Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great Last-Minute Gift Ideas (Well, Maybe Not)


by Noah

Lately, in a desperate last-minute search for gifts for the few friends I have left, I have been perusing in search of inspiration. For those who don’t know, Amazon has recently been a great target of spoofers who are addicted to writing satirical reviews of both real and fictional products. The fictional products are, of course listed by second-party vendors, not by Amazon per se. They merely appear as secondary offers. I suspect that most of the perpetrators are recently graduated college students who can’t find a real job. Hmmm. Maybe if Amazon had physical stores or didn’t farm out all of its grunt work to India. . . .

To the corporate world at large: If you don’t give Americans jobs, you will become fair game. It’s up to you. You’ve brought this upon yourselves. All that said, here’s some of what I have found in Amazon’s sleigh full of goodies.


It’s only $29.95 and, as you can see in the photo up top is nicely packaged, complete with a nice graphic hazard label. It’s a real product; used for Geiger counters. But it’s the reviews that really matter. One buyer, who claims to have bought it to power his home-made submarine, is very glad to have the ore, declaring himself: “So glad that I don’t have to buy this from Libyans in parking lots at the mall anymore.” One customer says he is using the ore to speed up evolution. Another put it in his wife’s makeup to give her that “radiant glow,” while several users have claimed to use the ore for the self-medicating of tumors, and more than one has, predictably, used it to threaten his neighbors. Isn’t that just human nature!


Now this is a practical gift for the friend that either has everything or is obsessed with being abducted and probed by aliens. It may cost $149, but according to several purchasers it’s more than worth the price. The very first reviewer speaks for many when he says:
I purchased this item and am blown away by its effectiveness. I started this device up and immediately detected not one, not two, but five separate UFOs in my immediate area. I am currently working on a way to communicate with what I assume is an intelligent species visiting our planet, but so far, I have been unsuccessful. I am waiting to see if this company will be selling a UFO communications device in the near future. If it is anything like this detector, I will be extremely happy. Thank you for a great product !

Warning, though: One customer complains that his microwave, TV, etc. interfere with the device’s effectiveness, saying that he has been abducted twice since making his purchase! Bummer, dude.

My favorite UFO Detector review, however, is the one written by an extraterrestrial who claims to need help in making a very confidential monetary transaction involving the transfer of a huge sum of off-world currency to a foreign account. It just goes to show that the aliens may look different from us, but they have the same needs and problems . . . and scams.


With over 1100 reviews, this one may be the king of all of the Amazon spoofs. It’s certainly been widely circulated. The first review is a takeoff on Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” but the most special one may be a mini-romance novel titled One Friday, Without Milk:
He always brought home milk on Friday.

After a long hard week full of days he would burst through the door, his fatigue hidden behind a smile. There was an icy jug of Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz in his right hand. With his left hand he would grip my waist -- I was always cooking dinner -- and press the cold frostiness of the jug against my arm as he kissed my cheek. I would jump, mostly to gratify him after a time, and smile lovingly at him. He was a good man, a wonderful husband who always brought the milk on Friday, Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz.

Then there was that Friday, the terrible Friday that would ruin every Friday for the rest of my life. The door opened, but there was no bouyant greeting -- no cold jug against the back of my arm. There was no Tuscan Whole Milk in his right hand, nor his left. There came no kiss. I watched as he sat down in a kitchen chair to remove his shoes. He wore no fatigue, but also no smile. I didn't speak, but turned back to the beans I had been stirring. I stirred until most of their little shrivelled skins floated to the surface of the cloudy water. Something was wrong, but it was vague wrongness that no amount of hard thought could give shape to.

Over dinner that night I casually inserted, "What happened to the milk?"

"Oh," he smiled sheepishly, glancing aside, "I guess I forgot today."

That was when I knew. He was tired of this life with me, tired of bringing home the Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz. He was probably shoveling funds into a secret bank account, looking at apartments in town, casting furtive glances at cashiers and secretaries and waitresses. That's when I knew it was over. Some time later he moved in with a cashier from the Food Mart down the street. And me? Well, I've gone soy.


This has to be my personal favorite. Be sure to click on all of the product images, which can serve as a warning to those who misuse the product. This is a real product, a portable desk that clips onto your steering wheel, but, as you will see if you click on the link, the majority of the reviewers used the product incorrectly. Using it to change diapers while you drive (your kid’s not $enator Vitters?), using it as a minibar while bar-hopping, and using it to hold your dinner and cut your steak while you drive -- probably none of these is a good idea. More than one reviewer has claimed trying to adapt the product to his/her motorcycle handlebars. Others have used it to convert their car or pick up into an office on wheels, finding it a real time-saver and recommending it to those who want to really impress the boss and get ahead. Just mount a printer on the dash and you're all set for corporate advancement! No more wasting valuable get ahead time while driving on the interstate.

If your're dreaming of a last Christmas, this could be the one product you should consider buying for yourself. I, however, project my hostility outward. I’ve already bought several at $18.95. I just gave one to Joe Lieberman and one to Ben Nelson, and will be sending one to Sarah Palin tomorrow. They have to read those loophole filled-$enate bills sometime! I was going to send one to Rush Limbaugh, but then I realized that there just wouldn’t be enough room for both the desk and his ballooning gut.

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