Behold the Terry Casual Elastic Suspender, a product that you can purchase via Amazon and have shipped to your home, thus allowing you a consumer experience basically unprecedented in human history. Thanks to the internet, we can own things that we have never seen. It’s great for people like me who find shopping a scary, alienating experience, but it introduces problems you don’t get with conventional retail. For example: what are these suspenders like? I know from the picture that they can be easily arranged in the shape of a traffic-sign man, but otherwise I have little understanding of their qualities. Fortunately, I have this five-star buyer review to guide me:
BEST FASTENER, SEWN INTERSECTION: I tried out 3 types of suspenders, and this model had the most reliable fastener clips, meaning they slipped off my waistband least often. Also, I liked the unfancy intersection of the 2 straps, which were sewn together simply. Other types I tried had either a clip that can slip, or a bit of gratuitous leather there.
I, too, like an unfancy intersection. And those fasteners sound great—especially if you don’t read any of the reviews that follow.
According to Christopher of Northern California, Terry Casual Elastic Suspender is a great product. According to the other 80% of reviews, these suspenders have a certain problem. Here is what I consider the exemplar of the form:
FIRST TIME I WORE THEM THE METAL CLIP SNAPPED: The first time I wore the suspenders one of the back clips came undone and hit me in the back of the head. The clip broke making the suspenders totally worthless unless someone knows where I can take them in Huntsville to be repaired. I had worn the suspenders most of the day and when I went to leave work and started to get into my car is when the clip came loose and broke. I do not feel like I had them to tight since I walked, sat, and stood throughout the day. I feel the clip was defective plus shipping and handling way to high when they can just put it in U.S. Mail if it fits it ships package $4.95. Shipping is a rip off.
That’s what you call a word picture, right there. Also, no answer yet on whether someone in Huntsville has told him where to get suspenders repaired. Tenn1 meanders some in his review—one is left with the strange feeling that shipping costs are a consistent problem in his life—but the image of his new suspenders thwacking him in the back of his head as he gets into his car makes it all worthwhile. It’s almost as good as this mental image:
HORRIBLE QUALITY: I purchased seven of these suspenders for the groom and groomsmen in my recent wedding. They worn for less than FIVE minutes before ALL SEVEN of the fasteners completely fell apart. Buy any other pair of suspenders.
You think that the image of one tired man lashed by his suspenders as he’s trying to leave work is satisfying, but then you picture it happening to an entire wedding party simultaneously. I don’t know about you, but I imagine this massive suspender failure occurring at the front of a church. Maybe you’re more of a naturalist, though, and you don’t like the Fellini-esque spectacle of seven groomsmen suddenly clutching their heads as they all drop their pants at once. Perhaps you would prefer:
SUSPENER CLIP BROKE: Wore this suspener once and sometime during the day one of the clips fell off, could not fix so I throw it away.
You know a man was raised a certain way when he has a phonetic spelling of “suspenders.” The news that the suspener broke “sometime during the day” is weirdly poignant, as it evokes the image of Neal W. Germaine realizing that his pants system has been down for an indeterminate period of time. “Could not fix so I throw it away” is something I picture him saying, mournfully, every time he goes out to the dumpster.
Besides one that describes these suspenders as “VERY, VERY GOOD MERCHANDISE,” pretty much all the reviews go this way. Sad people you do not know have been burned by bad suspenders. Somewhere—possibly near Chris’s house in Northern California—a person is selling these things for $6.95 a pop, plus $5 shipping and handling. He probably started out knowing they were maybe not the greatest suspenders, but what do you want for seven bucks? Then he read all the Amazon reviews identifying the consistent problem with his product, and he figured he’d better do something about it. The saddest thing about these Amazon product reviews is that somewhere, a man began by selling cheap suspenders and found himself creating a false identity to lie about them. Forget shipping and handling; Terry Casual Elastic Suspender can cost you your very soul.