I AM a big fan of Amazon (the online shop, not the river or a woman you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night). Since I no longer work in the sprawling metropolis that is Barnstaple and the dearly beloved keeps stealing my car I am more housebound than I would like. But Amazon has come to the rescue to provide me with all kinds of products from a witch's hat to hibiscus tea.
I should perhaps explain that the witch's hat was for a fancy dress party. I might live in the back of beyond but I haven't yet come across a coven or a giant wicker man with Edward Woodward trapped inside. No doubt these types of things go on but no one seems to want to see me dancing around a bonfire wearing nothing more than a pair of fake horns. Their loss.
In my experience Amazon does exactly what it says it will do. It delivers promptly and if there is a problem they solve it. I can't get over the fact that on Wednesday I have ordered three packets of magic beans and by Thursday they have arrived. By Saturday I am stealing a golden egg from a giant. Or something like that...
Before buying anything, though, I read through the reviews. Why are some people so incredibly stupid? This morning I was looking at a review for a book by Anne Cleeves of whom I am a big fan. She wrote the books that TV series Vera and Shetland are based on.
Here's a one-star (out of five) review: "Riveting read first time l have read an Ann cleaves novel
Can't wait to read the next one don't get any work done as I can't put the book down ."
I'll ignore the total misspelling of Anne Cleeves and the lack of any punctuation, but I can't ignore the fact she's given the book the lowest rating possible for a book she "can't put down". What?
Amazon reviews have taken on a life of their own and there are now a swathe of spoof ones. In fact Amazon have been so amused by some of them they have singled out a few HERE.
The review of the Box Canvas Print of Paul Ross says: “If you only buy one 20 inch canvas print of Paul Ross this year, this is the one to get.”
My claim to fame is that I worked with Paul Ross when he started out as a trainee reporter on the (now defunct) Western Times. The Western Times office was based in the Express and Echo office in Exeter where I was an inept editorial assistant before undertaking journalism training.
I'll finish now with my favourite reviews of all time. Amazon was selling Bic Pens For Her. One woman wrote: "Someone has answered my gentle prayers and FINALLY designed a pen that I can use all month long. I use it when I’m swimming, riding a horse, walking on the beach and doing yoga. It’s comfortable, leak-proof, non-slip and it makes me feel so feminine and pretty."
And another from a man: “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree-felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”