster than the speed of light seemed convenient, until I realised I was hearing the music before I actually wanted to play it. Apparently Denon forgot how accustomed most of us are to unidirectional time and the general laws of physics. I tried to get used to this effect but hearing songs play before I even realised I was in the mood for them just really screwed up my preconceptions of choice and free will. I'm still having a major existential hangover. Would not purchase again.”
Matthew Sidor “Seadour”
571 Banana Slicer, $3.49, by Hutzler
“I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slicer is curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way.”
Crystal Ballpoint Pen, Medium Point, Black, 97p, by Bic
“While this pen is functional and easy to use, a downside is it only supports one default font (that appears to be user specific?). I have tried multiple times to access Helvetica, Times New Roman, Impact, etc, to no avail... I don't even see any input buttons. The default font is pretty shoddy looking, resembling Comic Sans. An update would be appreciated Bic!”
Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct (MSLP16-Blk), $9.87, by Bic
“I bought these pens for my wife. I assumed they would be safe for her since they are specifically for ladies but she used these for no more than two days before she sprained her uterus.”
Mr Messy, £2.25, by Roger Hargreaves (Egmont Books)
“If 1984 or The Trial had been a children's book, Mr Messy would be it. No literary character has ever been so fully and categorically obliterated by the forces of social control. Hargreaves may well pay homage to Kafka and Orwell in this work, but he also goes beyond them.”
Hair Removal Gel Cream, £5.24, by Veet for Men
“Being a loose cannon who does not play by the rules the first thing I did was ignore the warning and smear this all over my knob and bollocks. The bollocks I knew and loved are gone now. In their place is a maroon coloured bag of agony which sends stabs of pain up my body every time it grazes against my thigh or an article of clothing. (I am giving this product a 5 because despite the fact that I think my bollocks might fall off, they are now completely hairless.)”
Box Canvas Print of Paul Ross, £100
“Yesterday I was a bed ridden, drug addled alcoholic with no hope, no future. Then I bought this. Now I'm a bed ridden, drug addled alcoholic with no hope, no future, but with a 20in Canvas of Paul Ross. You just never know what lies around the corner.”
Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee, $9.36–$34.16, by The Mountain
“Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.”
How to Avoid Huge Ships (Second Edition), $598.98, by John W Trimmer (Cornell Maritime Pr/Tidewater Pub)
“Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn't find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.”
Uranium Ore, $39.95, by Images SI Inc
“I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.”
Patrick J. McGovern "Procrastinating Evil Scientist"