This is not an exhaustive list, but as I flip through catalogs while I eat my lunch, it never ceases to amaze me that there could be a market for certain products. I’ll grant you – sometimes, they’re marginal. I can conceive that someone, somewhere with a lot of disposable income and endless kitchen cabinetry might want these things. Take for example, the Stuffed Burger Press. I mean, okay, $14.95 is hardly a fortune and the kids might get a kick out of eating their burgers with the cheese pressed on the inside, rather than sitting conventionally atop the meat, but it should at least register before you click “Add to Cart” that this is hardly a kitchen must-have. Still, there are a few products that it is seriously hard for me to conceive of any person coveting enough to buy. Here are my top five recently-encountered products that I find utterly useless*:
1. Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand – If you are so vain that your steak needs to bear your initials, you need professional intervention.
2. Adjustable Tablet Stand – Taking laziness to new extremes, because it’s so taxing to sit all the way up while you use your iPad. All for the low, low price of $159.99 Plus, what happens when you foolishly flop down on the living room couch and begin browsing, only to recall that you left your convenient stand upstairs by your bed?
3. Insta-Tall Max Heel Lifts – I’m not short of stature, so maybe I just don’t get it, but I can’t imagine anyone being so desperate to be a couple inches taller that they would find it acceptable to shove plastic lifts in their shoes. I’m sure nobody will notice your heel protruding 2″ up from the back of your penny loafers. How ’bout just live in the height the good Lord gave you? Sheesh.
4. Meatloaf Starter – Meatloaf starter? Because nobody can figure out the hard-to-come-by, top-secret ingredients of onions, green pepper, an egg, some cracker crumbs and a good fistful of ketchup? Why did people begin making meatloaf in the first place? It was to stretch ground beef inexpensively to feed a few more mouths. But the company hawking Meatloaf Starter wants you to pay $12.50 for their jarred version. Grandma would roll over in her grave.
5. Soda Stream Machine – Okay, at least this one could make sense from a practical standpoint, if your family already drinks a lot of soda. It would reduce soda can waste and, though I haven’t run the numbers, probably is less expensive than buying soda. Still, is it a goal of yours to make it possible for family members to make themselves a soda any time they have the notion? A far better goal would be reducing or eliminating soda from your diet.
I’m sure there are many more, but I found these barely looking. Once, I saw a show that featured The Ultimate Cheepskate, Jeff Yeager. He said something that really stood out for me. He said he and his wife decided long ago that they were not going to “upgrade” their life-style; that the life-style they had at that time was satisfactory. I cannot say I fully embrace that principle – I do love my smartphone as much as the next girl – but there’s an idea there I can really get behind. It’s certainly better not to continuously look for the next gadget to acquire, which 0ften requires other gadgets to keep itself moving along. You buy the soda gadget and then you need to replace the CO2 indicator and you need the corn syrup garbage to make it taste like a soda and you need electricity to power it…Isn’t it easier to just drink water?
* Should you disagree and do, in fact, find these to be highly useful, feel free to mention it in a comment. But I doubt you will change my mind.