Peddling Woo on Amazon.com

Posted on December 17, 2010

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Now I’ve done it.  I have officially sold woo on Amazon.com.

I didn’t mean to, though.  Well, I mean, I did it intentionally, but it’s not like I set out to sell bollocks.  I have recently acquired a multitude of used books.  I have kept many, but my discard pile is substantial.  The local used bookstores have ceased buying books in exchange for store credit, due to the substantial influx of sellers during the Holidays.  Being turned away, I decided to try something I’ve never done—sell them on amazon.com.  I cautiously entered in every ISBN number on every one of my newly acquired inventory, set prices, and posted my books for the world to see.  The books are being sold under the company name of none other than Warm Little Pond.  I must admit that I felt like quite the entrepreneur with my little company name and modest inventory.  Problems arise, however, when you enter books to be sold by ISBN number, and only briefly glance at the title of what you’re actually selling.

My inventory consists of a wide range of books spanning many topics.  I have books on Zen, books on vertebrate biology, as well as geology texts and quite a lot of fiction.  I sold two books almost immediately.  One book was on the physiology of taste, and the other was the best-seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  The third book I sold seemed to be a book on crystals and minerals.  I payed little attention to the lavish design of the front cover which consisted of purples and greens, and some crystals.  It wasn’t until I had logged on to amazon.com to verify that I had shipped the text that I realized what I had done.  Here is what I had shipped:

Looking at the picture available on amazon.com, I realized the true strangeness of the text.  For one, the cover art looks as if it were a still from The Chronicles of Narnia.  There are hills with crystal peaks, and a strange shaman-like person standing on what can only be either a padded ottoman or a turtle.  There is a crow perched atop a crystal, a wolf laying down at the base of a crystal, and the shaman-person appears to be carving animal heads out of and into the crystals themselves.  What the hell is going on here!?  Am I shrooming?  Furthermore, and this should have been a dead giveaway as to what I was selling, the author’s single name (or should I say pseudonym?), MELODY, is surrounded by musical notes.  I think the fact that the book claims to be some form of updated version may have led me to believe it was a legitimate, though bizarre, publication about crystals and minerals.  It wasn’t until I glanced at the bottom and read exactly what had been updated that I knew what I had sold.  The book is an “updated reference book describing the metaphysical properties of the mineral kingdom.”

Once I pulled my jaw up off the floor, it sunk in:  I had just peddled woo.  I sold pseudoscience.  I helped spread ignorance.  I kicked science in its figurative balls, and profited off it!  I, the most atheistic person I know, proud touter of science and reason, sold a book describing the metaphysical properties of the mineral kingdom, whatever the hell that means.  It’s going to take a while to get over this one.

The amazon.com product description makes me queasy:

This best-selling book is a comprehensive reference book to the metaphysical properties of hundreds of minerals, correlated to the astrological signs.

And you’ll no doubt love the “about the author” section:

Internationally known best-selling author of the “Love is in the Earth” series, Melody holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics. A scientist, residing in Coloroado [sic], her extensive understanding of the metaphysical and of the mineralogical aspects of the mineral kingdom has stimulated and promoted world-wide interest. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, and is sponsored to conduct comprehensive crystal workshops, private consultations, and awareness seminars.

Yes, we all need to be aware that crystals have bear and eagle spirit animals that can be released by carving their likeness into crystals.  Oh, and you spelled Colorado wrong, jackass.  I would like to know how she acquired extensive knowledge of the metaphysical properties of minerals.  If I were to look at my UC Davis Winter course catalog, where should I look for a course on mineralogical metaphysics?  Would it be more philosophy or geology?  Oh wait, it isn’t in the course catalog, because it’s complete and utter bullshit.  WHAT HAVE I DONE!!??

Call me Wooie McPeddlerson from now on.

Read the buyer book reviews for more laughs.  They do not disappoint.  Even the one-star reviews are insane.  You would think that the bad reviews would be from people realizing that they’re reading hogwash, but take a look at this one-star scathing review of the text:

I got this book the Crystal Bible from this crystal shop by Judy Hall…and there is NO sandstone/goldstone/sunstone(?) in it…that glittery stone that I’m very attracted to – well I wanna know about it…so since it wasn’t in that book, I was checking out Judy Hall’s other book “Encyclopedia” which is supposedly more extensive, so checking it out I read a one star review in which the reviewer was adamant in recommending Kevin’s guide and THIS book – so I got THIS book because it was on her #1 list…she said TO get this book, instead of the Judy Hall’s encyclopedia, so I had high hopes. .. and these were my findings:

…um…THERE ARE NO PICS!!!!!!! WHAT the %$@%?!!??

So I’m reading about all these crystals, and I CAN’T SEE! Sandstone? Sunstone? Goldstone? I WANNA KNOW ABOUT THAT STONE THAT GLITTERS…WHICH ONE IS IT. it is so annoying and frustrating! To top it off, did the authoress COPY Judy Hall? Cuz alot of the descriptions are WORD FOR WORD from Judy Hall’s The Crystal Bible! which I already have! thanks alot! Horrible recommendation from that reviewer!! I had to come in here and give this a “1” just to even it out! I’m gonna now try the $100 dollar book by this author, it has photos… I am hoping it has THAT stone in there.. wish me luck..

Good luck, idiot.  Go find that “stone that glitters.”  What’s even more insane is that this person was dissatisfied with the author’s book, yet they claim that they’re going to go “. . .try the $100 dollar book by this author, it has photos.”  Jeebus, people are stupid.  And on a side-note, writing “$100 dollar” is redundant.  The dollar sign already means dollars, so what you wrote is “100 dollar dollar,” moron.

Where’s the Tylenol?

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Posted in: Pseudoscience