I'm serious. They have completely debilitated my shopping prowess. I can't buy anything anymore without reading every. single. review. And even if almost all of the reviews are positive, that one bad review will completely cloud my judgement and render me unable to purchase the item.
Take, for example, sheets. Average review of 3 1/2 stars on Amazon.com:
"These are the nicest sheets ever! A great deal!" say reviewers 1-42.
"These sheets SUCK. They are scratchy and absolutely NOT 1200 thread count," says reviewer #43.
"Very happy with these sheets," according to reviewers 44-84.
"The sheets are great - for six months. Then I woke up with my foot next to the mattress because there was giant hole!" contributes reviewer 85.
Then reviewer 86 gave then a one-star review because the color in person didn't match the color on the computer monitor. Very helpful.
So don't read the reviews, right? No way. In fact, if an item hasn't been reviewed yet, I am even less likely to buy it. How do I know from that grainy little picture and clever online marketing if the product is worth it? Someone has to tell me what to think! And if an item has only been reviewed by one person, even if that person positively glows about the product, that's not enough statistical probability for me. Then those 1200 thread-count, Egyptian-cotton sheets that only cost $30 will actually be burlap (or maybe I've lived here so long I think everything is a scam).
I mean, what if I pay $100 for a set of sheets, wait 3 weeks to get them, wash them and they're scratchy? Good luck trying to return already-washed sheets through the mail (I totally would return those in the store, though. I'd look that manager straight in the eye and tell him his sheets are sheet.) Or what if I pay $100 and I wake up one morning with my foot in a hole? Or like the pair of sheets I'm attempting to replace, what if this pair pills and itches after ten washes?
This is what happens when you have lived in Africa for a year. Twelve months of no shopping, after growing up in the suburbs and having nothing else to do but shop, results in a shop-obsessed- I-suddenly-must-buy-an-ice-bucket crazy person. I am going through shopping withdrawal. What I wouldn't give right now to sit in my car, listening to NPR and fighting holiday traffic to rush through the frigid winter air into the warm, fluorescent wonderland that is Target. To lean on a shopping cart and sip my tall, Starbucks, one-pump-pumpkin-spice, non-fat, no-whip latte as I wander aimlessly through the brightly lit aisles of Bed, Bath and Beyond and listen to cheesy, over-played holiday tunes. To pick up a box, turn it around, read the label, look at the packaging, feel the quality between my fingers and come to my own judgement about whether or not I should buy it. But instead I am relegated to the product of my Google searches and Amazon sorting mechanisms. Then what should be a simple solution to a simple problem (I need new sheets: buy a new set), turns into marathon internet shopping session in which I read 5000 reviews and buy nothing.
By the way, I decided my blog needed an update. Just wanted to give credit where it's due: Lizz, I used your template. I hope you don't mind.
And I'm definitely interested in your reviews.