I’ve been doing a lot of IoT projects lately; both for work and for personal growth (fun). I want to be a bit more structured in how I secure microcontroller boards, so I’ve been picking up different packs of spacers, standoffs, screws and so on. I was working on a project where I needed M2 standoffs, so I hopped on Amazon to see if they had something I could use. I found a promising collection of standoffs, screws and nuts in https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013ZWM1F6. I ordered it and it quickly arrived at my door (who doesn’t love Amazon Prime?).

Figure 1

Anyway, when I opened it, I found a product that was professionally and securely packaged. The contents therein were of reasonable quality, so I was pretty pleased with my purchase. As I started looking at it, I noticed that there was a disproportionate number of screws and nuts to posts and sockets. In other words, as you started to work through this kit, you’d quickly run out of screws and nuts, leaving standoffs that you can’t use for lack of connectors.

Anyway, I decided to write a review; first to let people know this appeared to be a quality product, and second to let them know it has a critical flaw. Being an experienced writer, I fired up Microsoft Word and got to work; my fingers quickly spat out the following

A great product and well packaged. The two containers came neatly packaged in a bag, each container has a solid clasp that should last the life of the product. The containers were taped shut, so there was little chance of everything falling out during shipment. Inside is a well-produced piece of paper listing the contents of each compartment. Well done.

However, whoever created this kit didn’t take into account how it would be used. The kit is woefully short on the number of screws and nuts you’ll need to make full use of the product. No matter what happens, you’re going to be heading out to buy more nuts and screws. Here’s an example: the kit comes with 40 M2 male-female standoffs. To use these individually, as I plan to, you’re going to need 40 screws and 40 nuts. The kit only ships with 20 of each. That doesn’t make sense to me. There should be enough screws and nuts to accommodate all of the standoffs, not only half of them.

I fired up my trusty browser and submitted this as a product review thinking it would be quickly published. Nope, not so much. A few minutes later, I received the following email:

Figure 2

Here’s the text so you’ll be able to read it:

Your review could not be posted.

Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines: http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelineshttp://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines.

We encourage you to revise your review and submit it again. A few common issues to keep in mind:

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.com/feedback.
  • We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.
  • Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
  • Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.

Hmmm, that surprised me as I did focus on specific features (its nuts and screws) and my experience with it. I did not submit any obscene content, did not advertise anything or include any external links. I should be good, right?

Thinking that they didn’t like my comment about the person who created this kit. I thought perhaps that they didn’t like me singling out the producer of this kit. I didn’t mean the person who actually assembled the kit, but instead, the person who created it as a commercial product. So, using their submission guidelines as, well, a guide, I adjusted my content to remove the only content I considered to be even slightly offensive and resubmitted it:

A great product and well packaged. The two containers came neatly packaged in a bag, each container has a solid clasp that should last the life of the product. The containers were taped shut, so there was little chance of everything falling out during shipment. Inside is a well-produced piece of paper listing the contents of each compartment. Well done.

However, whoever assembled this kit wasn’t paying much attention to how this will be used. The package is woefully short on the number of screws and nuts you’ll need to make full use of the product. No matter what happens, you’re going to be heading out to buy more nuts and screws. Here’s an example: the kit comes with 40 M2 male-female standoffs. To use these individually, as I plan to, you’re going to need 40 screws and 40 nuts. The kit only ships with 20 of each. That doesn’t make sense to me. There should be enough screws and nuts to accommodate all of the standoffs, not only half of them.

Nothing, crickets. Completely ignored by Amazon. Sigh. I thought I was a good customer and I thought that they would appreciate my thoughtful feedback on the product I purchased. Nope, not so much.

Amazon doesn’t, of course, provide any mechanism for providing feedback on the feedback process, so I was basically stuck. I stewed on this for a few days, knowing that I wanted people to know that this product has a flaw, and looked for an alternative way to get my point across.

I finally gave up and posted this review yesterday:

Good packaging, but not enough bolts and nuts to match the standoffs. No matter what happens, you're going to have to buy more nuts and bolts. There should have been a better ratio of parts.

Reviewed, approved and posted in seconds. Sigh. What a waste of time.

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