I’m someone who, up until recently, lived with extreme Amazon guilt.

I buy stuff from them. After making a cursory scroll through the reviews and if I’m satisfied, one-click.

But I rarely write reviews. I know, it’s selfish.

What a pleasant surprise when I found out I’d been rewarded for my selfishness by not being selfish! No more guilt!

I bought and read this book, it was pretty good, so I forced myself to not be a self-centered slob and took the time to review it. I said nice things. I don’t remember using any naughty words. After submitting it, the screen said something like ‘Thanks. You will receive an email when your review is published.’

There was never an email.

The next day I checked the product page. No review from me. Something had gone wrong. I clicked the button again to write another review and up came this:

Sorry, we are unable to accept your review. You are no longer permitted to review products on Amazon because you have violated our Community Guidelines.

As you can imagine, I was thunderstruck. What horrible thing did I write? Did I call the author of the book a dirty name? Of course not. I liked the book.

Then this wondrous, ecstatic feeling came over me…

‘I don’t ever have to write another amazon.com review again! And I don’t ever have to feel ashamed not doing so! I can buy anything there, willy-nilly, and never think I’m required to say anything! I have free rein to be as selfish and piggy as I want! Amazon.com, THANK YOU FOR NEVER MAKING ME SAY ‘THANK YOU’ AGAIN!

I wish life were like that. Some arbitrary renegade algorithm floats around and interrupts every-day interactions, censoring what you’re about to say. You’re at the grocery store, and really do not want to make small talk with the cashier. Grudgingly, you grumble a ‘hello’ and…

Sorry, we are unable to accept your opinion/compliment/common courtesy/criticism. You are no longer permitted to greet, thank, or belittle anybody in this store because you have violated our Community Guidelines.

You’d never be pressured to say anything gratuitous to anybody ever again.

What a relief that would be.


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