Ridiculous Products: Idiotic COVID-19 Touch Tools

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

If you’ve been reading the news online, watching television, listening to the radio, or having conversations with any other human beings, you may be aware that there’s a global pandemic going on. It’s smart to take some basic safety precautions to protect yourself and others. This includes social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask when you go out.

What you really don’t need is a fake metal finger to touch things for you. And yet, in recent days I have been shown five different variations of a “touch tool”, via ads on Instagram and other places.


These are promotional images from five different products.

Firstaball1, just how many elevator buttons is the average person pressing in a day, particularly these days? And secondaball2, has no one considered just using a knuckle?

I suspect part of the reason I’m seeing this pop up so much is that I just can’t stop clicking the ads. The first time, my sheer amazement at the stupidity of the idea compelled me to learn more. Since then, I’ve been stunned that hey, there’s a different version of the same nonsense again. The various robots working behind the scenes are undoubtedly mistaking my clicks for serious interest in this ludicrous concept.

From the $6 “Clean Key” by “Vetted Security solutions” (who also offer an optional $15 Tiger King-themed paint job) all the way up to the egregiously expensive $35 “Keychain Touch Tool” from Peel, it seems everyone is looking to cash in by making a touch tool. Three of them are even using the exact same “Clean Key” name! One claims to be “The Original Clean Key”, but much like a Ray’s Pizza in New York City, you should be skeptical.

Meanwhile, KeySmart’s version of the CleanKey has the benefit of looking sort of like a Tommy Gun:

If you get this model, you can make rat-a-tat-tat machine gun sounds as you imagine you’re blowing away the virus. You won’t be, of course, but it’s fun to pretend. Keep the change, ya filthy pathogen!

KeySmart’s site features an infomercial-style video, which included this delightfully cheesy frame:

The “As Seen On TV” production values you see should tell you a lot about what we’re dealing with here.

However, the version I’ve seen advertised most often makes a point of focusing on quality. The COVID-KEY is made by Milspin, a company which sells “high end CNC products for American patriots”. That appears to mean making accessories for motorcycles and firearms that feature all manner of trademark infringement, as well as juvenile quips like “Get McFucked”. But hey, if you need your handgun to show off the brand of chewing tobacco you favor, Milspin has you covered:


Barvd 🙊

Milspin is making their own claims to originality, urging customers not to fall for “the knock-off pre-order China made keys!”, which appears to be a jab directed at KeySmart.

Regardless of who makes it, or in what country, a touch tool remains a useless waste of time, energy, and material. The design implies you should attach it to your keychain, where you also have, ya know, keys. If you really feel the need to avoid pressing buttons, those keys themselves have you covered pretty well.

It’s true that a standard key can’t grip and pull, while these tools can. But after they do, they’re going into your pocket or purse. Unless the tool is sanitized after each use, it’s just going to serve as a possible vector for moving the virus onto your other possessions. When you reach in to pull it out again, you’re definitely getting virus all over your hands.

The idea for this trumpery3 is itself like a virus, one which has infected metal fabricators across the internet. It’s often said the great minds think alike. The proliferation of these touch tools makes it clear that dumb minds think alike as well.


Footnotes:

  1. This is an amazing formulation I received in an email from someone for whom English was a second language. I have since adopted it for comedic purposes. ↩︎

  2. Honestly, “secondaball” cracks me up even more, but I seldom manage to get to it in conversation. ↩︎

  3. Unlike the two previous example this is a real word in the dictionary and everything. It has centuries of history, but I learned of it only recently. It’s a fancier way of saying “crap”:

    I can’t believe “trumpery” hasn’t gotten traction in the past four years. Let’s change that! ↩︎


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