Unclean Sweep

I knew Harry Potter was a cheeky bastard; it's the quiet ones that always try to pull the wool over your eyes. Charming little whimsical child, you say? Crafty little British deviant, I say.

Exhibit A: The Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom, an "innocent" toy you can find quietly lurking on Amazon.com, accompanied by a photo of a young boy astride the broom in a manner which he will regret the rest of his life. The toy, supposedly meant to suggest little Harry's magical mode of transportation, features sound effects and a "grooved stick and handle for easy riding." And it vibrates when you squeeze it between your legs.

Strange how many of the parents contributing customer reviews to the site mention that their daughters keep taking the damn thing away from the boys; several Christians have alerted me that Potter was practicing witchcraft, but I had no idea just how dangerous and sinful he was.

Now, yes, there are plenty of cheeky little bastards who work at Amazon.com—hell, it's run by a cheeky little bastard—so I wouldn't put it past any of them to have furtively constructed this threat for their pagan amusement. But don't bet on it. It's a widely known fact that Amazon's customer reviews are stranger than fiction.

Witness the excitement from Ashley in Texas: "My 12-year-old daughter is a big Harry Potter fan . . . so I decided to buy her this toy. I was afraid she would think it was too babyish, but she LOVES this toy. Even my daughter's friends enjoy playing with this fun toy. I was surprised at how long they can just sit in her room and play with this magic broomstick!" Methinks Ashley Jr. will soon be the most popular girl in fifth grade.

Twelve is, apparently, that "growing" age. Here's rapturous astonishment from Ohio: "When my 12-year-old daughter asked for this for her birthday, I kind of wondered if she was too old for it, but she seems to LOVE it. Her friends love it, too! They play for hours in her bedroom with this great toy. They really seem to like the special effects it offers. My oldest daughter (17) really likes it too!" Big sis, no doubt, is not too old to appreciate special effects.

A woman from that den of iniquity, New Orleans, writes to say that, at 32, she's enjoying "riding the broom" as much as her two kids ("The vibrations, along with the swooshing sounds, make for a very magical journey!").

Also according to most reviews, the batteries run out so very soon. I bet they do; we all know the reputations of bunnies, but even Duracell can't keep going and going when the demand is this feverish.

At least one adult seems to have caught on: A "toy enthusiast" from New Jersey complains, "The broomstick has cute sound effects and ***VIBRATES*** when they put it between their legs to fly. Come on—what were [they] thinking? She'll keep playing with the Nimbus 2000, but with the batteries removed." Sensible woman.


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