I have been trying to buy a garbage can and an alarm clock for TWO MONTHS and I’m kind of starting to lose it. This shouldn’t be that hard, right? Remember back in the old days, when you needed a clock, so you got in the car and went to Target and picked out one of the 15 clocks they had? And then just continued on living your life? Maybe you wondered, is this clock going to break in three months? Does the alarm sound weird? How long does the battery last?, but there was no way to know those things so you didn’t really care that much. Did it tell time? Awesome.
And then Amazon happened. Right now there are 200,000 results for the search “alarm clock.” The most expensive one is $14,000. When sorted by “relevance,” the top 5 clocks have a combined 16,342 reviews. 572 of those people have reported that the alarm does, in fact, sound weird. (Also, a shocking number of people have complained that the 2 AA batteries in their digital clock-radio only last a few hours so basically the product is trash–YOU HAVE TO PLUG IN A CLOCK RADIO, YOU WANGS. OF COURSE THE BATTERIES WON’T LAST ALL DAY. Makes you wonder how these people even got access to a computer, since those also require batteries and normal electricity.)
So many clocks, guys. So many reviews. So many different prices. So many identical clocks under different listings that somehow have wildly differing review scores. How in the world is a person supposed to buy anything??? Amazon is great if you know exactly what you want but browsing is an absolute nightmare.
Incidentally, this situation is why I need a clock:
My nightstand has so much potential but that giant black iPhone dock just ruins it. It’s useful in that it has a clock function and lets me play my rain noise app all night, but I so do not dig the 90’s futuristic vibe it has going. I actually spent months looking for a cute iPhone dock before I realized I could accomplish the same thing with a tiny bluetooth speaker and a normal clock.
Anyway, back to Amazon. The review feature used to be invaluable but in the last few years it’s turned into complete garbage. There are so many products where half of the 5-star reviews are from people who were given a free product “in exchange for an honest an unbiased review” and the rest are just “A+ GREAT PRODUCT FAST SHIPPING!” I know Amazon is currently cracking down on that kind of thing, but nothing’s really changed yet.
So for me at least, the paradox of choice + untrustworthy reviews + the desire to have cute things results in total shopping paralysis. To force myself into action, this week I got rid of my ugly iPhone dock and literally scheduled a block of time dive into the Amazon abyss of cute alarm clocks under $20. This is what I came up with:
- ECVISION–I love everything about this except for the font on the face, which totally ruins the modern, minimalist thing it has going.
- HENSE–Copper! Classic! Acceptable font!
- DreamSky–Cute in a spaceship-y way, and the first review starts out with “To Be Reliably and Absurdly Awakened,” so that’s a plus
- Gearonic–Looks-wise, this is my favorite, but the reviews kind of put me off. Also, what’s up with clocks displaying the indoor temperature? How is that useful to anyone? “Oh, my clock says it’s cold, better turn up the heat!”? That’s what your skin is for, people. One of the reviews says “The temperature feature is SPOT ON. I was surprised that it read the same temperature as my thermostat.” HOW IS THIS PROVIDING ANY ACTIONABLE INFORMATION??
- Gearonic–Also great, also weird. This one has a “clap-on” function–you know, for when you wake up at night and want to know what time it is but also want to wake up your dog.
- HENSE–Classic, neutral, great font. Doesn’t light up at night though, and the ticking is apparently pretty loud.
- Kikkerland–This one is way too expensive and totally not an option, but I’m including it because you HAVE TO watch the video of the alarm going off. This is the silliest alarm clock I have ever seen and I love it so much.
- Best-mall–Put a bird on it! This kind of reminds me of the Eames bird and I love anything in the shape of an animal. This inexplicably comes with a Best-mall branded rubber bracelet. Tragically it has the exact same font problem as #1.
(Btw, all of these got a passing score on ReviewMeta, which analyzes reviews and corrects for fishy ratings.)
I put these eight clocks on my shopping list and gave myself exactly 24 hours to just make a freaking decision already. Because it’s an alarm clock, not a nuclear launch. I think I put a little too much pressure on myself because I ended up buying #3, which is fine but also a little meh. The alarm sound is ridiculous, but when you light up the clock face at night it could basically double as a helicopter searchlight because who doesn’t want to be hit with 8 million lumens of blue light at 4 am?
Still an improvement, though.
Here’s a closeup of the clock and the little bluetooth speaker I got:
It’s this speaker, which is okay. The sound quality is really good, but for some dumb reason it flashes a blue light while it’s playing music, which I do not understand the point of at all. I mean, if you want to know if your speaker is playing music, can’t you just, like, listen? Is a visual indicator really necessary? Maybe it’s for deaf people who like to play pranks?
Now that I’ve taken care of the clock/speaker situation, my next goal is to buy a garbage can. I got so overwhelmed by the selection on Amazon that I panicked and bought one at Home Depot for $7 and it is TERRIBLE. It’s seriously the worst garbage can ever. I hate it every single day. I’m going to frame a picture of it to look at every time I worry that my obsessive Amazon browsing is getting out of control.