This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Mature Focus. To read the entire issue, visit www.mature-focus.com.
One of mankind’s greatest inventions is online shopping.
The fact that I can plop down at my computer while wearing my jammies and with a few clicks have the power to purchase just about anything without crowds or traffic makes me feel like a Marvel villain plotting to take over the world. You should see me at Christmastime. I’m practically Dr. Evil.
As much as I maniacally love the power of online shopping, I’ve noticed a couple of not-so-great head scratching aspects that damper my world domination plans.
1. Customer reviews. I’ve been on a month’s long hunt for a pair of leather driving loafers. Even though they sound like the most elitist footwear a person could possibly want, they aren’t that fancy. Think moccasin meets loafer. For the record, I don’t need special shoes for driving to Target I just want a pair of cute, super comfy slip-on loafers that won’t channel Herman Munster (I wear size 11 shoes.)
Anyway, in my exhaustive search I’ve read countless reviews and here’s what I’ve observed (and is true of every product for sale on the Internet): while hundreds of people might gushingly love a product, there will always be a handful of people who absolutely hate it.
Case in point: the Sunrolan Penny Loafers for driving sold on Amazon.com. Out of 458 customer reviews, 48% (220) gave them five stars with added comments such as, “great buy,” “love these!” and “highly recommended.”
Sounds like a safe bet, right? Not so fast. Before I pull the trigger on any online purchase, I must read the negative reviews.
A few of the one star reviewers lamented, “terrible,” “these shoes are a BUST,” “VERY disappointed” and the ever terrifying, “buyer beware!” I should add that the one star reviews comprised 11% or 52 of the 458 total reviews.
For me, this is the rub: even if these shoes had earned 458 reviews with 99.99% five stars with gushing comments but there was one guy who commented in all caps with his one star review, “DO NOT BUY THESE SHOES!” you can bet I’d have to sleep on it and in the meantime wonder why a guy would be wearing women’s driving loafers, but whatever. The point is, someone hated these shoes, I need to know why and I’ll relentlessly fret about it.
I can’t help but wonder, why do I put so much stock in negative reviews? Is it because I question the veracity of the positive reviews? They could be company flunkies after all. But what if they’re not? And while I’m at it, why do I believe criticism more than compliments? Do I have a deep seeded inferiority complex? Should I see a shrink? Are there special shoes for that?
Spoiler alert: I didn’t buy the Sunrolan loafers. I ordered a different pair from Zappos.com because they offer free shipping and returns (almost as important as the reviews), so I’m keeping my fingers crossed the 57% who gave them five stars are not Zappos’ flunkies and the 4% who gave them one star simply have deep seeded inferiority complexes. Either way my money’s safe. However, if these don’t work out, I’ll be forced to get dressed and try on shoes in actual stores. Ew!
2. Puzzling product descriptions. A great deal of thought goes into an enticing product description. However, with Amazon reaching every corner of the earth, a few get lost in translation.
Take for example, the VersionTECH bluetooth speaker with colorful lights: A small ball speaker can bring you high quality sound effects and make your life more exciting. Especially suitable for use at night, because he can make beautiful lights, make you feel very cool, let you dance more beautiful. “He” sounds like alcohol.
Here’s an important recommendation listed in the description for the Small Barrel of Slime made by Kicko: WHO CAN USE IT – For boys and girls, galaxy slime will not leave any stain on furniture or carpets so it is great for indoor or outdoor play! Great for kids ages 3 years and older. We advise not to eat this sludge. Noted. (82% – five stars.)
And finally, this gem: Squishies party toys made by Kingyao: Very cute amazing fun these little squishies. everyone like mini squishies squishy toy.party favors for kids mochi animals stress squishys cat toy. Each one is hand-painted perfectionists don’t buy,Cant eat/squishies squishys mochi moj squishy toys for kids mini squishies smooshy mushy.
Wow! Who wouldn’t want to buy? (Unless you’re a perfectionist.) And with a description like that, who cares about the reviews? I do – 69% gave the squishies squishy smooshy mushy toys five stars.
It seems to me the folks at Kingyao need to get into the shoe business because if they could make a women’s leather driving loafer that felt squishy smooshy mushy on my feet, I’d buy them no matter the reviews! Well, as long as they had free shipping and returns.
Update: I regret to report that my Zappos.com driving loafers have arrived and been shipped back because they were a BUST and I’m VERY disappointed. In other words, they were too small and not at all squishy smooshy mushy. Alas, my elitist footwear quest continues. See you at the shoe store.