Published Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000 in The Miami Herald

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$7.95 plus shipping and handling from Deer Creek Products, 3038 NW 25th Ave., Pompano Beach, Fla. 33069, 954-978-0597. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Here is the perfect gift for the person on your list who is engaged in espionage or law-enforcement surveillance. This device is designed to enable the user to secretly ''listen in'' on conversations. ''Similar unit used by law and order agents,'' states the sales literature.

Just take a gander at some of the ''high-tech'' features of this device, as listed in the operating instructions:

  •  A ''headset.''

  •  A ''scientific sound pick-up design.''

  •  A ''high audio gain integrated circuit amplifier.''

  •  A ''power ON indicator light.''

  •  A ''large volume control with numbered increment settings.''

    At this point you are saying: ''Wow! A headset, a scientific design, an integrated circuit, a power light AND a volume control with actual numbers on it! his device must cost an arm and a leg!''

    And that is exactly where you are wrong, my friend. This unit sells for just $7.95 -- about what it costs to see an Adam Sandler movie!

    How can it possibly sell for such an amazingly low price? The answer is brilliantly simple: It doesn't work. At least ours doesn't. When you try to listen in on a conversation, you hear voices, but they don't seem to be any louder; they're just distorted. In fact, you hear the conversation more clearly when you turn the Superhear's high-tech volume-control feature to the increment setting of ''off.''

    So this device is probably best suited for the law-enforcement agent who is forced to conduct surveillance on really boring criminals, and thus would rather not know what they are saying. We also have a theory that if you used this device to listen to ''hip-hop'' music, you would actually be able to understand the lyrics. But we are nowhere near stupid enough to test that theory ourselves.

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