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This ancient tablet proves that customer reviews have existed throughout history

A tablet containing a bad review was found in Ur, modern-day Iraq, which has made Ea Nasir the 'worst businessman' ever known.

This ancient tablet proves that customer reviews have existed throughout history
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CatSynth TV

Anyone who has used an online shopping platform knows the impact a bad review can have on a business's credibility. Unsurprisingly, customer reviews existed long before online platforms or even the internet. A bad customer review was written on a tablet in Akkadian, a language spoken in Ur (modern-day Iraq), dating back 4,000 years. This rage-filled review was written by Nanni for a notorious ancient merchant named Ea Nasir, according to National Geographic.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | AXP Photography
Representative Image Source: Pexels | AXP Photography

The review holds the title of the "oldest customer complaint" in the Guinness World Records. The complaint was filed due to the low-quality copper Ea Nasir sold to Nanni, along with mistreating his messenger and alleged financial scams. Modern people are familiar with such scams and have turned the unscrupulous merchant's fame into a meme fest. However, Nanni wasn't the only one to write against Ea Nasir's unethical practices. In the 20th century, British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley found multiple complaint tablets during an excavation.

Image Source: British Museum
Image Source: The British Museum

The palm-sized tablet with cuneiform writing was found at the site of Ea Nasir's home, with other business documents as per the outlet. Nanni's complaint goes back to 1750 BC. The letter chides Ea Nasir for promising fine-quality copper ingots (blocks of metal) but not adhering to his word. The merchant also took his money, as apparently, Nanni owes him "one (trifling) mina of silver." Mina is one-fifth of an ounce.


When the messenger tried to point out the copper's poor quality, the merchant retaliated, "If you want to take them, take them. If you do not want to take them, go away!" The popular complaint by Nanni read, "I will not accept here any copper from you that is not fine quality. I and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt." Nanni stated, "Because you despised me, I shall inflict grief on you!" Ea Nasir was quite a popular copper merchant during his time and was considered worthy of credit risk, reports Forbes. He mainly dealt in ingots, finished metal products and sometimes textiles and food. He was also a member of Alik Tilmun, a merchant guild from Dilmun. It is considered an important archaeological site located in present-day Bahrain.


However, a merchant who was considered trustworthy gathered several angry customers after he started spending the majority of his time in Dilmun, leading to delays in product delivery. A note from someone called Arbituram complains about how they've not received the copper they ordered. "If you do not give it, I will recall your pledges," the person states in their complaint. Another person, Illsu-elatsu, wrote, "With regard to the copper of Idin-Sin, Izija will come to you. Show him 15 ingots so that he may select 6 good ingots and give him these. Act in such a way that Idin-Sin will not become angry." The bad customer reviews eventually caught up to Ea Nasir and his wealth and business declined. The British Museum has now displayed the complaint tablet by Nanni. Due to his practices and wrong reasons for popularity, Ea Nasir has often been regarded as "the worst businessman of all time," as per CatSynth TV.


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