I believe I’ve mentioned (probably 3 or 4 times) that David Pogue, a writer and gadget reviewer for the NYTimes, is my tech hero. He’s so funny and his reviews are always spot on and a pleasure to read. This made me laugh today.
Every now and then, something for sale on Amazon.com seems so monumentally stupid that it inspires a spontaneous community comedy festival. One person after another leaves phony reviews, each more heartfelt and over-the-top than last, sardonically praising the Amazon item for its astonishing, life-changing abilities. Perfect strangers, entertaining each other in the comments, laughing their heads off—until Amazon gets wind of the stunt and shuts it down.
Well, don’t look now, but it’s happening again. Actually, DO look now, because it probably won’t be there long.
This time, the item for sale is the AutoExec WM-01 Wheelmate Steering Wheel Desk Tray. As the ad says: “Easily convert your car into your personal automobile office!” For $25, you get a plastic shelf that clips onto your car’s steering wheel “for easy access to a writing and drink storage surface.”
I mean, has there ever been an idea so dangerous, so impractical? That’s the question underlying some of the hilarious phony reviews. Some excerpts:
* (one-star review) “Imagine my surprise when I made a left hand turn and not only spilled my plate of ham, but I now have a nasty red mark on my face from being slapped in the head by the desk, which turns along with the steering wheel. I wrote a letter to the company and they did offer me a new ham.”
* “I have only had two accidents since I bought this product, but in that week I have easily gotten more work done than in the last two months!“
* “Wow is this thing great! I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next.”
* “I got one for my 90 yr old mother. She is an avid crossword puzzle fan and now she can work on them while she is driving.”
* “As a school bus driver, I was never able to check my email and update Facebook while at work. Now I am networking more than ever!”
* “Here in Massachusetts, they have some law that learner drivers can’t drive without a licensed passenger. With the Laptop Steering Wheel Desk, my daughter is now able to sit her MacBook right there in front, and I can supervise her driving over Skype, from the comfort of my couch!”
* “I thought it would be great for those long nights driving cross county, but by the time I passed through Omaha, my sand mandala was finished.”