Darwin Couldn’t Shop Amazon

Just because i have a bit of a cold and am feeling a bit cranky, let me tell you one more thing that really irritates the hell out of me….

I was shopping on Amazon today – Big surprise there – for a variety of things that i have never bought before. So i do my usual schtick and sort them by average customer rating and start to go through the products.

Item number one was a bamboo bathroom shelf. You know, because i’m still not done with the finishing touches on the back bathroom. Oy. Anyway, i need to find a particular size, so i hone in on that first. Then set my budget. Then sort them by review and go through them one by one. I was already a little frustrated because a few didn’t have the exact measurements listed up top, so i was having to dig for every third one. Then i see one that i really like the looks of, but it doesn’t have the measurements listed at all. I won’t go on a rant about how that is the daftest thing a shelf salesman would ever do – not list the size of the damned shelf. You already know that. And you would probably have done what i did. I went down to the “questions” section, because i figured i couldn’t possibly be the only person with this question. I mean, the picture didn’t even have a book or anything on the shelf to help you guess its size. So i skip to the questions, and there it is, number one on the list, “What are the dimensions of this shelf?”

Yeah! Finally! And then the response. The only response.

“I don’t know. I just ordered it and haven’t received mine yet.”


I look through the rest of the questions while i unconsciously shake my head like i am crawling in my car behind someone who insists on walking down the middle of the parking lot straightaway.

Question number 4: “How wide is this shelf?”

Answer: “Don’t know yet. Will answer when mine arrives.”

SERIOUSLY?!?! Why not just wait to answer until it arrives?!?!?! Do you have nothing better to do? Or do you think the question was meant just for you?!?  ARRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!

I could feel my eye starting to twitch, so i retreated.

I picked one that actually had the measurements listed AND had helpful answers to the questions.  Then i went on to item number 2: A book of Japanese patterns.

For those of you who don’t sew, Japanese patterns are unique. First off, the designs are minimalist and clean – almost like if Ikea made sewing patterns. Second, because they are sparse and minimalist, most don’t come in separate tissue pieces with papers of instructions like American patterns do. They generally come as a book with either instructions on how to draft the pattern, or pattern pieces on paper, overlaying each other, that need to be traced onto pattern paper. The instructions are in the margins or are in the book itself. It probably sounds like a terrible idea, but after having tried my first one, i can tell you that it is genius. First, the pieces and techniques are such that less fitting is required, and there are infinite variations possible. And not for nothing, if you’ve ever bought an article of clothing that has similar characteristics and style (i.e. Eileen Fisher), you know that they can be cost prohibitive for a lot of us to buy already made. So anyway, i had made one that i downloaded online, but wanted to pick out a book that had more designs. I hone in and have to laugh reading some of the reviews. Most of the critical reviews obviously come from people who thought that Japanese pattern books were simply books full of patterns, and not a particular aesthetic and construction method. An easy mistake to make, especially for those new to sewing. I could understand those reviews. But some of them…

“These patterns are made for tiny people. They are made for the twiggiest of twigs.” (Seriously, it said that. “The twiggiest of twigs”)  – Hello, they are Japanese patterns. And Japanese patterns for women, at that. Did you think they’d run large?

“There aren’t many instructions to go with the pictograms, and what there is appears to be in Chinese.” – Ummmm…. I’m going out on a limb here, but i’ll say the language you can’t identify is Japanese. Just a guess.

“All the measurements are in metric.” – Yes, you continental sweetie. Most of the world uses the metric system. These aren’t American patterns, ergo….

“All the dresses are loose and baggy. Not corporate at all. Nothing was fitted.” – Yes, dear heart. That is the point. And considering there is a picture on the front of the book that is very representative of the style, i’m shocked at your surprise. It’s not like there was a three-piece suit on the cover.

And my personal favorite… “I couldn’t get past the photographs… They all have plain white backgrounds and it made the models look like they were in a mental hospital.” Bwahahhahahaha! Ok, i can kind of see that point. But it is supposed to be a functional book, not a coffee table book. The photos are there so we can tell where the seams are and how it is supposed to drape. They obviously didn’t want a background to detract from that. (But i will never look at those pictures the same way again.)

I was a little less frustrated by this search, mostly because some of the critical reviews were so funny. I did eventually pick the book that i wanted. And i was still giggling when i did so.

Item 3 was silicone molds for soap making. Generally, these come 2 ways, individually like custard dishes, or something akin to a 6 muffin pan. Mind you, this is a harder search because you can use these things for baking, too, so you really have to look both places to get the full picture. In a lateral vein to item one, tho the overall dimensions of the pan are listed in each item page, very few list the actual volume of the molds, which is the important part. I don’t care that the pan itself is 9 by 8. Does it make full-sized soaps or the kind that are only good for people with excessive OCD who can’t use the bar more than once?

I find a set of two 6 pans in lovely Celtic designs and think, “Yes, that’ll be perfect, as long as they’re not the size of a truffle.” So i search for some kind of volume measurement. Or at least the measurement of the individual cups.

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

So i go to the questions. Oh boy! And there it is, number one on the list: “How big are the cups? What size soap will they make?”

And the answer… Are you ready? There was only one response. Just one. Even tho it had hundreds of ratings for the product. Just one answer.

“I don’t know. I’ve only bought their donut molds. And those are standard size.”


It’s a good thing you aren’t sitting next to me. I would force you to explain why in anyone’s name you would think that was helpful in any way. And then i would smack you.

Am i the only one who is driven crazy by this? Does anyone else think it is possible that Amazon allows people to post useless remarks just because they know it will drive us nuts? Am i the only one who wishes that, in addition to “4 stars and above” and “Prime eligible”, there was a filter called,  “Ones with reviews that are actually worth a damn” or “Questions that actually contain meaningful answers”? I am about to prioritize my need for these just above my need for a bird finger in addition to a thumbs up and thumbs down on most social media platforms.

And you know how badly we all want that bird finger.

With all the money Amazon is raking in, you’d think someone would be policing such things.

Or maybe it is their idea of entertainment.

Anyway, thank you for listening to me complain. I’m sure i look and sound like a goose who just watched a busload of people disembark without a single bag of bread. But hopefully it made you laugh, or at least shake your head in agreement. Because i know you have been there. We’ve all been there. But sometimes it feels good to let it out.

Japanese patterns with Chinese instructions. Really? Sheesh.



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