Amazon’s review system

I purchase stuff from Amazon a few times a year. If I had more cash burning a hole in my pocket I’d probably buy more from the online behemoth as they often have the cheapest prices around. Before I make any purchase I do tend to research quite a lot about the item to make sure I’m buying the right thing for me. Amazon reviews can be very useful in this research, but I do wish they would overhaul the review system. I understand this would be a major upheaval considering all current reviews are authored under the current dynamic of a 5 star system and a more detailed written opinion.
The problem is that reviewers seem to have differing ideas of what they are reviewing. This is especially true of media products. Some people review the product itself; the quality, value or packaging. Others review the content and if they enjoyed the movie/book/TV series etc. Still others review the service, and will often give harsh ratings if their parcel was late or mis-delivered. This is further complicated by Amazon marketplace where buyers will be reviewing the service of a 3rd party retailer.
As Amazon is such a popular online store the review problems are somewhat mitigated by the sheer number of ratings allowing the best products to rise to the top. Products with only a few ratings can be skewed in a direction that isn’t a true reflection of the item itself however. Many written reviews on Amazon are actually pretty good and contain useful information, with their authors probably taking an average of all the considerations mentioned previously. Amazon also seem pretty good at weeding out spam and fake reviews, which is incredibly useful. I do wish that all reviewer’s thoughts and ideas were corralled in a more structured way though. If an item has hundreds of reviews and the star rating can’t be fully trusted it’s something of a chore to have to read them all to get a true overview of the product.

the vocabulary of vacancies

There’s an old adage in reference to the workplace that says ‘if you can’t give a raise, give a title’. This ploy is often used for members of staff who feel they deserve monetary reward for their hard work, but could be placated with a (sometimes meaningless) upgraded job title. There could be a new adage for the recent trend of making the title of menial/mundane jobs sound more exciting than they are. Maybe ‘if the job’s shit, verjazzle it’. Maybe not. Here’s a few I’ve noticed in the past few weeks.

Pizza Artist – Dominos Pizza
I’m not sure what extent of artistic vision employees can create on a pizza for a customer. Maybe they can roll out a circular expanse of dough and then ride round it on a bicycle like Jackson Pollock freely scattering pepperoni and purée in abstract expression of their inner turmoil. Or maybe cut the vegetables in slender oblongs and arrange them in geometrical tesselation like Mondrian. Probably they’ll just make pizzas based on Domino’s menus and set recipes.

Chilled Colleague – Asda
Do Asda want someone like the Fonz to work alongside their more uptight Richie Cunningham-type staff? Someone to wear a leather jacket and nudge the jukebox when the party starts to drag? I don’t think I’m cool enough to apply for this job.

Hygiene Technician – OCS
The accompanying job description sounded a lot like scrubbing floors.

Apple Genius – Apple Stores
I’ve never been in an Apple store but I’m guessing the staff there aren’t actually of genius level intellect. I was always under the impression Apple products were simple to use. If you need to employ a phalanx of genuises to explain the products maybe they need a re-dedsign to something more user-friendly that any old punter, like you or me, can figure out. Also there is only one personage that comes to mind when discussing genius and apples. Someone who stood on the shoulders of giants. That person is Granny Smith (she perched on altitudinous fellows to reach the apples)

Chief Visionary Officer – Obsidian
This guy sounds important. Try to ingratiate yourself with him. Laugh at his jokes. Frustrate his competitors. Frown at his enemies. Maybe pat his dog.

Biz Dev Guru – Sandbox
Are you an Indus grand master of abbreviation? Apply here.

Nandoca – Nando’s
Work your way to a black belt in chicken preparation under the tutelage of the Nandojo’s peri peri sensei.

Assistant to the Regional Manager – Wernham Hogg
Sounds a lot like Assistant Regional Manager, hence Gareth Keenan’s delusional view of his own importance in The Office.

Wisdom of crowds?

Kickstarter campaigns have generated a lot of hypertext in the past few years; phonemic accent on hype. For the uninitiated (where have you been living? in a cockerel’s boot?), Kickstarter is a crowdfunding company that enables a network of users to pool their money to fund projects. Sounds like a great idea; so great in fact that Kickstarter seems to have become one of the first considerations when looking to fund a concept or invention. Continue reading