Amazon has established itself as the go-to source for everything from entertainment (books, movies, and Kindles) to the less-everyday items, i.e. novelty signs, questionably legal consumables, and cat appeasing pheromones. And since this near limitless marketplace is just a mere click away, users have come to rely on reviews from fellow online shoppers to separate the crème from the crap. But inevitably, as must happen to all things on the Internet, Amazon's customer reviews are on occasion hijacked by smartasses.
One of the earliest examples of this phenomenon was the review section for a gallon of Tuscan Whole Milk. Since 2006, the otherwise unremarkable gallon of milk has gone on to inspire thousands of largely disassociate reviews, such as this commentary from user Alexander Strommen: "I was in Tuscany recently, and despite my sincerest efforts, was unable to sight any Tuscan Wholes. Given the rarity of this creature, I find it hard to believe that anyone has managed to domesticate them, let alone convince them to give milk." There was also user Clinton H. Weir's warning that "this milk might be TOO good. If you ever get two gallons of the stuff in one room, existence might promptly disappear."
What these reviews lack in helpfulness they make up for in gleeful goofiness. For its part, Amazon hasn't tried to dissuade this phenomenon, as these self-generating memes can actually increase sales. For example, when an unexceptional graphic T-shirt featuring three howling wolves caught the ire of the sarcastic community in 2008, it went on to become one of the top selling pieces of apparel on Amazon that year.
As we get closer to the holiday shopping season, it's refreshing that some of those among us are less concerned about being jolly elves and would rather embody a snarky troll. We can all use the laugh during the stressful holiday season and we hope that these top Amazon product reviews below will make you smirk. Since these are direct quotes, you can naturally assume there's a blanket [sic] throughout the text below.
How to Avoid Huge Ships [Second Edition, Paperback]Taken out of context, there is a certain absurdity to this maritime manual. But when the time comes to avoid a huge ship, you'll wish you weren't so dismissive.
Reads like a whodunnit!: "I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer's other excellent titles: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational."
A Parent's Review: "As the father of two teenagers, I found this book invaluable. I'm sure other parents here can empathize when I say I shudder at the thought of the increasing influence and presence of huge ships in the lives my children. I certainly remember the strain I caused so long ago for my own parents when I began experimenting with huge ships. The long inter-continental voyages that kept my mom and dad up all night with worry. Don't even get me started on the international protocols when transporting perishable cargo. To think, I was even younger than my kids are now! Huge ships are everywhere and it doesn't help that the tv and movies make huge ships seem glamorous and cool. This book helped me really approach the subject of huge ships with my kids in an honest, open and non judgmental way."
Caution: Check the title before purchase: "I live near a park and frequently walk around the local area. Given the amount of dog mess that is on the pavements I thought this book would be the ideal read to stop me having to scrape my shoes on the grass before going home. It was only after it arrived that I looked closely at the title and realised it said 'How to Avoid Huge SHIPS.'"
Radioactive Uranium OreBefore any of you would-be James Bond villains get any ideas, this small sample of radioactive material is just that: small. This "low radiation" tin of ore is meant for science classes and to test your Geiger counter. While a steal at $39.95, the real value may be in the snarky creativity it inspires.
Great Product, Poor Packaging: "I purchased this product 4.47 billion years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty."
Perfect for use in death rays!: "I must say I was surprised to find such a great price on the internet. I often require uranium to crush my close-minded enemies. When my radioactive mutant army ushers in the apocalypse I'll be sure to spare the seller!"
Tastes terrible!: "I've never heard of a Uranium flavored Oreo, but thought I would give it try. Based on the taste alone, this stuff is not worth it."
AudioQuest K2 Terminated Speaker 8-Foot CablesIn 2009, these high-end speaker cables with a multi-thousand dollar price tag inspired much of the internet's fury. As they should have.
If only Heracles had such power!: "If there is one cable I would whole-heartedly trust to my Chimera-hunting needs, this would be the cable. No other cable has the tensile strength to properly and efficiently garrote a lycanthrope, asphyxiate an Esquilax, or even gag a mermaid. Last week, using my trusty AudioQuest K2 (retrofitted with lead weights, bright orange latex paint, and a generous coating of crushed glass stolen from the window of an abandoned church at midnight), I managed to snuff 3 golden unicorns in swift succession!"
The K2 Conqueror: "A vital accessory for all those attempting to climb the world's second highest mountain, which incidentally was named after this item. At first I was skeptical, but after a quasi-religious ceremony in which I held this aloft in front of the baying masses at base camp; I realized the true power that AudioQuest has manifested in this silver snake. Attaching it to my harness, I noticed how the shard-like peaks of the West Face smoothed over in front of me as I attempted to climb the savage mountain in only my Y-fronts and a Busted-Tees t-shirt."
Just a whisper: "At the urging of another reviewer, I too listened to the Beatles White Album whilst using these cables. And faintly, ever so faintly, I heard 'buy Tuscan Milk, 128 fl. oz.'"
Wheelmate Laptop Steering Wheel DeskYou may not think you need a way to attach a laptop to your car's driving wheel, but you really do. (This entry has the added bonus of trolled product images.)
This thing is a life saver!: "Believe it or not, I'm typing this review on my laptop steering wheel desk! As a school bus driver I was never be able to check my email and update Facebook while at work. Now I am networking more than ever!"
Not as convenient as I expected: "I just picked uuyp my laptop hoder from the post offfice and I'm ddriving home now. It's OK Iguess, but the bumpy road majkes it hard to type. And theree's a lot of pedeestrians and traffi c that keep distracti9ng me fromm my computer. Oh, and yyou can't make any sharrp turns. So when you turn right, somnetimess you have to use the oppsing lane of traffic."
Makes a boring drive easier: "You wouldn't believe how much more interesting my commute is now that I have something to do other than just stare out the window! I'm using it right now to post this review and I never - "
Looking For... The Best of David HasselhoffWhile not quite known for his music stateside, actor David "Knight Rider" Hasselhoff is a one-man musical movement throughout central Europe. His is an audio art that is best appreciated by the Germanic ear — and also by awestruck Amazon reviewers.
Aural Rapture: Hasslelhoff Finally Delivers Salvation: "It's no surprise that Hasslelhoff has been nominated for immediate canonization in the wake of the release of this collection of hits. The album is, simply-put, the Word of God. Each note, each beat, each utterance reflects a long and careful dialogue with the Lord Himself, resulting in total perfection in the most analytical sense of the word. 'Looking For: Best of David Hasselhoff [IMPORT]' is the first real tangible evidence we have of the existence of a higher power."
The very epitome of musical godliness: "Twice the ruggedness of mortal man, ten times the talent of any other artist, Hasselhoff dazzles on this CD. Every track has been plucked from the heavens and trembles with vigor and force. God Himself could not record as good a greatest hits album like this, and if He were to listen to all 17 tracks on this compilation, He would refrain from striking me down for blasphemy."
Dave pulls no punches on this emotional rollercoaster: "For a laugh — in those days it was always for a cheap laugh — I went out and bought 'Looking For: Best of David Hasselhoff.' How ironic I thought I was being. How big, how clever of me to ridicule a recording artist shunned by so many of the 'in crowd.' What did I think it would achieve? I don't honestly know, but perhaps I thought my cynicism would make me popular and more attractive to women. Little did I know that within hours the small-minded man I had been would be all but dead, leaving behind a boy — yes a boy — full of hope, excitement, and joy. I won't bore you with all the details of my epiphany, but let's just say that by the time Hot Shot City was over the caterpillar had become a butterfly.
A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates [Paperback]With so many misleading advertisements out there, the book "A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates" should be praised for delivering exactly what it promises: pages and pages of truly random digits showing absolutely no pattern or reason. Kudos.
almost perfect: "Such a terrific reference work! But with so many terrific random digits, it's a shame they didn't sort them, to make it easier to find the one you're looking for."
A great read: "Captivating. I couldn't put it down. I would have given it five stars, but sadly there were too many distracting typos. For example: 46453 13987. Hopefully they will correct them in the next edition."
Not Nearly A Million: "This book does not even come close to delivering on its promise of one million random digits. My expectations were high after reading the first sentence, which contained ten unique digits. However, the author seems to have exhausted his creativity in this initial burst, because the other 99.999% of the book is filler in which those same ten digits are shamelessly reused!"
The 2009-2014 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater ChinaChina: Home to the world's fastest growing economy, the Back Dorm Boys, and approximately 1,359,020,000 people. That's a lot of butts on a lot of toilet seats! (2,718,040,000 individual cheeks!) So perhaps this $495 PDF file isn't as ridiculous as you thought. Plus, you always need something to read in the bathroom. So.
WARNING - NOT a MicroSoft product: "I was thinking, 'Sweet! Finally a version of Outlook that will run on my wooden Chinese toilet seats' Little did I know this has NOTHING to do with Outlook for Windows or any other MicroSoft product. It is NOT a five-year wooden-toilet email/calendar software product, but is in fact some kind of WELL-DONE REPORT ON TOILET SEATS By coincidence, still entirely useful to me in my line of business but now I will have to find some other way to coordinate my inter-seat schedules and emails Buyer beware"
I don't get it: "I'm not sure what all these rave reviews are about. I was just as excited as the next man to order this highly anticipated follow-up to 'The 2002-2009 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China' but it left me flat. It felt forced and unneeded. I think the author just wanted another payday without having to come up with something original. I can't believe they got Nicholas Cage for the movie... or I guess I can."
Amazing read. Couldn't put it down, much to girlfriend's dismay: "This publication is the pinnacle of riveting storytelling! I loved every moment of it. SPOILER ALERT! The Brown Wedding scene was shocking and horrific and amazing! As soon as I read that the Winds of Wastemere were played I knew ALL of the wooden toilet seats I came to love were in trouble. Terrible and intense. Two thumbs up!"
Nao Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/TankEntering the mobile armor market wasn't an obvious move for Amazon, but then neither was dodging astonishing amounts of sales tax, and they still managed that one. Thus, The Badonkadonk: the semi-unofficial tank of the always-wonderful Bugle Podcast, and probably the only tank with a name plundered from Urban Dictionary. It's currently unavailable, which is either a good thing (no crazies buying tanks on the internet) or a bad thing (lots of crazies already did).
You can afford it!: "Perhaps you are thinking: 'But a tank costs several million dollars, not including floor mats. I don't have that kind of money.' Don't be silly. You're a consumer, right? You have credit cards, right? Perhaps you are thinking: 'Yes, but how am I going to pay the credit-card company?' Don't be silly. You have a tank, right?"
Finally, a tank you can trust: "Shopping for a personal tank can be a bit daunting. Many times in the past I've purchased overpriced, so-called 'battle tanks,' then driven them into battle only to be wrecked in 10 minutes. But this tank R-O-C-K-S! Literally — the 400-watt sound system keeps me rockin' like a crazy man as I'm dishing out justice commando style. And the kids love it, too; imagine the look of terror in the eyes of the enemy as I'm dropping off my kid's team to their soccer game. Shock and awe, my friends, SHOCK AND AWE!"
Wenger 16999 Swiss Army Knife GiantFor the serious — and seriously scary — tool enthusiast, this collectible colossus boasts a spectacular 87 implements and 141 functions. Although, upon closer inspection the list on the product page mentions "reamer" twice, so maybe it's not the bargain that its $1,386.35 price tag would suggest.
Found this...: "...stuck into a stone while on vacation. I'm impressed with it, generally. Unfortunately, it turns out that removing it made me the new king of Switzerland, which is a lot of responsibility."
Think it over: "I was about to order this but a vision of MacGyver appeared and told me to be a man and use a paperclip."
Cool, but be careful: "This knife has one tool too many. I started playing with it on the bus on my way to work, and I accidentally impregnated the woman sitting next to me. I never found the tool responsible, but when I do, you can be certain I will be demanding a full refund."
Datastroyer Model 1000 DisintegratorLooking to destroy an entire rainforest's worth of paper? Trying to get rid of that pesky Badonkadonk you've had lying around? This is probably what you need: a disintegrator that sounds like a Terminator and looks like 1948's third most expensive electron microscope. Fresh from its cameo appearance in Pacific Rim, this 14,000-lb. behemoth is probably the herald of the robot apocalypse, but until then, hey, let's make jokes.
Great Product: "This is a great disintegrator, but it really should have come with a childproof lock. We are going to miss little Byron so I can only give it three stars."
Maybe turn it on from a distance with a stick or something...: "I'm a coyote that lives in the desert and ordered this product to help catch a pesky roadrunner in the area. It arrived well-packaged and after covering it in tumbleweeds I put a pile of roadrunner pellets under it, as is my custom. In a few moments the roadrunner showed up and started eating the pellets so I turned away and snickered while pointing my thumb in his general direction as if to say, 'He has no idea he's about to be disintegrated,' but when I did I failed to notice a lynch pin had slipped out and the disintegrator had swung directly over my head. When I turned around, the roadrunner had finished the pellets and was looking at me so I scowled at him and pushed the 'On' button while maintaining eye contact. I was immediately disintegrated into a pile of ashes with two eyes, so I minused a star for the loose hingepin. The roadrunner 'beep! beep!'-ed at me and disappeared down the road, bending it as he did so, and I held up a sign on which I had written: sigh. Overall a good disintegrator."
There are certainly more hijacked review threads out there, and there are probably better ones as well. There might even be some enterprising young reviewer right now taking a look at a novelty pair of American Flag Pants, and thinking: "Yes. This could be next." Unfortunately, we can't be everywhere, but you can, so feel free to leave any hilarious reviews that we've missed in the comments.
Republished with permission. Evan Dashevsky and Alan Byrne are dealnews contributors.