As the holiday shopping season kicks into gear, it’s useful to read through customer product reviews on various websites. The unvarnished opinions and realistic descriptions let consumers know if a product lives up to its marketing, or is a waste of hard-earned cash. It can also be incredibly entertaining.
There are plenty of sharp-witted comedians out there, and product-review sites — especially on Amazon.com — provide them with a stage. Some reviews became such classics that the products associated with them sold out. Others mocked their topic so slyly that the product disappeared from the market.
Writing Amazon reviews has become an art unto itself, and sometimes reading them can be more fun than buying things on the shopping site. Here are 15 products that inspired such silliness — and some of the most memorable reviews:
Tuscan Dairy Whole Vitamin D Milk
Do people really need to read a review of milk? It’s pretty self-explanatory, and one brand seems much like another. For these and other reasons, Tuscan Dairy's whole milk became one of the earliest products with witty reviews that went viral, and reading through them is still a moo-ving experience.
“This is a fine milk, but the product line appears to be limited in available colors. I could only find white,” writes one reviewer. “This milk is EASILY twice as good as Tuscan Half Milk,” snarks another. And it must have been a “Princess Bride” movie fan who responded to “How do you milk a Tuscan?” with “Answer: Carefully, and not while betting against a Sicilian.”
Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer
Truly, the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer is a solution to a problem nobody ever had. Bananas aren’t hard to slice with a regular knife even on their worst days, and the goofiness of the product held plenty of a-peel for reviewers.
“Ordering one for my nephew who’s in the Air Force in California,” wrote one fan. “He’s been using an old slinky to slice his bananas.”
One reviewer scolded. “I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slicer is curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way.”
And don’t forget the real issue: “It only works if you have a banana and these are not included…”
Bic for Her
A ballpoint pen would seem to be a unisex product, but for some bizarre reason, Bic for Her was aimed at women. As you can imagine, the acerbic comments flew, with every reviewer an equal-opportunity jokester.
“So now they have their own pens,” groaned one reviewer. “Next thing, they will be owning property, voting, and talking back. Where will it end?”
And another wrote: “I got these pens for my girlfriend, since they specifically say ‘For Her.’ … These have NOT helped her make me a sandwich any faster, and I don’t understand why.”
And won’t someone please think of the famous male authors? “Thank goodness the gender of the pens are finally properly labeled,” one reviewer wrote. “Imagine if Hemingway accidentally grabbed this Bic for Her lady pen instead of his mighty, virile, man-pen made out of black rhino horns?”
The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee
There are plenty of original T-shirts out there, but for some reason, this tee with three wolves howling at the moon caught the internet’s eye. There are more than 3,400 reviews of the product.
It’s apparently good for the career: “Received this shirt just in time for my job interview,” one reviewer wrote. “After seeing my awesome attire, the interviewing manager offered me his job.”
And for luring the ladies: “After catching my wife with this amazing shirt I had put it away in storage for many years as the power of this shirt was just too much for me to handle and I didn’t need it anymore. Fast forward 10+ years later as a happily married man, I had thought in no way the magical properties for this Tshirt would still be valid or the force of this shirt would still persist. Boy was I WRONG! One day I retrieved the shirt from the deepest part of my closet as I needed an old shirt to wear. The instant I stepped out into the world I could not fend off all these women!…”
And others noted that oddball price range, running between $6 and $62 for apparently the exact same shirt. “Is there a difference between the $6 version and the $30 one?” a price-conscious shopper asked. “I don’t see any more wolves.” And the answer was clear: “Yes. Twenty-four dollars.”
‘How to Avoid Huge Ships’ book
Amazon sells so many things these days that it’s easy to forget its origins as a bookstore. One of the books that really can be judged by its cover is John Trimmer's "How to Avoid Huge Ships," which apparently is about … exactly what it sounds like.
Some loved it. “This book helped me really approach the subject of huge ships with my kids in an honest and non-judgmental way,” raved one dad.
Some hated it, like the traveler who wrote: “Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.”
But perhaps no one had as bad an experience as the would-be reader who wanted the book in electronic format, and complained “Given that there is a huge ship bearing down on me RIGHT NOW I am extremely disappointed that I cannot get inst–”
With a horse-head mask this realistic — and terrifying — it’s only natural that the reviewers were going to start horsing around with their writeups.
“It is day 87 and the horses have accepted me as one of their own,” writes one reviewer.
Said another: “The biggest question I get asked is, ‘Why do you have that?’ I simply reply, ‘Why don’t you have one?’ and then gallop away and eat some grass.”
And another buyer has made it a permanent part of life, writing: “While wearing this mask as a part of my everyday wardrobe, a gentleman came up to me and told me, ‘Sir, that mask of yours is truly awful! Remove that garish thing at once!’ I replied, ‘Neigh.'”
The horse head is meant for light-hearted romps, but uranium ore? Yes, Amazon sells it, although the fine print is extensive. The webpage also notes that it is sold “in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations.”
Customers had some, uh, glowing reviews, often drawing on their knowledge of science and history. “I purchased this product 4.47 billion years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty,” snarked one.
And some ended up misusing the product. “My daughter got a hold of this and accidentally dropped it in the cemetery down the street from us,” wrote one. “Damn corpses won’t stay down now.”
Pets could also be a problem. “I left this product next to my pet lizard,” explained one reviewer. “Unfortunately, now he’s 350-feet tall now and is currently destroying Tokyo, Japan.”
Sigma Ultra-Telephoto Zoom Lens — $26,000
Amazon has plenty of affordable items. Then, there are those products that fit into a different price level entirely. One example is this ultra-telephoto camera lens, priced at $25,999. Now maybe it’s the greatest lens in the world for what it does, but reviewers had fun with the high price.
“Or you can buy the 3 pack at Costco, save a few dollars,” joked one reader. A West Coaster found it useful “for those days when you want to spy on North Korea from the California coastline.”
And one sly reviewer connected the lens with another humorously reviewed product, the banana slicer mentioned above, writing, “I’ve supplied all of my banana pickers with the Hutzler 571 slicers and oversee the entire operation from my front porch in the mountains of Pennsylvania through this Sigma lens.”
‘Microwave For One’ book
The cookbook "Microwave For One," by Sonia Allison, was probably quite useful back in 1987 when it came out. But there’s something so sad about both the title and the now-dated cover, and sharp-eyed customers have been cooking up some hilarious commentary.
“This book was disappointingly cold at the start and end of the book, however, the middle was full of scalding hot recipes,” writes one reviewer who obviously knows his or her way around a microwave oven.
A few missed the concept entirely. “After only 18 minutes in the microwave, the book caught fire,” one wrote. “It did have a nice smoky flavor, but the middle chapters caused some paper cuts on my tongue.”
“The recipes are so easy that I bought 3 more copies for my wife and kids so we can all enjoy these wonderful meals together,” one diner wrote.
And some imagined what the recipes inside the book might include. “If beans explode out of the back of the frozen burrito it’s probably done,” one said.
Senior Woman with Asthma Wall Mural by Wallmonkeys
Vinyl wall graphics can be useful, especially in a school or pediatrician’s office. And this giant graphic of an older woman using an asthma inhalermight fit in an allergist’s clinic. But it’s a bit odd that it’s being offered for sale to the general public, and the general public knows it.
“Put it up right next to my framed oil painting of an old man measuring his pills into a daily dispenser,” wrote one reviewer. “Looks amazing!”
Another found a friend in the wall graphic: “She keeps me company in my apartment since I don’t have any actual friends, we eat, play board games, and watch TV together. We have so much in common like our love for breathing and other things.”
Sugar-Free Gummi Bears
Gummi bears are a delightful snack. But it seems that when they’re made sugar-free, they can have a laxative effect. Warning: Some of the reviews for these sugar-free gummis can be kind of disturbing to read, but if you are fine with bathroom humor, you’re all set.
Here’s one by Christine E. Torok, just to give you an idea of the issue: “Oh man…words cannot express what happened to me after eating these. The Gummi Bear “Cleanse”. If you are someone that can tolerate the sugar substitute, enjoy. If you are like the dozens of people that tried my order, RUN!”
One of the cleaner comments simply reads, “I am sending a bag of these to every member of Congress to show my deepest gratitude.”
Another noted, “I’m evil and gave them away at Mardi Gras. Never take candy from strangers!”
And another writes, “These could come in handy if you put a big bowl on your desk when you get a visit from a hostile corporate takeover team…”
AutoExec Wheelmate Steering Wheel Attachable Work Surface Tray
Let’s assume the best about this steering-wheel work tray. Maybe you frequently get to work early, but for some reason aren’t allowed into the building. Or maybe you go on a lot of sales calls and need to fill out computer paperwork immediately after each call. No one would really try and use this thing while driving — would they?
They certainly would in the crazy fictional universes devised by reviewers — including George Takei, Sulu of "Star Trek" fame, who’s known as a frequent reviewer of goofy products. “I can now happily fly at warp speed down the streets of Los Angeles, laptop or mobile device perched right in front of me, so I can keep both eyes right on it AND on the road,” Takei jokes.
The famed banana slicer once again came in for a mention. “I am so glad this product has come along,” writes one critic. “Finally, I have a flat surface to use my Hutzler Banana Slicer while on the go.”
And naturally, not every review ends well. “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!” wrote one reader. “I’m using it right now to post this review and I never–”
Like Mulder and Scully of ‘X-Files” fame, many people out there want to believe. That might explain this UFO detector (currently unavailable, so calm down, E.T.) It’s described as an “Internal magnetometer interfaced with microcontroller for 24 hour/7 days a week monitoring for magnetic anomalies that have been reported with many UFO sightings.” But you don’t have to know what that means, or believe in little green aliens, to have fun with the out-of-this-world reviews.
“I don’t know if this is a scam or if mine was broken, but it doesn’t work and I am still getting abducted by UFOs on a regular basis,” whined one contributor.
But others had better luck. “This little gizmo is a bargain at twice the price and much more accurate than the voices in my head,” wrote one reviewer.
And not every review seems to come from Earthlings. “I, as a resonable and trUstworthy hUman, do not gleep nerp this ungood prodUct,” wrote … someone? Something? “Bad it is for Us hUmans to purchase and opperate this online pUrchasable prodUct.”
Playmobil Security Checkpoint
Toymaker Playmobil gives kids plenty of creative scenarios in which to exercise their imagination. But thisairport security check playset, offered from 2003 to 2007, seemed like a truly weird choice. Are kids dreaming of someday passing through a metal detector, or being the TSA agent telling passengers to remove their shoes and jackets? Regardless, the now-discontinued product sent reviewer imaginations soaring — many with a political point to make.
Racial profiling was often mentioned. “One of my daughters walked Dora the Explorer through the checkpoint and was instantly asked to produce her papers!” wrote one reviewer.
Some had ideas for expansion of the set. “The no-privacy full-body scanner, and the cavity-search back room are not included,” noted another. “The playset seemed well built, but none of the other Playmobil action figures I had seemed to enjoy it very much,” one reviewer remarked. “In fact, most of them complained, and are now being detained in an unknown location…”