Relay: 'Electric Shocked My Husband'

"Seven people found this helpful." Amazon.com

The shirt was a “deceitful product,” according to one Amazon reviewer, who complained that it “looks blah and cheap.” 

“Cheap” as in not worth the $9 price tag? 

The travel pillow? “I’d rather sleep without a pillow than this pillow, even if I was sleeping on a rock,” Yeahbuddy wrote. 

The accent table with three drawers looked nice for the price, and with Amazon Prime you can always return it if it’s not what you thought it would be. Or can you? “Once it is open, it is literally impossible to return, as it is so heavy,” according to Frida, who added, “I threw it away.”

Another review was titled “nightstand from the underworld.” 

“Last night I hit the nightstand with my pillow on accident,” the customer wrote, “and it totally fell apart.” 

“This is only a good nightstand if you sleep on the floor,” another reviewer chimed in.  

I always read the negative product reviews, often aloud to my husband while he watches cable news, and usually in fits of laughter. Sometimes I’m not even interested in the item, but when the bad reviews are good enough, I can’t help myself. 

There was something about the retro 3-in-1 family-size breakfast station. The fun turquoise, the fact that it could brew coffee, toast four slices of bread, and cook sausage and eggs on its nonstick griddle top all at once. Fifty-two percent of reviewers rated it five stars, but a few clicks told a different story. 

“I loved this and had it for a year and then the button for the coffee machine broke and fell off when I tried to put it back on it had a major spark and my hand was black all around the circle of where I was holding the button,” an anonymous Amazon customer wrote, her punctuation obviously affected by the surprise jolt from the breakfast station.

J & lu said, “The coffee maker button got stuck this morning and just electric shocked my husband.” 

Perhaps, then, a different toaster oven that fits six slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza? Timmy gives this one five stars and says, “it has good looking, and I like the size that is convenient to storage.” 

But, wait, Morguloff Properties rates it one star and notes that the “temperature is in Celsius” and the “timer does not work very well [and] I end up burning most of what I am cooking.” However, he adds, “With that said if you need a cheap toaster it works you just have to be vigilant.” Can “Timmy” be so wrong? 

Tom doesn’t think so, and also rates it five stars. Under the heading “haha very like,” he extols the toaster oven’s many virtues: “One is broil, which is very fast, usually grilled fish. . . . One is bake, slow-cooked, roast chicken, roast Turkey, baked sweet potato, baked pizza, baked bread. . . . So that’s sort of the general idea that this oven is really good and easy to clean haha.” 

Apparently, “seven people found this helpful.” 

Good reviews can be deceiving. What’s written between the lines?

When Airbnb guests describe an apartment as “a bit eclectic” or “bohemian,” that might be a red flag, but eclectic can also mean character. Unpack this: “If you prefer places that look a bit less inhabited, this might not be for you.” 

Well put, diplomatic reviewer. Translation: disheveled, cluttered, maybe a loaded air gun in the toy bin, but painted with a joyous abandon that comes off very cheerful in the pictures. I’ve stayed there, and the more straightforward “the cleanliness left something to be desired” from another reviewer was accurate, but did incur the wrath of the host and possibly resulted in the blacklisting of the guest forevermore. Best to stick with “original and funky,” also accurate, with a hint for the astute reader.

Buyer be “vigilant,” M. Properties might say. Even if something “has good looking” it could still burn your proverbial toast.


Carissa Katz is The Star’s managing editor.