Amazon Would Like You To Please Throw Away That Hoverboard Before You Burn Your House Down
Late on Christmas day I left the house and was surprised to see all the street artists and performers in my quiet little European town had come back to their regular spots. Over the past month they’d mostly decamped for a slightly larger city with more tourists for the holidays, but after the Christmas markets closed they went back to their spots and their familiar audiences. None of them, however, had an audience like the young girl on the Hoverboard.
I had never seen one in person before, and I don’t think anyone else had either, because there was a big clump of people standing around to ask her about it. Hoverboards were the hottest toy of the season, and the Internet tells me that all kids wanted them, and particularly wanted to see their dads fall off of them. (I can’t mock them, though, because one of my relatives will show up to mention that time I tried to use Heelys rolling sneakers in 2008.) I was disappointed to check them out and see that they did not actually hover at all. I heard “hoverboard” and was envisioning one of those cool flying skateboards from Back to the Future II, but really these things are just like a handle-less Segway, and my 78-year-old uncle rides a Segway.
The crowd was standing at a respectful distance, though, probably because Hoverboards have developed a reputation for exploding. Indiana University just sent out a notice banning the boards from campus buildings, airlines have banned travelers from flying with them in checked or carry-on luggage, and Amazon even emailed its customers to beg them to please, please, please throw the exploding thing away before it burns their house down.
“We regret the inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority,” the email said. Customers were urged to take their hoverboards to recycling centers for safe disposal, and promised a refund in a few days.
It’s not exactly often that a company emails its customers and begs them to please destroy their products, so now I am imagining that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was visited by a Ghost of Christmas Future who made him look at a skyline of smoldering houses and an entire generation of kids who can’t use their Kindles or keyboards in 20 years from now, because they broke their wrists on Hoverboards in 2016.