Latest Issue

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect