Customers have been posting funny fake reviews on Amazon for more than 15 years. But this Friday Amazon did something truly surprising. On the front page of Amazon, in big orange letters, they posted “You guys are really funny.” And then — next to a picture of a rubber horse head mask — Amazon linked to a list of some of the very best satirical reviews their customers have submitted over the years…
Here’s a few samples.
“I was very disappointed to have my uranium confiscated at the airport. It was a gift for my son for his birthday. Also, I’m in prison now, so that’s not good either…”
That’s for a product labeled simply “Uranium Ore” — a low-radioactivity sample being sold in a metal can for educational purposes. But that didn’t stop Amazon’s reviewers from imagining some alternative worst-case scenarios. “It is not cat foodâ€¦.” warned another reviewer in West Virginia. “The cat’s huge and well, doesn’t really look much like a cat anymore.”
“Enjoy this collection of some of the funniest, top-voted reviews written by your fellow customers,” Amazon writes at the top of their web page — though they also gently remind visitors that this is not how you’re supposed to write your reviews. “Helpful product reviews written by Amazon customers are the heart of Amazon.com,” the top of the web page explains, “and we treasure the customers who work hard to write them.
“But occasionally customer creativity goes off the charts in the best possible way…”
Horse Head Mask
“It’s not big enough to completely cover a horse’s head, and it doesn’t provide enough air flow for them, either.” — Selig7
“By wearing this mask, I was able to get anything and everything I needed. Plenty of hay, lots of time to run and, best of all, I no longer have to wear pants.” — T. C. Zimmermann
To be fair to the reviewers, it’s worth noting that some of these products really are pretty crazy – and their reviews are simply calling attention to that in the form of a parody. Here’s a list of the 10 products where Amazon’s acknowledging the fake reviews.
Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer
Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt
BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen
Wheelmate Laptop Steering Wheel Desk
Avery Durable View Binder
Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal
Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable
Accoutrements Horse Head Mask
How to Avoid Huge Ships
Interestingly, the fake reviews seem to give these products a surprising amount of popularity. The book titled “How to Avoid Huge Ships” is now only available from third-party sellers, and the lowest asking price is $598.98.
And at least one of the fake reviews was voted as “Helpful” by a whopping 27,351 people. It was for the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, a kitchen gadget that you press into a banana to instantly chop it into slices, and a reviewer named “Mrs Toledo” decided to make fun of its importance by sarcastically gushing about the device — in a review titled “Saved My Marriage”. (“My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day’s banana slices… The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change…”)
Amazon is even letting users nominate more reviews (or submit comments about the ones that Amazon picked) with a special form to the right of their web page. “Share your thoughts,” Amazon encourages their visitors, “or tell us about a funny review that you’d like to see on the list.” But what’s really fascinating is that often the review’s Amazon quotes weren’t even the most popular reviews for these ridiculous products. One review which Amazon didn’t quote for the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer actually racked up 47,799 “Helpful” votes .
Though I’m guessing Amazon may have felt its storyline got a little too wild…
“For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. ‘Use a knife!’ they say. Well…my parole officer won’t allow me to be around knives. ‘Shoot it with a gun!’ Background check…HELLO…! Then, after a fit of banana-induced rage, my parole officer introduced me to this kitchen marvel and my life was changed. No longer consumed by seething anger and animosity towards thick-skinned yellow fruit, I was able to concentrate on my love of theatre and am writing a musical play about two lovers from rival gangs that just try to make it in the world….