Saturday, 14 November 2009

We have recommendations for you

As someone who regularly buys presents for children on Amazon, I am familiar with the vague feelings of 21st-century anomie attendant on receiving emails beginning ‘as someone who has expressed an interest in the Harry Potter interactive wand, we thought you would like to know …’ or ‘as someone who has enjoyed the High School Musical Annual 2009, you may also be interested in purchasing …’ Recently this email marketing campaign has taken a more troubling turn. I received today an email from the online retailer identifying me as ‘someone who has expressed an interest in male grooming’ and inviting me to purchase a number of items including the BaByliss for Men Automatic Stubble Rechargeable Grooming Tool and the David Beckham Intimately for Men Gift Set containing Eau de Toilette and Body Wash, at the allegedly tempting discounted price of £17.99.

Reader, if you could see me as I type this you would immediately realise what has thus far escaped the Amazonians, which is that I have absolutely no interest in male grooming. There may be a small number of things in this world I am less interested in than male grooming – the properties of belly-button lint, the insides of an internal combustion engine, the love lives of the cast members of Hollyoaks etc. – but suffice it to say that the list is not long. I cannot imagine why Amazon thinks otherwise. I think I did once buy a replacement foil for an electric razor from them, but I hardly think this qualifies me as a Beau Brummell for the noughties. Perhaps they are confusing me with the Joe Moran who is the Brad Pitt of the Cornish Coast (see elsewhere on this blog, passim).

Mundane quote for the day: ‘The post is fat with appeals and bargains. Too much to support, too multitudinous to purchase, their computerized headings address me intimately. But I am not to be bought by their matiness. Soon their oral squeals will be on the telephone. “Good morning, Mr Blythe, my name is Joanne and I want to interest you in our Windows and Doors.” The young voice quakes momentarily as it braces itself for rudeness. No thank you, Joanne. Politeness costs nothing, as mother said, though it isn’t quite true when it comes to Windows and Doors.’ – Ronald Blythe


  1. Of course techniques for "marrying" offers to recipients often have strange consequences.I wonder how much money DB is making out of his "Intimately For men Gift Set". More than we'll ever make in a lifetime of learned articles no doubt.Amazon in particular seems to get strangely confused by the occasional purchase made on behalf of friends. In my case they seem to presume a lifetime of dedication to Dickens my very unfavourite author.