We see you were shopping for fishing poles and thumb drives. Maybe you’d like a USB Pole Dancer.
The science of recommendation engines and the algorithms that drive them have come a long way. Google, for instance, often not only corrects your spelling, but suggests even better search phrases than the one you were using. These systems are crucial to a rewarding shopping experience on line; so much so that Netflix held a competition to build a better one in 2009, with a million-dollar prize going to the winner.
The web’s top shopping sites are one place where these tools can be incredibly handy, but the fact that the systems are of course often based on “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” suggestions can lead to some bizarre results. The algorithm can’t help it if the same people who shop for health and fitness gizmos or USB devices are also shame-clad pervs who are too embarrassed to buy nipple clamps in person. Or are these pepper mills? We can’t tell. You better just add them to your cart so you don’t forget.
We see you were shopping for reversible window fans. Would you maybe like some nipple inverters?
Wikiphilia vs Rabbit Wholing
If you spend any time at all on Amazon, you’ve no doubt fallen prey to perusing those suggestions as you ponder your purchase. The compulsion is much like Wikiphilia, and as sufferers of the affliction ourselves, we decided it needed a name, so some time ago, we coined the term Rabbit Wholing. It’s one of those strange laws of the internet (like Rule 34) that will inevitably come into play as you surf the web. Simply stated, the the Law of Rabbit Wholing states that “If you shop long enough on Amazon, the site will eventually recommend ‘Whole Rabbit, Air Dried'”. We explored this a few months ago in the piece Accidental Triple Xmas Shopping, but it happened again recently, so we felt compelled to share the results.
How Did It Happen This Time?
It all started innocently enough. While looking for one of those things anybody might be searching for with summer coming, i.e.: a solar-powered, fan-cooled cowboy hat, we were suddenly immersed in a sea of compelling suggestions like the Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask Kit, below. Before we knew it we had added things like a UFO detector and 2,000 Live Adult Predatory Mites to the cart. In spite of all the excitement though, in the end, we bought nothing.
Clearly some alien device for taking over human faces, this alleged “Facial Toning Mask” showed up in the suggestions while we were doing a perfectly normal search. If you call shopping for air-conditioned cowboy hats normal, that is.
Whatever its actual purpose, the scary mask above will actually look pretty cool as you prepare for battle with the Romulans in your Relaxman Relaxation Capsule
If only we had one of these, we would have seen this whole alien theme coming.
For the record, vampires aren’t the only ones who have a fetish for their “native soil”.
THINGS YOU’LL NEVER WEAR
The only thing scarier than having Kim Kardashian on your chest would be having a Kim Kardashian Human Centipede on your chest. And the only thing scarier than that would be a Kim Kardashian Human Centipede Shirt.
Okay, we’ll concede that maybe a Ninja Flip T Shirt could be scarier.
Oh wait. You don’t actually wear them. Besides, it looks someone else did that for you.
BUGS. YES, BUGS.
We assume these appeared as a suggestion because of the “centipede” reference? We will never know, and who cares. The funny thing about 2,000 predatory mites is that you don’t realize how badly you need them until you learn that you can actually buy them.
Okay, maybe 2,000 mites is a bit much. How about 1,000 crickets? *crickets*
Okay, maybe just one cockroach? One plus here is that since it needs sunlight, you’ll never find it crawling under your covers at night or something.
To the untrained eye, this appears to be a conventional butter knife. Well, okay, not THAT conventional. But it’s even more unconventional than you think! It’s heated!
Maybe it’ll get your butter soft enough to spread on this inflatable toast that showed up right next to it in the suggestions
At first – since it showed up next to the butter knife – we thought it was a pizza cutter or something. Nope. It’s a torture device in the “adult toys” section.
LET’S PUT A LID ON IT
This is where it all began. Don’t ask why we were looking for a solar-powered, fan-cooled cowboy hat. If you needed to know, we would have told you in the third paragraph.
You’re probably far too urban for a cowboy hat, plus baseball season is coming soon. On a side note, someone really needs to do a “Make America Cool Again” version.
Who knew there were so goddamn many kinds of hats with fans in them? What a wonderful time we live in.
SPEAKING OF USB…
This made sense at first – after all, that last item was USB powered. But why the algorithm decided we’d be interested in a USB pole dancer is beyond us.
Now that you have a hat with a fan in it, maybe it would be okay to smoke again. And light your cigarette on your watch. When people ask what time it is, you can say “Time for a cigarette!”, and then light one. On your watch.
A product long overdue for an upgrade. Here you go.