For all the ingenuity that exists in everyday inventions, there are some products that boast a distinct lack of purpose. They are clearly not going to change the world or improve anything. In fact, you could argue that they were built merely as conversation starters.
For instance, when things are feeling a bit stale on a first date, the inclusion of, "Hey, did you know that sleeping bag suits exist?" will surely liven things up a notch. Follow that up with, "Sapporo makes good beer. Did you know they also make diet water that claims to filter out fat cells?" and curiosity will be sparked. There are plenty more questionable inventions to bring up when you’re stuck for words. At the very least, they’ll make you appreciate all the clever ideas out there.
There’s no denying that smartphones can be overwhelming because they aren’t just phones. They’re mini-computers that organize our lives. The NoPhone is the opposite — it has no typical features of a cell phone. No screen. No workable buttons. No battery. It isn’t a slimmed-down phone like The Light Phone; it’s just a complete non-phone. The NoPhone is literally a piece of plastic that resembles an iPhone in shape and size. Creators Van Gould and Chris Sheldon sell them for 10 bucks a pop. The guys pitched the NoPhone on Shark Tank (they were the first fake phone company to appear on the show) in 2016, explaining to the Sharks that their invention will help people who spend too much time on their phone. They also admitted that the NoPhone is not intended to be used for anything other than to make us feel silly for relying on our phones.
Granted, the idea is intriguing. Most of us do spend too much time on our phones, either looking up non-urgent information that we can just as easily ask research later (or ask a friend), or scrolling through Instagram for the fourth time in an hour, or participating in an inexplicably long text conversation. But since the NoPhone doesn’t offer any phone-related service (or any service at all), it is simply a useless rectangle that we are expected to carry around. Hey, props for amusement factor.
Sapporo Diet Water
It’s scary how many energy drinks and flavored water options there are to choose from, but nothing beats Sapporo Diet Water. Supposedly this drink was launched a few years ago, but the lack of online presence suggests it isn’t being made anymore. That might be because the idea is so perplexing. Isn’t water already diet because it doesn’t have any calorie or fat content? Yes. Essentially, this is (or was?) the Japanese version of popular American vitamin waters (like Propel, a favorite among celebrities and athletes). Ultra hydration is very in right now, so you can’t fault companies for trying to cash in. There seem to be plenty of odd drinks developed in Japan that have varying lifespans, and Sapporo Diet Water looks like a bust. Wonder why.
At last, underpants for our hands! No, really. Handerpants exist, and they resemble old-fashioned tighty-whities. The website suggests many uses including "sanitary handshakes," "texting," "girly stuff" (do they mean putting a tampon in?), "the elderly," "cooking," and more. Basically if you don’t want to touch stuff, you can slip on a pair. Except the fingers are exposed, so there’s that design flaw.
You might have noticed that Handerpants provide the same function as gloves, only the material is thinner and breathable. One of the suggested uses is to "keep gloves fresh," so at least the company recognizes the similarity. Either way, as you’ll see in the commercial above, the salesman is ridiculously enthusiastic about Handerpants. These might be silly and completely unnecessary, but that guy knows how to sell.
You Rock Pet Rock
The concept of pet rocks was developed by advertising executive Gary Dahl in the 1970s. It started off as a joke but gained popularity because people like the idea of owning a pet that doesn’t require any care. No costly vet visits. No cleaning up doggy poop. No need to go on a walk when it’s too hot. No possibility of getting (emotionally) hurt because a rock will never die or disappoint you. And now, pet rocks are making a comeback.
You can literally buy a pet rock and walking leash on Amazon. There’s even a modern version that includes a USB port (that also does nothing). Pet rocks made Dahl a millionaire, so let’s not underestimate the power of novelty inventions.
Beer for Her
Gender is an important topic of conversation in the world right now, and apparently it concerns alcohol. A brewery in the Czech Republic is offering "Beer for Her," which comes in a pretty pink bottle and resembles a wedding decoration. The beer is called Aurosa, and the website explains that its "adapted to the elegance of women." It’s true that beer is typically associated with men and wine is associated with women, but anyone who’s been to a bar knows it’s absolutely not a rule. There are plenty of women who prefer beer and men who prefer wine. Aren’t stereotypical and meaningless gender distinctions getting old yet? What’s wrong with downing a Scrimshaw? So far, internet reviews of Beer for Her are less than favorable, so we’ll see how long it lasts.
Walking sleeping bag
When the weather is chilly, sleeping bags are very comfortable. For any camping trip, they’re a necessity. But once it’s time to get up and resume daily activities, people don’t usually keep wearing their sleeping bag. Except, that’s the whole idea behind Selk’bag. This is a walking sleeping bag created by Rodrigo Alonso from Chile. Basically, his idea was for everyone to remain comfy and warm while camping. There are plenty of varieties available on the website, and they all emphasize mobility. Instead of sitting around the fire wrapped in your old-school sleeping bag (and not being able to move your arms because you’re freezing), you can pop on one of these and act normally.
There’s definitely a market for this product because a common camping complaint is getting cold and not feeling like doing anything. Of course, this is what clothes were invented for. There are so many clothes specially designed for the outdoors that it feels weird to voluntarily wear your bedding in the year 2017.
Cup holder that clips to table
It’s not that clipping something to a desk is irrelevant. There are various handbag hangers that are very practical in office settings, but a cup holder that clips to a desk? Is there a really great reason the cup can’t be placed … on the desk? If it’s clipped to the desk, wouldn’t it get in the way? Like when you go to sit down, you might accidentally bump it and then hot coffee would go flying. Also, wouldn’t the cup holder clutter the area? This item has been manufactured by numerous companies — so there must be some kind of demand. (If you use this, please let us know why.) It just seems pointless since it clips onto a device that already functions as a storage area for the cup.
Wine glass holder necklace
The idea of a wine glass necklace is good in theory because it obviously frees up your hands. But imagine actually walking around a party with a wine-filled wine glass around your neck. Better not bump into anything or hug anyone or lean over or turn around quickly — broken glass and spilled wine everywhere. Also, many people actually prefer having something to hold at parties. It saves awkwardness and makes you look busy. And it’s usually not a problem to carry a glass in one hand and use your free hand for other things, like eating or greeting. When you need to set the glass down, that’s what tables are for. If all the table space is taken, consider investing in some cup holder clips.
Bras for men
So, the fact that men don’t have breasts and don’t actually need a bra feels less important than their freedom for self expression. If they want to wear a bra, they should feel welcome to do so. But bras for men are a peculiar line of products, because they’re essentially the same as bras for women. The Homme Mystere website clearly states they’re "available in a variety of prints, colors and sizes, from underwire support and padded cups to sheer lace and stretch fabric." Why does there need to be a gender distinction for two products that look identical to each other and perform the same function?
Behold, a new type of utensil. The best invention since the spork. The McDonald’s Frork is shaped like a fork and features prongs made of french fries. Yeah … it’s weird. It was designed so people could mop up the delicious bits that fall out of their burgers and sandwiches. If only there were an existing object that could do this. Maybe a fork? Or just some french fries? The website states that the Frork is "uselessly useful" and "easy ish to use." At least it’s a very self-aware novelty item. Of all the dumb inventions, this is probably the dumbest and perhaps the funniest. They just wanted to make a french fry fork that was available for only one day at some McDonald’s locations. And they accomplished that, if nothing else.
Undies for Two
There are some things that aren’t designed to be shared, and underwear fits into that category. Right? Wrong. Meet Undies for Two. The Amazon description states that users can "Be the life of the party," and that sounds great for a second, but the novelty is sure to wear off when it becomes really impractical to move around the party, not to mention kinda sweaty down there. Anyway, this bizarre product has been manufactured by multiple companies, which suggests some sort of incomprehensible, actual demand for this product. The Fundies box description offers a slogan that feels so middle school that it’s actually hysterical. "Twice the fun. (Half the fun is getting in them. The other half is up to you.)"
There’s no denying that we’re in the golden age of selfies, but isn’t the Selfie Spoon taking things a teensy bit too far? This is a giant spoon that you can attach your iPhone to, and the idea is that breakfast becomes more enjoyable when it’s photographed. (You know, like all the fun with food that we see on Instagram.) Apart from this spoon being simply unnecessary, it’s seems cumbersome to eat a meal with a thick spoon that extends over 30 inches.
And who wants photographic evidence of how gross we are when we eat? Apparently plenty of people, because Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which probably made these just for the publicity, is all out of spoon stock. (The original price was only the cost of shipping.) Guys, this selfie obsession is becoming genuinely scary.
With the variety of clothing options available today, it’s hilarious that Cleavage Covers exist. We’re literally talking about a piece of camisole that clips to a woman’s bra and covers up her cleavage, therefore performing the same function as a sports bra, tank top or T-shirt. If it was difficult to cover up cleavage or there was suddenly a recall on tank tops, this garment might make sense, but right now it’s just perplexing.
Especially because Pinterest and Etsy are practically smothered in cleavage covers. Some of them resemble tube tops. Others resemble bras. When worn underneath a blouse, they resemble tank tops. In all those cases, they’re more expensive than just buying a tank top or camisole. Shouldn’t the fashion industry be turning its attention to more pressing issues, such as making high-heeled shoes safer and more comfortable? Just a thought.
Fake eyelashes are one thing, but Car Lashes are a whole different ballgame. Whoever came up with the idea that cars need eyelashes must have a great sense of humor because these things are pretty hysterical to look at. They fit right over the headlights, giving the vehicle a boost in curbside appeal. Car Lashes come in sets that are sparkly, chrome, ombre, iridescent, and more, and they all compete for ultimate silliness.
The best part is that Car Lashes (the company) also makes diamond crystal eyeliner "for exterior vehicle decoration," along with pendants, stickers, and hot pink steering wheel covers. Is your car feeling a little depressed? Liven her up with some lashes, and she’ll be good to go. That’s the idea, anyway.
There’s probably been a time that you’ve wanted to cover the camera on your laptop because privacy threats are legit. And it’s been a pretty easy task, right? Just grab some tape or a sticky note and stick it on there. Well, that’s also the point of the Eyebloc webcam cover. Instead of being an adhesive, it’s a piece of soft plastic that fits onto your laptop. This product was pitched on Shark Tank by C.J. Isakow, who boldly announced that "Americans are being watched." Thus, the Eyebloc is his solution to cybercrime. Mark Cuban told him that he’s "selling fear" instead of a real company before politely declining the invitation to invest. The other Sharks followed suit, but that clearly didn’t deter Isakow in pursuing the product.
A webcam cover is a fine idea in theory, but … there are so many household products that perform the exact same function. Do we really need to spend $14.99 on a webcam cover that performs no other function? That seems like overkill.
While sitting on the toilet doing your business, do you ever get bored? Wish there was something else to do? (You know, something more active than reading a magazine.) Well, say hello to Toilet Golf. This game comes in a little box set, and it allows you to practice putting while squatting. It comes with a little mat and golf clubs and balls and the whole shebang. Kind of cute, in fact. Of course, if you have long legs, they might get in the way of that winning shot, but never mind that practicality. This is a situation where imagination has no limits.
There’s also a bathroom game called Toilet Fishing if whacking your ankles with a small golf club isn’t your thing. Aren’t these games too time-consuming to set up and tear down when (barring disaster) most people are only on the toilet for a few minutes? Maybe some questions shouldn’t be asked.
Occasionally, people end up in situations where they don’t want to be photographed. It’s also fun to pretend to be a famous celebrity who doesn’t want to be photographed; it can result in some amusing images. That’s where Paparazzi Shades come in. Instead of being regular black sunglasses, these are simply a black bar that can replace sunglasses during an unwanted photo op. The Amazon description claims you can "Tame the Paparazzi." Curiously, there are no customer reviews or ratings.
Wouldn’t someone look sillier wearing a black bar on their face than simply shading their face away from the camera? These "sunglasses" look uncomfortable to wear and totally impractical for talking to anyone with a straight face. Thank goodness there are plenty of paparazzi visors to buy.
UFC Hot Dog Brander
Playing with food can be fun sometimes, but what about writing on food? Or stamping it with something you hold near and dear? The UFC Hot Dog Brander allows mega MMA fans to brand their hot dogs with the UFC logo, which seems kind of pointless apart from providing some good photo opportunities. Doesn’t the hot dog get eaten right after? Wouldn’t a true fan prefer to have a piece of merchandise that lasts a little longer?
Nevertheless, this piece of metal exists, and plenty of people are talking (enthusiastically) about it on social media. It seems like something a fan might use once or twice at a BBQ, but it doesn’t seem like a great long-term investment. MMA fans will be the real judges.
Whether or not you have a dog, no one wants dog poop in their yard. Why don’t people pick up their pet’s waste? It’s bad for the environment, it looks disgusting, smells worse, gets on your shoes, and more. All legitimate grievances. Most people use regular plastic poop bags to get the job done, but if that’s too much of a hassle, try the PooTrap. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a device that fits onto a dog’s backside to catch its poop. You know, like a baby diaper.
Apart from the fact that dogs wouldn’t be enthused about wearing such an awkward contraption, the PooTrap just looks ridiculous. What’s wrong with plastic bags? They’re so easy to use. They’re cheap. They work perfectly. Even though dogs can’t talk, they’d definitely vote against this one.
Although seat belts are necessary, they aren’t always the most comfortable things. Enter the Tiddy Bear comfort strap. Yes, this is a plush teddy bear that clips onto your seat belt strap to make the belt softer. The website claims that the Tiddy Bear is designed to "make driving more comfortable," but that’s ignoring the fact that adults might look silly wearing a very visible teddy bear. It only comes in pink or gold and if you use it properly, it motorboats you the whole time. Also, seat belts aren’t really a problem, right? They can already be tightened and loosened without throwing a soft toy into the mix.
The company’s testimonials page is pretty robust, though, including from some breast cancer survivors who say they find seat belts uncomfortable. Fair! What’s more, Ellen DeGeneres gives it her stamp of approval. For the rest of us, the jury is still out.