Gathan Beaga

Amazon again

Another interesting Amazon feature are the Purchase circles. These are the bestseller lists for geographical or organisational groupings of Amazon buyers (like New Zealand, or Microsoft).

You can tell that New Zealand has a bit of a serious problem when, at the time of writing, number nine on the NZ purchase circle is The Construction and Operation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories by the obviously pseudonymous Jack B. Nimble. (Ainsley Harriott is number one, another sad problem, a chef of a different kind.)

According to reviewer A Reader (of whom 15 of 18 people found his/her review helpful, but who sounds like s/he may have developed an appetite for his/her own cooking):

bq.4 of 5 starsIt worked for me!!!I’ve read the book 3-4 times and I really like it. It gives a lot of tips on clandestine labs. If you like chemistry, you’ll like this book.

The really funny thing is that Amazon have a special deal on at the moment – for just $47.95 you can buy it bundled together with Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture: Including Recipes for Mda, Ecstasy, & Other Psychedelic Amphetamines. (This book is by the even more pseudonymously named Uncle Fester, someone of whom even I have dimly heard.) This book is currently number 19 in the New Zealand purchase circle.

Actually, maybe this isn’t such a big laugh. I’m not wanting to criticise Amazon for selling these books: there’s good reasons for doing so and it’s not a crime in the United States (and may not be a crime here either – it’s probably not been tested). What it does highlight is the scale of a problem we have here in New Zealand that is common to other developed Western nations but somehow seems more acute here. According to the Police crime stats for 2001, non-cannabis drug crime increased by nearly seven percent over the previous year, with the police busting over 40 meth labs. I would have thought that’s quite a lot for a country of just 3.9 million people. And all this is at a time when recorded crime in New Zealand is at its lowest level in 13 years.

As a father it’s a bit worrying. Either that or I’ve suddenly jumped into middle age. Perhaps I should start voting National now.

(That last sentence was a joke.)