1036: Reviews

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I plugged in this lamp and my dog went rigid, spoke a sentence of perfect Akkadian, and then was hurled sideways through the picture window. Even worse, it's one of those lamps where the switch is on the cord.
Title text: I plugged in this lamp and my dog went rigid, spoke a sentence of perfect Akkadian, and then was hurled sideways through the picture window. Even worse, it's one of those lamps where the switch is on the cord.


Cueball and Megan are shown shopping for lamps. In the first frame of the comic, it is at a time before online reviews could be looked up on a smartphone. They spot a lamp they like, check the price, and agree to buy, end of story.

But the rest of the comic shows how difficult shopping has become after reviews have become easily accessible on smartphones while standing in the store. And now this takes up the final three panels, with the result that no lamps have been acquired and they decide to sit in the dark, using the claim that their living room looks fine in the dark to avoid buying a very expensive lamp which is the only one with perfect reviews (like 100% with 5 stars out of 5).

When shopping for anything via reviews, whether it be electronics or even something as simple as lamps like the comic demonstrates, one negative review can spoil a lot of positive reviews. That hits home even more if the review is specific because humans attach more weight to anecdotes and specific stories. This comic points out the absurdity of paying attention to those reviews, by making the negative review itself absurd (a lamp making your cats go deaf and interfering with your taste buds would imply, at the very least, anomalous emissions, and would not be on store shelves long before some kind of serious recall).

The second part of the comic starts normally. For the lamp Cueball thinks is pretty Megan finds lots of negative reviews which implies the product really isn't good after all, and it was even that specific brand of lamps in general that was to be avoided. But then this proceeds to get more and more absurd to the title text. Cueball is for instance looking at a lamp that someone thinks looks like a uterus. If Cueball did not feel the same way, he should ignore one person's comment. On the other hand, reading such a statement will maybe make you think of a uterus every time you see the lamp. So now it may be best not to buy it, but had he not read the comment it might have been a fine lamp for him.

In the final frame, Cueball has found a Swiss lamp maker with perfect reviews, but her lamps are very expensive, the cheapest starting at 1,300 francs. Swiss francs are the units of currency used in Switzerland. In 2012 when the comic was released a Swiss franc was worth a little more than one dollar (US$1.10 to a Swiss Franc, at the time of publication) making the cheapest lamp go for not much less than US$1450. For comparison, US$15 can get a decent lamp at IKEA. Furthermore, the lampmaker lives in the Swiss Alps and can only be reached via a ski lift. This either indicates that transportation will be very expensive on top of the high starting price or it may even indicate that they will have to go to the lampmaker personally to either acquire a lamp or maybe just to check out that they do not look like a uterus or other parts of the human reproductive system...

The title text is presumably the review of another lamp. When this reviewer plugged in this lamp, supposedly his dog went rigid, delivered a line of perfect Akkadian, and then was hurled sideways out the picture window. Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. Even if the dog did speak a sentence of perfect Akkadian, the chance that the owner would be able to recognize it as such is negligible. The final joke is that the worst part of this lamp, was not the above-mentioned crazy effects on the dog, but that the lamp had, completely normally, the switch on the cord, as opposed to having it on the body of the lamp. A production argument about where to place such a switch, leading to someone getting fired, was part of the joke in 1741: Work. Another possible explanation is that Cueball never turned the switch on, so the lamp suddenly had magical effects on his dog even without electricity. Either way, there is a high probability that this lamp might be considered for, at least, (dis)honorable membership of the list of Cursed Items.


[Cueball and Megan stand in a store looking at a lamp that Cueball points at on a table in front of them. There is another table behind them with another lamp and next to it stands a box with a picture of yet a different type of lamp in the bottom right corner. Both lamps have a price tag dangling from their shade. Above them (and their spoken text) is a frame with a caption:]
Shopping before online reviews:
Cueball: This lamp is pretty.
Megan: And affordable.
Cueball: Let's get it.
Megan OK!
[Exactly the same setting as above except now Megan holds up her smartphone in one hand looking down at it while typing on it with the other hand. Above them (and their spoken text) is a frame with a caption:]
Shopping now:
Cueball: This lamp is pretty.
Megan: It's got 1½ stars on Amazon. Reviews all say to avoid that brand.
[To the left of Cueball there is another lamp on a table. But he is now looking at his smartphone instead. Megan has turned away from him but is also looking at her smartphones. There are no lamps next to her.]
Cueball: This one has good reviews.
Megan: Wait, one guy says when he plugged it in, he got a metallic taste in his mouth and his cats went deaf.
Cueball: Eek.
Cueball: What about- ...no, review points out it resembles a uterus.
[Cueball is holding his smartphone up in front of his face, Megan, looking at him, is holding her smartphone but has her arms down. There are no lamps shown.]
Cueball: OK, I found a Swiss lampmaker with perfect reviews. Her lamps start at 1,300 Francs and she's only reachable by ski lift.
Megan: You know, our room looks fine in the dark.

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Even better is when reviewers start talking about other products that they've used in the past, and you're suddenly investigating and comparing capacity, weight and compartment placement between 20-odd messenger bags. Davidy22[talk] 10:03, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm surprised they didn't find any bobcats. Black Hat should have expanded his enterprise beyond eBay by now. Anonymous 17:57, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

I do this too, but I mainly look for trends in the bad reviews (DOA, Stopped working after a few months, etc), rather then one bad review spoiling a large number of positive ones. 16:55, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

 I was shopping on Amazon for a 25' fiber-optic cable. One cable had mostly 5-star reviews, but one knocked 2 stars off because, in the reviewer's words, "it was a little too long for my needs." They why did you order a 25-foot cable??? Idiot.

The title text seems to refer to some horror movie. Arifsaha (talk) 19:25, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Before I edited it, the explanation contained "For comparison, one can get a decent lamp at IKEA for only about US$15!" We're all geeks here; I can't be the only one who read that as a factorial. (In which case, the Swiss lampmaker's lamps are cheap enough to be well worth the trip.) 18:05, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

Is nobody gonna add a page about the lamp that ended with a metallic taste in the reviewers mouth and his cats going deaf?

That's just messed up! Yikes. Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 14:54, 10 April 2024 (UTC)