1036: Reviews

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Reviews
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.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball and Megan are shown shopping for lamps. In the first part of the comic (only first frame) 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 radiation, and would not be on store shelves long before some kind of serious recall).

The second part of the comic starts out normal. For the lamp Cueball think 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 the proceeds to get more and more absurd all the way to the title text. Cueball is for instance looking at a lamp who someone thinks looks like a uterus. As normal people do not really know how a uterus looks like, and if Cueball did not find this so himself, he should ignore one persons 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 lampmaker with perfect reviews, but her lamps are very expensive, the most cheap are staring 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 a little more worth than one dollar (1.1$ to a Swiss Franc) making the cheapest lamp go for not much less than US$1450. For comparison, US$15 can get one a decent lamp at IKEA. Furthermore the lampmaker lives in the Swiss Alps and can only be reached via a ski lift. This either indicated 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 really do not look like a uterus or other parts of the human reproductive system...

In the title text, the language spoken by the dog, Akkadian, is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. Even if the dog actually did speak a sentence of perfect Akkadian, the chance that the owner would be able to recognize it as such is negligible. But apart from that the dog first went rigid and after delivering the line it was hurled out the picture window. The final joke it 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.

[edit] Transcript

[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 prize 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 hos 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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Discussion

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. 173.245.55.66 16:55, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

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.)108.162.216.56 18:05, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

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