Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


The dumbest products you've seen advertised


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
65 replies to this topic

#1 Casey Hardman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2155

Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:21 AM

I want to hear some of the dumbest products you've ever seen advertised. This means the product could be:


  • Unnecessary
  • Easily replaced (i.e. by a common household object)
  • Foolish
  • Extremely situational
and so on.

I can think of two right now:

1: A faucet which you tap with your arm to turn on/off. They claim it's because "sometimes your hands need a hand" and they show people with insanely exaggerated portions of sticky mass encasing their hands and tapping the faucet with their arm then washing the stuff off. The water would always come out at a fixed rate (I think), so you wouldn't be able to turn the pressure down/up, and I can already turn my faucets on with my arms: it's called applying force to the knob.

2: A hands-free, motion-sensor soap pump. You put your hand under it and it dispenses soap/hand sanitizer. This is because you don't want your sloppy mess to get all over the pump. Because you know, we all hate getting our hands dirty right before washing them.

So what were the worse products you've seen advertised?

EDIT:
Figured this picture might be considered relevant, also.




Sponsor:

#2 SamLowry   Members   -  Reputation: 1571

Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:21 AM

The first one is certainly not dumb. If I interpret your description correctly, it's the kind of faucet they use at hospitals for hygienic reasons. The problem is not turning it on, it's turning it off. My kitchen has something similar: it's elongated and needs to pushed vertically, so that I can easily turn it on and off with a tiny part of the back of my hand.

It does seem though that the advertisement itself is dumb.



#3 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2038

Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:43 AM

Garlic peeler.

There are a couple more products designed with lazy people in mind. I dont remember them all unfortunately.

#4 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:29 AM

Garlic peeler.


depending on the quality and price, a garlic peeler could be very useful. Garlic hands are gross smelling, and peeling garlic can be a hassle especially if you are trying to keep the cloves whole. As most of the ones I've seen are either free gifts that come with other stuff, or <$5, I wouldn't necessarily write them off.

There are definitely less useful and more expensive kitchen gadgets.

#5 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1623

Posted 19 September 2011 - 08:43 AM

The first two are actually very practical and useful concepts. (The designs in question may be lacking)

What annoys me is that everyone in a commercial is an idiot, using an overly cheap product/dull knife, until they get the advertised product in their hands, and then they magically become competent.
Old Username: Talroth
If your signature on a web forum takes up more space than your average post, then you are doing things wrong.

#6 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 19 September 2011 - 09:31 AM

The first two are actually very practical and useful concepts. (The designs in question may be lacking)

What annoys me is that everyone in a commercial is an idiot, using an overly cheap product/dull knife, until they get the advertised product in their hands, and then they magically become competent.



now I can have milk... every day.

#7 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 19 September 2011 - 10:57 AM

11 Products too embarrassing to use.

#8 Antheus   Members   -  Reputation: 2393

Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:19 AM

1: A faucet which you tap with your arm to turn on/off. They claim it's because "sometimes your hands need a hand" and they show people with insanely exaggerated portions of sticky mass encasing their hands and tapping the faucet with their arm then washing the stuff off. The water would always come out at a fixed rate (I think), so you wouldn't be able to turn the pressure down/up, and I can already turn my faucets on with my arms: it's called applying force to the knob.

2: A hands-free, motion-sensor soap pump. You put your hand under it and it dispenses soap/hand sanitizer. This is because you don't want your sloppy mess to get all over the pump. Because you know, we all hate getting our hands dirty right before washing them.



A first world problem indeed, but you will find many people bacteriofobic. You'll find people going to extremes when using any kind of shared toilet facilities or even ones at home that refuse to come into contact with any surface.

Not only are these products not dumb, they actually remove psychological barriers that can and do harm health of a relevant portion of population that would otherwise refuse to use them. Even then, it's not uncommon for people to simply refuse to use shared (not necessarily public, in office or hotel) sanitation facilities (toilets, sinks, towels, any surface related to these areas or areas which might come in contact with them by touch).

This is a serious problem and for some it can result in not using toilets for days or in extreme cases weeks. Travel agencies need to take stuff like that into account.

But it is a very specific first world problem, since in most of the world it's hard to grow up in an environment that would be sterile enough for such psychosis to develop.

#9 Wan   Members   -  Reputation: 1366

Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:42 AM

Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?

#10 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:48 AM

Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?


Non-perishable with long shelf life. Canned vegetables make sense in a number of scenarios.

#11 Wan   Members   -  Reputation: 1366

Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:58 AM


Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?


Non-perishable with long shelf life. Canned vegetables make sense in a number of scenarios.

But exactly how many people spend their lives in a nuclear bomb shelter? Going by the aisles of cans in your typical grocery store, it must be at least half the population.

#12 BeanDog   Members   -  Reputation: 1063

Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:10 PM



Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?


Non-perishable with long shelf life. Canned vegetables make sense in a number of scenarios.

But exactly how many people spend their lives in a nuclear bomb shelter? Going by the aisles of cans in your typical grocery store, it must be at least half the population.

Given how rarely your average American eats vegetables, let alone vegetables they prepared themselves in their home, I'd bet the average can of peas sits in a pantry for over a year. That would be a long time to use up space in a freezer.

~BenDilts( void );

Lucidchart: Online Flow Chart Software; Lucidpress: Digital Publishing Software


#13 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:21 PM



Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?


Non-perishable with long shelf life. Canned vegetables make sense in a number of scenarios.

But exactly how many people spend their lives in a nuclear bomb shelter? Going by the aisles of cans in your typical grocery store, it must be at least half the population.


They are also a lot more convenient to cook. They are typically pre-cooked and just need warmed up. I think you're underestimating the benefit of longer shelf lives and convenience factor. Americans don't eat enough vegetables as it is, they should be as convenient as possible to encourage consumption.

#14 Wan   Members   -  Reputation: 1366

Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:46 PM




Different category, but: canned vegetables. Seriously, why buy something that's been soaking in a jar for who knows how long, when you can get frozen vegetables for the same price?

Except for tomatoes. Or was that a fruit?


Non-perishable with long shelf life. Canned vegetables make sense in a number of scenarios.

But exactly how many people spend their lives in a nuclear bomb shelter? Going by the aisles of cans in your typical grocery store, it must be at least half the population.

They are also a lot more convenient to cook. They are typically pre-cooked and just need warmed up. I think you're underestimating the benefit of longer shelf lives and convenience factor. Americans don't eat enough vegetables as it is, they should be as convenient as possible to encourage consumption.

Ah well, I think too many people overestimate the convenience that canned vegetables provide then. And I'm afraid the average (Western) European supermarket isn't much different in this regard. :/

#15 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18836

Posted 19 September 2011 - 01:01 PM

The first two are actually very practical and useful concepts. (The designs in question may be lacking)



So far all of the products suggested are practical. Even the 11 embarrassing ones.

They may be niche markets, they may have only limited use. But "limited" does not mean "useless" or "dumb". Even the contraption that attempts to simplify removal of the shell from a hard boiled egg is useful to a very tiny (but still very real) target demographic. The vast majority of us don't spend enough time peeling hard boiled eggs to make such a device reasonable for them, but a few people may.

There are also things which are dangerous to others, the historical 'snake oil'. Many of those products have been dangerous or even deadly. Yet they had a market for people who at the time saw them as practical.

It may seem dumb to today's modern science but at the time blood-letting or a colonic may have been the medically correct assessment. :-)







What annoys me is that everyone in a commercial is an idiot, using an overly cheap product/dull knife, until they get the advertised product in their hands, and then they magically become competent.

That's the fault of the marketer, not the product.

"Watch this regular knife. Instead of cutting the bread, I will crush it. Instead of slicing the tomato I will crush it. Instead of slicing the fish I will crush it. Now with this real knife I will actually slide the knife and it will magically cut.".

The knife isn't to blame for the inept marketer.

Or "before and after" pictures with completely different people:
Posted Image

Again, the product may fill some niche, it is the marketer who is the problem.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#16 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1623

Posted 19 September 2011 - 01:05 PM

I can buy a flat of can goods on sale, and leave them in a cupboard for half a year.

I can't do the same with a bag of fresh frozen peas. If I buy canned goods, then it costs me nothing extra to store them besides the space they take up. Keeping a pile of bagged veggies frozen takes energy.

But I do agree that fresh-frozen veggies are by far better, and what I generally buy. (But cycling out a stock of canned goods is nice. Being able to know I can keep living half way easily if the power gets knocked out for a week or so, which is not impossible, is comforting. But I really don't want to eat canned goods that I know have been sitting in some basement for half a decade, so I rather eat a few now and then and buy 'fresh' cans to replace them.)
Old Username: Talroth
If your signature on a web forum takes up more space than your average post, then you are doing things wrong.

#17 BeanDog   Members   -  Reputation: 1063

Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:44 PM

Back to the original question: Homeopathic "medicine." My understanding is that they take some random chemical, dilute it 10:1 or 100:1, repeat that process 25-1000 times, and then sell the resulting water as medicine. For example, a homeopathic ingredient labeled "25C" means it was diluted 100:1, 25 times. Leaving it diluted 1050:1. Meaning that if you used all the water on earth to produce this remedy, there would be about 1/5th of an atom of hydrogen worth of the original chemical left in it all, by volume (citation). I think it's criminal to package water as medicine and sell it, but apparently other people think differently.

~BenDilts( void );

Lucidchart: Online Flow Chart Software; Lucidpress: Digital Publishing Software


#18 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18836

Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:27 PM

Back to the original question: Homeopathic "medicine." My understanding is that they take some random chemical, dilute it 10:1 or 100:1, repeat that process 25-1000 times, and then sell the resulting water as medicine. For example, a homeopathic ingredient labeled "25C" means it was diluted 100:1, 25 times. Leaving it diluted 1050:1. Meaning that if you used all the water on earth to produce this remedy, there would be about 1/5th of an atom of hydrogen worth of the original chemical left in it all, by volume (citation). I think it's criminal to package water as medicine and sell it, but apparently other people think differently.


Your understanding is quite flawed. Also, that's a rather useless citation which has nothing to do with medicine.


Many "homeopathic medicines" are legitimate herbal combinations with very good results. Others, less so.



One medicine may claim to help with gas and bloating to be taken at meals, and contain some crushed fennel. Others may be a supplement containing ginseng for virility, or ginkgo for memory, or a mild antidepressant containing St. John's Wort. All these are simple herbs, and all have been shown clinically to have very real results.



Many herbal remedies aren't packed up into tablets and sold at the pharmacy, but that's partly because they are mostly harmless and inexpensive. Why pay a small fortune directly and in insurance premiums for something that is already used as a common baking ingredient?

Drug companies don't bother to invest fortunes into clinical trials, and later into distribution and marketing of their medicines when those same medicines are available for a few cents on your grocer's shelves. Instead they will isolate portions of them, refine them, then sell those products at an extreme profit.



Once it was a tea made from willow bark. Sometimes doctors would use powdered willow bark directly in wounds as a poultice. A few years back the key chemicals in the bark were isolated, and now the same thing is sold globally as aspirin.

Once it was a homeopathic extract from purple flowers. It was one of the first families of drugs to be isolated and cultivated. It is now one of the most abused drugs in the world. Today many drugs come from opium plants, and opioid pain killers are on the list of the World Health Organization's critical emergency drugs.

Nutmeg tea is a very old traditional treatment for the cold and mild cough. Today several major cough medicines are based on nutmeg oil, and it is also a natural antimicrobial agent used specifically to fight strep.

I had a serious tooth infection that required a root canal. It was an incredible amount of pain. The dentist's advice while waiting for the appointment? He could phone in a prescription for painkiller to take every 4 hours, or I could swab the tooth every few hours with some clove oil that I already had in my cupboard. Not only is a few drops of clove oil great with ham and rice, but undiluted clove oil is antiseptic and used as a local anesthetic (painkiller) since prehistoric times.

Foxglove? They're a pretty purple flower that people plant around their house. It is toxic and has a great side effect of controlling mice, rabbits and other garden pests. It also has some ancient historical purposes, including poison used for murder, but people who planted it near their home also reportedly lived longer. Taken directly it can be fatal, but trace amounts of the pollen have several positive effects on heart health that traditional medicine noticed centuries ago. Foxglove extracts are sold as Digoxin and sold to millions of people for heart problems.

Garlic does more than scares away vampires, it was frequently given for many illnesses. Today we know it is an antifungal, antibacterial, and even antiviral medicine; it has a strong correlation as a cancer fighter, those who eat it regularly are less likely to develop certain forms of cancer. Garlic extracts are used in many medicines and are still being heavily researched.




Don't dismiss traditional medicines just because they aren't sold for a small fortune at a pharmacy counter, or distributed in a pill in a little plastic bottle.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#19 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:31 PM

Not a product but part of one, but on my old keyboard (& quite a few other ones Ive seen) having a power off button.
Now I challenge anyone to say why this is a useful button :blink:
ATM Im using an old IBM keyboard that I got from the dump.

#20 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1623

Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:51 PM

Not a product but part of one, but on my old keyboard (& quite a few other ones Ive seen) having a power off button.
Now I challenge anyone to say why this is a useful button :blink:
ATM Im using an old IBM keyboard that I got from the dump.


A remote power control button? I could see it being extremely useful if the layout of the work area made it less than handy to reach the normal power button on the case. One time I worked in a fabrication lab, and the tower for my work station was actually in a room just on the other side of the wall, and we had a custom power switched wired to the desk. (Protected it from the dust and heat of the lab itself.)
Old Username: Talroth
If your signature on a web forum takes up more space than your average post, then you are doing things wrong.




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS