Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Stumped by a tricky banana? Try one of Amazon's handy reviews

After the latest online shop spoof endorsement, Tim Walker can't imagine life without one...

Amazon, the online sales business, has spawned a whole new genre of anti-consumerist satire
Amazon, the online sales business, has spawned a whole new genre of anti-consumerist satire

Samsung's new top-of-range gogglebox, the UN85S9 85in 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV, is now available on Amazon. And, with the world's biggest online shop waiving its shipping fee, it will only set you back $39,997.99 (£24,500).

Among the enthusiastic customers to give the television a five-star review was one James O Thach: "My wife and I bought this after selling our daughter Amanda into white slavery. We actually got a refurbished. It's missing the remote, but, oh, well – for $10K off, I can afford a universal, right? The picture is amazing. I've never seen the world with such clarity. Amanda, if you're reading this, hang in there, honey! We'll see you in a year."

Another customer was less effusive about the set, saying, "This is a good television for the money, don't get me wrong. [But] why own this when the neighbours will have one just like it in six months when the price comes down? I'll give this one as a gift to the butler."

Not all of the products that attract such treatment are ruinously expensive. The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, for instance, costs a mere $3.73 (reduced from $4.99). Customers who bought it also bought the Chef'n StemGem Strawberry Stem Remover for $7.95. "What can I say about the 571 Banana Slicer that hasn't already been said about the wheel, penicillin or the iPhone?" asks a Mrs Toledo. "For decades, I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana," lamented SW3K. "'Use a knife!' they say. Well... my parole officer won't allow me to be around knives."

Some of the silly reviews reflect current events. In June, after Texas state senator Wendy Davis staged a marathon filibuster in protest at the state's tightening of its abortion laws, her Mizuno Women's Wave Rider trainers quickly received this five-star review: "The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day."

Others are anguished responses to monstrous cultural artefacts, such as Katie Price and Peter Andre's 2006 album of duets, A Whole New World, which boasts a remarkably high number of five-star customer reviews, given that one website's poll later named it the worst LP of the decade. On closer inspection, however, it appears that most of the reviews in question praise not Price and Andre's musical prowess, but the medical applications of the CD, which customers suggested could cure conditions such as asthma and constipation.

One such heart-warming story came from a user calling themselves Chaplinfan, who claimed, "I bought this for my father who had become paralysed from the waist down following a freak unicycle accident back in 1984 and I had barely started playing the CD when he miraculously shot up from his wheelchair, ran across the room shouting 'TURN THAT S*** OFF!' and proceeded to smash it to pieces. It's a testament to the power of this music that it can perform such a miracle. On the downside, my dad is now under investigation by the benefits fraud team for claiming years of disability allowance."

In the UK, the latest and most consistently witty customer review thread is for the Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Creme: well worth a look, it's as coarsely funny and irreverent as you might expect.

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