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The accidental poetry of the online product review

The varied—and often funny—ways people have related to their purchases make for diverting, and consoling, reading

By Hephzibah Anderson   March 2021

Illustration: Hannah Berry

Therapy is booming, and not only the medically approved variety, either. I recently came across an old New Yorker cartoon in which a psychiatrist asks her prone client: “Have you ever tried buying lots of stuff?” Retail therapy may not involve a medical professional, but as anyone who’s ever been dumped will attest, it can be a nifty coping mechanism—often cheaper than the talking type, too. What really helps, experts say, is the way it gives us a feeling of control.

It’s no surprise then that online shopping is booming during the pandemic. Gone are the crowds, the…

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