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The (Mentally Ill) Idiot's Guide To Amazon.com

If you're anything like me, you love spending your hard-earned cash on new products. Clothes, technological gizmos, home furnishings - I could spend a whole paycheck on bendy straws and fake asses if you twisted my arm. Here's the problem: For as much as we all enjoy draining our bank accounts on bendy straws and fake asses, our hectic 21st-century schedules often don't leave us much time for shopping. That's why when I'm running short on bendy straws, fake asses, or any other product, for that matter, I turn to a magical website called Amazon.com.

You might be wary of shopping online. That's understandable - the prices are suspiciously low, and identity theft is at an all-time high these days. You also might be completely out of your mind, suffering from a mental condition that drives you to compulsively scrub your hands raw, collect little bits of string from dumpsters and gutters around your neighborhood, or commit horrible, unspeakable acts under the inky blanket of night. That's why I've written this guide to navigating the sometimes-complicated, often-terrifying world of Amazon.com for foaming, raving lunatics.

Let's get started!

Step 1:
What Do You Want To Buy?
What's your poison? Gourmet food?Musical instruments?ActualPoison? No matter what it might be, Amazon probably has you covered - and at rock-bottom prices, too!

Let's pretend you're me for a second. Take a moment to get into character. Got it? Okay. Now that you're me, you know as well as I do that all of the surfaces in your home are crawling with invisible, microscopic germs. Don't worry, though - Amazon has nearly 20,000 cleaning products to choose from! You and I both know - you're me now, remember? - that the war against microscopic germs is unwinnable because the world is fundamentally and irreversibly UNCLEAN, but with so many products a click of the mouse away, why not give it a shot? Besides, at these prices, can you really afford NOT to?

Which reminds me: Did you know that many computer keyboards are diritier than a TOILET SEAT?!?! Better pick up some keyboard wipes and hand sanitizer while you're at it! That should take care of "99.99% of most common germs," but what about the other 0.01%? What about the UNCOMMON germs? Maybe you need a UV Wand... but how do you disinfect the UV Wand itself? You'll need to buy two, use one to disinfect the other, and then throw the first one away - here's some latex gloves you can wear while carrying it to the garbage.

While we're at it, here are some Kleenex boxes for you to walk around in and some mason jars for urine collection. Combine the orders and you'll qualify for free shipping!

Step 2:
Got Your Products? Review Them!
Buying hand sanitizer and urine jars is great and all, but with so many different products to choose from, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? That's where one of Amazon's best features - user-generated commenting - comes into play.

Let's pretend you're me for a second. Take a moment to get into character. Got it? Okay. Now that you're me, you know as well as I do that the government is trying to control your mind with satellites that send signals to a tiny chip they've implanted in your skull. You also know that lining your dank, cave-like studio apartment with aluminum foil will block the satellite transmissions, but different brands of aluminum foil have different thicknesses, and there are dozens of products available to choose from. How are you supposed to know which one will give you the most bang for your buck? By reading user reviews, that's how:

Have you always suspected that reptilian humanoids secretly run the entire world from hidden underground caves? We've all wondered about it at one point or another, but with so many different books to read on the subject (eight books - EIGHT!), where to get started? Once again, user reviews to the rescue!

See how helpful your fellow Amazon.com users can be? Sometimes the best place to turn for help is other consumers... you know, people just like you! But while it's nice to imagine a web-based utopia made up of people looking out for one another, you need to exercise caution: Everyone has a voice on Amazon, and unfortunately, that means there are bound to be some folks posting comments who are - how can I put this delicately - less than reliable.

As you can see, not all user reviews can be trusted. Try to use your best judgment.

Step 3:
Want MORE Stuff? Make A Wish List!

Now that you've got a feel for the basics, the hardest part will be keeping track of all those products you want to purchase! Luckily, Amazon has a built-in "Wish List" feature for just this purpose.

Let's pretend you're me for a second. Take a moment to get into character. Got it? Okay. Now that you're me, you know as well as I do that planning a romantic evening with a special young lady can be a daunting, sometimes stressful occasion. Every detail - from your freshly-pressed tuxedo to the chilled bottle of Dom Prignon waiting in the limo - needs to be perfect, and it can be difficult to keep it all straight in your head. That's why when I have a lot of things I need to buy, I use Amazon's Wish List feature to keep track of it all:

See how easy that is? Try it out for yourself - you'll be amazed by how much better you'll feel with a well-organized shopping list to look at.

Congratulations - you're now an expert Amazon.com shopper! Why not treat yourself to something nice?

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