Online reviews can be both good and bad. I know that when ordering clothes online, the reviews can be very beneficial - other customers telling you that the sizing is out, or that the fabric feels cheap can be very helpful when making a decision on whether to go to the effort of ordering online. J Crew in the US, for example, weathered the storm of consumer protest over their lack of online review for many years up until fairly recently. Certainly I know that I avoided ordering anything from them for a few years as their vanity sizing saw me apparently shrinking on a seasonal basis, something that made me hesitant to order anything as it would most likely be too big compared to the same size the previous season. And contrary to whatever J Crew seem to think, I am not stupid enough to believe I've miraculously lost weight and shrunk numerous dress sizes, so the point of vanity sizing seems to be lost on me…



However, sometimes online reviews are not helpful, at all. I was just looking at ordering lamps online from overseas, and this was fairly typical of the reviews I saw "I have just got the lamps and they look good, but I haven't set them up yet to see if they work". Or this one "I really love these lamps and can't wait for them to arrive!". Well, thanks for the excellent review… very handy that you've had exactly the same amount of experience with these lamps as I have (i.e. you've not actually seen them in the flesh, plugged them in to see if they work etc etc).


Trip advisor is an obvious pitfall and it is the first place anyone travelling will go to check their future hotel's reviews. I hate to say it as it is an obvious prejudice, but if a reviewer writes with poor grammar, a lack of punctuation and/or text speak I will most likely discount any negative review posted. I will also generally discount any negative rant from someone talking about how this was a "special" occasion and that they asked for "special" things to be done for their arrival and were then outraged when said special things were not done and they were not treated with the special reverence that they believed their 3rd wedding anniversary deserved. Sure, I agree that it would be nice if these special things occurred as you'd requested, but if you've taken a base level room at a large resort I won't blame the staff for not attending to the many special requests you've put in.

Hayman Island

And then, I fell down the rabbit hole of reviews - Amazon.com. I have been aware of the infamous Playmobil (kid's German made role- play toy) reviews...see here for the Playmobil Security Check Point  reviews on Amazon, it's a cult collectable (as reflected by its exorbitant pricing). And if you're interested in seeing what the 17 most inappropriate Playmobil sets are then read here for a good laugh.


But I found instead these "Bic Cristal For Her" pens reviewed which proved that the marketing team at BIC are geniuses…





and then Amazon recommended that other buyers of the Bic Cristal For Her pens also bought the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, which also had hilarious reviews….



and finally after reviewing the banana slicer, Amazon recommended this to me, the reviews of which had me in stitches, and after which I decided I wouldn't see what else Amazon suggested I should purchase...

Enjoy the weekend!


46 comments:

  1. This is too funny!!! Who reviews pens???????? And the Playmobil!!!! I tend to ignore the TripAdvisor reviews for the same reason, plus I am a natural skeptic and wonder if sometimes these places don't have their pals post... I like word of mouth or checking multiple sources on places! Love those lamps!

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    1. Those reviews are hilarious - I suspect the pen ones are done by disgruntled feminists for a creative writing exercise. I have heard that the competition will often post negative reviews on Trip Advisor as a faux guest - it's particularly difficult for smaller operators for this reason who can end up with one terrible fake review that sends down their rating.

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  2. Just finished reading those reviews and was absolutely struggling to stop myself bursting out with laughter as my husband lies asleep beside me. Hilarious!! - Denita

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    1. They are pretty funny Denita! Glad you enjoyed them

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  3. I find Trip Advisor really handy and tend to agree with the majority of reviews there, it's the first thing I look at when booking a new place. My major bugbear is when you toss things in your online basket ad then get hassled by the company "you've forgotten something' what an invasion of personal space, I go into rage and email them at once and tell them my business has just gone down the swanee.

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    1. I loath those emails - it feels so big brother to me. Half of my problem with certain shops are the google ads that pop up with something you looked at online in a shop following you around and that always make me feel like I'm under surveillance. My latest one were knickers - I was price checking some boring everyday knickers online and now whenever I go on any webpage with ads I have a slew of pictures of the bottom half of models in knickers following me around. Probably a dream come true for some men…!

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    2. Feel the same way about the bossy emails from Facebook and LinkedIn telling you to do something or congratulate someone...

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  4. From decades ago, I suspected that the person who reviewed things were more critical anywhere and less traveled and esp travel i was always very wary. Many hotels are reviewed by Americans who just want to repeat their home experience in a different country.
    I am though addicted to reading reviews of clothing and when there is more than one, ("the material is a weird bronze instead of gold" say) I always take notice.
    What i find even more telling than reviews is when the clothing does not look good on the model. If it doesn't look good on her, what hope is there for the rest of us. Always stunned when stores post an unflattering photos of the article,

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    1. I so agree with you about the model thing!! I always think the same thing - if it looks ugly on them, it's bound to look horrendous on non-model me. And yes, the clothes reviews are the best - I find that people's expectations of the accommodation on Trip Advisor are so specific to the country/ culture they're from that it can totally colour their ratings.

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    2. Esp when their thighs look fat in a pair of jeans - whaaaat??

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  5. Heidi
    This is amazing! Have never read Amazon reviews before for anything except books. Who knew! Hilarious! There are clearly so many people out there who are frustrated stand-up comics or writers. But when do people find time to write these big 'think' pieces? At work, maybe?
    Definitely use Tripadvisor all the time - have found so many good little places travel agents have no idea of. Just have to read reviews carefully and identify the 'weeds'. Worth checking on nationality, age etc often revealed along with comment. Agree, tend to discount comments from people who can't spell or are barely literate. With some careful research methods applied, Tripadvisor can be enormously helpful.
    Have been to the le Corbusier exhibition at the Pompidou and the Bonnard today at the d'Orsay. Think you might have enjoyed both - but now to afraid to give a review! Pammie xxx

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    1. Especially after that typo! Pammie

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    2. I think they're likely something written to entertain while at work.. or maybe students? They are hilarious.
      Would love to see those exhibitions - they sound fabulous. I can't wait to see you in person in a couple of months and hear all about the trip! Enjoy the UK leg (if you're there yet?) xx

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    3. Yes, probably they're students.
      In Paris for a few weeks yet. Andrew and family arriving on 17th! So excited at prospect of enjoying Paris together. They've just found a fabulous place to stay in the Marais - sent us off to check it out for them. An overseas student going home for a month is airbnbing her 2 bedroom apartment. Amazing location. Two many stairs up for me but they should be fine. Went to Lanvin exhibition at the Palais Galliera yesterday - superb, such beautiful cut, line and fine detail. Gorgeous lbds and some enchanting dresses in powder pinks, blues, absinthe greens and even some in oranges and reds. Loved the sparkles too.
      So looking forward to Hobart too! Pammie xxx

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    4. Today, the Jean Paul Gaulthier exhibition at the Grand Palais. Edgy, exotic, erotic, striking, dry humour, extraordinary. Lots of the mannequins had moving eyes in a natural kind of way - blinking, looking around the gallery, moving lips and cheeks - pulling faces, some speaking or singing. Have never seen a fashion display like it before. Many of the clothes not terribly wearable (except for showgirls and fashion bloggers, Daphne Guinness or some fashion stylists) and terribly non pc. But so interesting and original.
      In afternoon, the Velasquez (also at the Grand Palais) - very good, some of the greats but not Las Meninas. But suffered a bit after the mind-blowing JPG. Pammie xxx

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  6. 4&1/2 to 5 years ago we looked at reviews on trip advisor for accommodation In France for our 6 week trip. We were traveling with our 7 & 9 year old. Therefore we were able to discard a lot of negative reviews as they were written by either business travelers or the opposition. Clearly a business traveller's needs and ours didn't intersect on some levels. It was a bit nerve racking as we needed to make sure we weren't sending out money to bogus sites & who wants to deal with grumpy kids when you arrive at your supposed destination & Le hotel/ pensione isn't there. My trip advisor name made reference to the fact we were a family of 4 & I then posted reviews of all the places we stayed at. We stayed in some great & fabulous places. Apart from accommodation we booked 2 tours online after reading and sifting through reviews. We used trip advisor then as we didn't know anyone who had done such a trip & we only knew one friend of a friend who had a home in Provence.
    The only thing I recommend to anyone who says they are going to make a big outlay on an item whether it be a holiday, car or electrical appliance is to do an Internet search "problems with (insert name & type of appliance/ device you are buying). After our last car was showing itself to be a lemon, I did such a search & found that the US govt had a whole dept dealing with same car make & model & the numbers of such lemons in the US were phenomenal. Den xxx
    Ps hope to send through photo of Chanel inspired building company logo as going near that site soon.

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    1. Please do Den - that will give me a good laugh! That's awful about the car - I had a similar problem with mine when the transmission had to be replaced (out of warranty unfortunately). It was SO expensive, and I then found out when googling that the model/ year of that car had a reputation for the transmission going internationally as well… so frustrating.

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  7. We usually tend to book small family hotels de charme in France, found on Tripadvisor. Have never yet had a dud, but we screen carefully. Some of them have been so good we've now re-visited for the fourth time. After selecting a new place (to us) we usually send emails out first to the hotel enquiring about various aspects of the accommodation and sometimes follow up with a phone call. These usually give a clearer idea of what the place is like and how efficient and helpful are the people who might look after you. At small places in Provence or other country areas the staff often stay for years - so you get to know them on re-visits. We're now treated like long lost family when we go back. We've even go to know the breakfast chef in one, a lovely lady we're now on provencal kissing terms with. Likewise the owners at really small places. Some of them are still charging us the amount from years before as they say - oh we won't charge you the new price! All from Tripadvisor! Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. Well being a regular enough to be given the old pricing is a definite advantage Pammie!! That's great you've never hit on a dud from Tripadvisor too.

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  8. On tripadvisor, I like to see how the hotelier responds to complaints. But I agree, some people are very full of their own rights.
    For clothing, I like to try things on, rather than buy on internet.

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    1. Yes, I agree - if they've ignored the negative review completely and they're a smaller place then I tend to be wary of booking in. I'm an internet shopper more so than in person, I find it easier to scan through things online, and in a shop faced with an endless rack just feel like it's all too much effort to be bothered looking through.

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  9. It's a funny thing because now even though I don't believe half of them it seems there is the new art of decoding and deciphering among the chaff. I was guilty of my first ever tripadvisor review bc I was so incensed and this was the advent of tripadvisor that I just fumed without being properly constructive but after reading so many - it sucks vs it's great which is of nor help to anyone! But there are now so many small hotels that will charge money if you give them a bad review on tripadvisor. it's ludicrous! I also think amazon reviews are hilarious and sometimes they are better than the book that is being reviewed! x

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    1. How do they charge money for a bad review? I've not heard of that so am very curious?!
      Yes, agree about the book reviews - some of them are very funny indeed, but the product ones are in another category again!

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    2. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/19/tripadvisor-couple-bad-hotel-review-charged-blackpool-broadway

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  10. FUNNYYYYY POST!!!!!! I try to avoid reading hotel reviews too. Or restaurant ones too. . I don't want anything to colour my experience before trying it out.

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    1. No sometimes it can make you feel a little anxious in the lead up if you're looking forward to the hotel/ meal but are concerned it might not be great based on other people's negative experiences. Glad you enjoyed the reviews I linked to!

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  11. Heidi -
    That last item, ahem, recommended by Amazon - what in the world??? LOL! I do check out online reviews, especially for restaurants. But I still like to try out a restaurant despite the reviews. Now I'm curious about Trip advisor. Happy weekend - L

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    1. That was pretty funny… and I didn't realise amazon sold such an interesting array of things! Have a great weekend Loi x

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  12. What a brilliant post - and one of the reasons I love your blog! Witty, informative and with an excellent dose of humour. Adored the reviews of the recommended product - literally went 'nuts' with laughter!

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    1. Ha! Glad you enjoyed them, they certainly made me laugh a lot (and of course my husband couldn't work out why I was finding Amazon so funny!)

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  13. LMFAO!!! What a good post to finish a frustrating day being my husbands tiling apprentice. Never would I have known about the hilarity of Amazon if it weren't for you! Nor the questionable design department at Playmobil! If I ever get 'free' time again, I hope to remember reading reviews as a source of great hilarity. . .

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  14. Must add too, that I'll be writing to Palmobil's creative department....tiling set should include blonde female apprentice slugging vino whilst tiler has his ruler stuck up his....

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    1. I think those 17 playlets, with the emphasis on the Construction work teams would definitely give you a few laughs KL. The crate of beer that comes with the construction crew and the focus on the portaloo were very realistic I thought!

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    2. Might buy a few for Davey for Christmas! LOL!

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  15. I don't actually ever look for reviews!! Sometimes I google for a book or movie review! Obviously I should have been looking at reviews from stores like JCrew and Landsend as I've had many deliveries which I couldn't use and had to send back! As for the vanity sizing!!!... xxx

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    1. Well, the reviews on Jcrew are so recent that I hadn't realised they'd finally implemented them - but yes to having to send things back all the time. It's so frustrating! For a long time there were parallel forums running where other people would review JCrew things for other forum members. Eventually Crew has given in, but it's taken a long time...

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  16. Those damn bananas that curve left instead of right! Sounds like a business opportunity to me. Thanks for the tipoff. Judith

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    1. Ha! I particularly liked that review too!

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  17. I love reading Tripadvisor reviews but wish people would let you know their basis for judgement sometimes. Like saying 'great hotel' means nothing but saying 'I'm a total party animal so this was a great hotel' tell me a lot (ie. don't stay there).

    Same with clothing reviews. I shop a lot at Modcloth and always read the reviews which include space for the customer to put their measurements. If someone doesn't include their measurements and they something is small fitting, how do you know they aren't just confused about their sizing? Or don't actually know it.

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    1. I know what you mean about trip advisor although the ones that start with "my wife and I like to stay at 5 star only hotels and are frequent visitors to the Veneto region etc etc" can be equally painful!
      I'm always a little dubious about how people have to add in their sizing in their review on the side bar - we all know most women lie about their size and measurements, so I suspect that they are never correct at any rate.

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  18. Hi on the review front how did u manage to get that gorg American bed linen To oz? would love to order but can't see they ship here ?

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    1. Hi Anna, I used a reshipper to get the bedding here from Serena and Lily. The one I used has just shut down, but I have heard good things about Stackry.com so will be trying them out in future. I've tried hopshopgo.com in the past as well and had a bad experience with customer service so I try to avoid them.

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  19. I tend to read the negative reviews with the mindset of "if it's true, could I live with it?" The positive ones all seem to be paid for.

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    1. Oh I know what you mean with that - sometimes it's helpful "not as shiny gold as the photos suggests" might be a positive for me...

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  20. So true, I have been on Tripadvisor heaps lately booking my honeymoon in the USA and the special requests one came up a lot and made me laugh. Also agree on the grammer etc, my friend has a rule that she wont date men who can't send a proper text message without spelling mistakes :)

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  21. Oh my goodness. Some of these are absolutely priceless and would you believe we actually have one of the 17 most inappropriate playmobil sets! It is one of my brother's old sets from the 1980s and is often played with by my boys! xx

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