Sunday, June 30, 2024

We Have A Winner! - Part II

Don't let the soccer ball motif on the medal fool you: you’re looking at the winner of the second non-annual albertnet Amateur Product Review contest! As you will surely recall from my blog post back in November 2015, “1-Star Reviews: The Fun & The Folly,” I ran a contest to see who could spot the fake reviews that I wrote and hid among actual one-star amateur product reviews. As you can see, I was very generous with the contest entry time period but I’ve decided to finally cut it off and announce the winner: John Lynch of Ithaca, NY. He is pictured above at his victory party in Albany last night. His prize: a First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot. That and untold glory.

[I feel I need to come clean about something: I doctored the above photo because John wasn’t actually in it. Last-minute logistical issues prevented him from attending his victory party but we held it anyway. I did manage to take him out for a celebratory dinner, but for some reason he ended up paying the check. Anyway, I used A.I. to add him to this photo and it didn’t come out quite as convincingly as I’d hope so I figured I better just fess up.]

Amazingly, John is the same close reader who won the first non-annual Amateur Product Review contest. (Rumors that he is the only reader of albertnet are greatly exaggerated.) This time, he upped his game and actually nailed every single question. That’s right, a perfect score. This is particularly impressive given that I myself, taking my own quiz some eight and a half years after I wrote it, scored just 4 out of 5.

When asked to comment on his contest victory, John replied, “Sure, I won again, and by definition the award has to be given to just one person: me. But it must be said that I can’t do any of this without my team. My publicist, my agent, my assistant, my driver, my foot masseuse, my macchiato guy, my dental hygienist, the guy I pay to say ‘top o’ the mornin to ya, guvn’r!’, my landscaper AND my manscaper—they all played an important part! And I want to thank them all from the bottom of my heart, because without them I could never do what I do—which is to tell the difference between actual poorly written Amazon reviews and fictitious poorly written Amazon reviews created by Dana Albert. It’s a hard job—not a job I’d wish on my worst enemy!—but it’s one that I love, and one that I am truly blessed to do (at least once every 3 to 5 years). Thank you.”

Contest background and correct answers

To review: after my discussion of the strange phenomenon of the one-star amateur product review (click here for details), I provided a list of five products, each with three reviews. In each case two of the reviews were real (however improbable they may have seemed), and the other was a fake one that I wrote. I did my best to stymie everybody.

Below are the questions again, for your convenience, followed by John’s responses with his colorful commentary. If you like, you can pretend you’re yelling at the TV during a game show by guessing the right answer before checking the response. (Of course it is far too late for you to enter.)

Review #1: The Turn of the Screw (novel)

a) The Turn of the Screw is quite possibly the stupidest and most pointless story I have ever wasted my time on. Purportedly a ghost story, the “ghosts” are nothing more than occasional appearances by the former governess and valet, both of whom are now dead.

b) A friend told me “I couldn’t put it down.” Couldn’t put it down? I couldn’t pick it up! So hard to read...took me weeks to get through. If Henry James wrote this today, he would NOT get laid.

c) The story is lousy, the characters are unbelievable, the protagonist is annoying, the plot development is glacial, and the ending is absurd. But what makes this book really bad is the writing.

John’s response: “ALL of these reviews are just amazingly good. Review (a) is angry that it is a ghost story about “ghosts” who are actually just people who are now dead! Genius! Review (b) first suggests that the book is an immovable object, and then impugns the author’s potential sexual acumen in the present day—for no reason! Double genius! And review (c) is a straight up list of grievances that ends with a wallop of an insult. I love it! Isn’t the internet marvelous?!? I honestly don’t know which one to choose… But of the three, I guess (b) has the most Dana-ness to it (“I couldn’t pick it up!”). I’ll be sad when I find out that I was wrong.”

Review #2: Apple Watch

a) I had a hard time charging the watch.. The instructions read that that the charger attached magnetically to the back of the watch. When I placed the charger to the phone it seems to repel the watch instead of attaching to it. I tried resetting the watch twice but that did not help. I was finally able to get a charge by physically holding the charger to the phone and strapping it down, but this took 8 hours and I only got a charge 62%. It is our assumption that the magnet was placed backwards in either the watch or the charge.

b) this is poop

c) i thought this watch would replace my iphone (or actually I wouldnt have to buy one and watch is actually reasonable compared to phone cost) but it turns out WITHOUT THE PHONE THE WATCH DOES ALMOST NOTHING also battery life sux

John’s response: “Review (a) is not by Dana, but it almost is. By that I mean that it was clearly written by Harry Albert. Who else would so gamely try to make a defective product work and then reverse-engineer where the manufacturer had gone wrong? Review (b) was written either by my friend O— or his son, C— (both of whom are total poop aficionados, and know “poop” when they see it). So this leaves (c). Review (c) is one of those “Hapless” reviews, or maybe “Irrelevant” reviews, but it hews close to the formula for Terrible Reviews by A) misunderstanding the product and then blaming the product for the buyer’s ridiculous expectations for a product to do things it clearly was never intended to do (e.g., “This stupid external 1TB hard drive doesn’t sort my paper clips by size when I drop them in the little slots in the top! Total garbage!!!”) and B) uses ALL CAPS TO EXPRESS THEIR DISBELIEF THAT THE PRODUCT DOESN’T DO THINGS IT WASN’T DESIGNED TO DO, and C) adds a final jab to the review that looks like an afterthought, but is actually the only relevant part of the review. Well constructed Dana — I think (c) was yours. Again, abject sadness when I find out I’m wrong.

Review #3: toaster

a) Mostly works well except something is catching on the bread and tears bits off that get “stuck” down in the toaster and hard to get out. So I tried to fish it out with a knife (with the toaster off, by the way) and got this big electric shock! My wide actually laughed at me and said next time just turn it upside down and shake it. So I tried that and burned the crap out of my hand! Toaster is going back for sure.

b) I was so excited to buy a four slot toaster, morning arguments solved. However, this toaster was highly disappointing. The level that lowers the slots down is thin plastic and wobbly. The right side of the toaster quickly stopped lowing. The left side often burns part of the bread, while the rest of it is still cold. Overall, a shotty machine. Do not buy.

c) I looked on line and read reviews and decided to get this one, HA! This does not even pop the toast up high enough to grab! It says that you get even toasting on both sides, not! It worked for about a week and after that half the side of toast would cook and then only half of a half, When I use the Bagle button the Bagle is cooked on both sides, not one like it should have been.

John’s response: “Oh goodness… I can’t decide. Is this a trick? Did Dana write all of these? Each one has critical misspellings that seem impossible unless you were impersonating an internet troll (‘wide’ for ‘wife’, ‘lowing’ for ‘lowering’ and ‘shotty’ for ‘shoddy’, and ‘Bagle’ for ‘Bagel’). Sticking a metal object in a plugged-in kitchen appliance?! With ‘wide’ laughing at you?! Complaints about a toaster that has stopped moo’ing?! And let’s consider this sentence: ‘It worked for about a week and after that half the side of toast would cook and then only half of a half…’ They’re describing the Zeno’s paradox of toasting!!! So much genius. In the end, I guess I have to go with (a). Something about fishing out toast bits with a knife while a man’s ‘wide’ is laughing at him suggests a Dana story. But (c) is so good! With that bit about the toaster not even popping the toast up high enough to grab! Ugh. Too hard. But I’m going with (a).”

Review #4: Tom Danielson’s Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling’s Winning Edge (book)

a) I would buy this book but not from somebody who was suspended for doping-specifically for using Testosteron-as a Physiciian I know that Testosteron is useful in the recovery and healing of tissues, especially muscles.If his training was as beneficial as he describes why did he need Testosteron-also being as long in the Pro Peleoton as he ,he must must be pretty stupid not to know how easy it is these days to discover Testosteron.Therefore with me he has no credibility and I will not buy the book

b) It’s a shame how these books get published. The so-called co-author, Allison Westfahl, actually knows a lot about core strength training and theres lots of useful info here. Problem is she’s a nobody and couldn’t publish a book without tying it to a celebrity name so she let TD (aka Total Douche) pretend to co-write this. Almost worked but she should have hitched her wagon to a clean rider, if there are any left.

c) I noticed the chapter on doping was missing. Can’t trust a doper. Maybe I will wait for the B sample of this book before buying again.

John’s response: “All of the reviews focus on Tommy D’s doping career, so there’s no hint there. Only the one that is supposedly written by a ‘Physiciian’ is terribly written and full of grammatical and punctuation errors, and I think this is a red herring — it reads like it was written by a doctor for whom English is a second language and who may in fact be hopped up on ‘Testosteron’ RIGHT NOW. Review (c) was short and snarky, which I don’t associate with Dana’s prolix proclivities. This leaves (b), which might actually be right. ‘Total Douche’ sounds like it could have been written by Dana? Maybe? ‘Hitched her wagon’ sounds like Dana? Maybe? Yeah, I’m going with (b).”

[I got this one wrong, having no recollection of writing any of these reviews and supposing that the little bit of research I’d have had to do for response (b) above would have been more than I’d bother with. I underestimated myself!]

Review #5: cordless drill

a) never should have bought cordless drill, remember when drills had a cord and you could just go whip it out and use it, now i always have to plan ahead and charge the batteries, this one particularly bad won’t hold a charge and tajkes forever to charge up do not buy!

b) Only lasted two years and stopped working while my son was assembling soccer goals. Thought it was the battery and installed fresh one from the charger. My son came running to me yelling the drill was on fire. When I got to the drill smoke was pouring from the battery.

c) came with black marks along handle, tip and back of drill. case had interior scratches, battery had a charge, and scratches, second battery had scratches. im not talking about scratches you could blame on rough shipping, this thing was dropped a few times outside of its case. nobody wants somebody elses tool. *cough*

John’s response: “Jeezus, another hard one. I am suddenly feeling a lot of sympathy for Dana for having to read through (I assume) so many on-line reviews to find just the right utterly ridiculous ones to throw us off. I’m going to rule out (c). Sounds like a legit review with a snarky joke at the end about using other people’s tools (*cough*). Looks real. That leaves Mr. ‘Whip Out Your Drill When You Need It’ and Ms. ‘Drill Almost Burned My Son and His Soccer Goals’. I’m going with (a), Mr. ‘Whip It Out’. I love the idea of whipping out a drill with you need it. Also, the punctuation and the insertion of the ‘j’ in ‘tajkes’ (just to remind us that Dana still remembers what a QWERTY keyboard looks like) looks contrived. Then again, most things on the internet look contrived. I’m probably wrong. But (a) is my final answer.

“Dana — your fake reviews are all so inventive and creative. You’ve really mastered the genre! You have a great future ahead of you as an internet troll.”

Email me here. For a complete index of albertnet posts, click here.

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