Sometimes strangers do know best

One of my biggest fears is buyer’s remorse. And slimy giant face spiders.

Purchasing something of value greater than $50 that online strangers haven’t weighed in on and rated overwhelmingly positive leaves me in cold sweats. And hot sweats. And lukewarm in sweatpants.

“Oh,” I imagine them all saying, surrounding me. “You bought THAT one? Hey guys! He bought THAT one!”

“You’re an awful decision maker.”

“Good luck with that awful product.”

“Let’s shame him!”


The same is true for recipes. When attempting something new I always have to find a recipe that has four or more stars (out of five) with a minimum of 100 reviews otherwise I’m convinced the dish would be the palate-satisfying equivalent of gnawing on a pile of sticks. The invisible shame army reappears.

“That’s the recipe you’re going to try, huh,” General Shameus comments. “No, no, go right ahead. I’m not saying it’s going to be bad, but nobody else has reviewed it. You sure you want to take that risk?”

I don’t.

I realize that doesn’t make me sound overly brave. I mean, if that was the prerogative Lewis and Clark had they wouldn’t have gotten far.

Lewis (peering through brush): “Okay, let’s see what’s in there.”

Clark: “Are you sure? Nobody’s been in there before. It might be awful.”

Lewis: “You’re right. Let’s get outta here.”

Clark: “Hey, can I call you ‘Lou’?”

Lewis: “Don’t start with that again, Clark.”

Heck, I’d probably be overly concerned directly after the invention of the light bulb.

“Are you sure we want to try this electricity thing?” I’d ask my stable boy while lacing up my breeches and waxing my handlebar mustache before climbing atop my penny-farthing. “I mean, it might be lighted devilry. What the dickens is wrong with candles old boy?”

My wife, on the other hand, is impulsive, especially when it comes to last-second grocery store purchases.

“Ohmygosh, I need this chapstick.,” she’ll exclaim as if she was dying of thirst after walking in the desert and happened across a well. “And this chocolate bar. We can never have enough laser pointers. How are we doing on batteries? I’m getting this TV guide. I’m all out of mints. I’d better get these batteries. I’m almost out of hand sanitizer. I’m getting a bottle of water.”

I tried correcting the behavior by squirting her in the face with a fine mist of vinegar from a spray bottle but it had little effect other than needing to get a new spray bottle. And she refuses to wear the blinders I made for her.

When we purchased our first car together, I was somehow talked into making what I felt was a spur-of-the-moment decision. It only randomly started on fire the one time.

If my wife was to review me, here’s what it would look like:


Far handsomer than advertised.

Masculinity is intimidating at times.

Prior to showering, consistently catches underwear he flips up with his feet on the first try (so sexy).

Good with animals, specifically meerkats and aardvarks.

Recall of movie/sitcom quotes and “golf swing monologue” from movie Tin Cup.


I was unprepared with the amount of golf and football required for full functioning. Those considering a similar model take note.

Freaks out when I, for no reason whatsoever, stick my fingers in his ears, which is a totally normal wife thing to do.

Unable to process meager 1,197 steps on how to successfully wash my clothes, some of which may or may not require a special bag, mystic incantation and be washed in the tears of an Egyptian child during a waning moon.

Falls apart when programmed to do “work.”

Incompetent at ironing, unless main goal is to spend 30 minutes on a shirt and successfully smooth out/re-create the same wrinkle 400 times.

Cannot seem to comprehend proper dishwasher loading directive. For example, dirty spatula that I put in the upper rack of the dishwasher is to be first loaded in the blow deck with the silverware for secret reasons that are only known to me. When I deem it appropriate (a random time even I don’t know), it is to be moved and laid flat on the top rack. Just because that’s where it ends up doesn’t mean it’s where it should begin. Really, is that so hard? I also will change the proper bowl placement location without warning and act like that’s the way it’s been the whole time just to simultaneously test “Patience” and “Restraint” functions.

Even though the “cons” outweigh the “pros” I hope she doesn’t have buyer’s remorse.

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or surprise polling strangers about their blender. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny to for free smells of your keyboard.