Previous “Ridiculous Products” posts

My Lone Black Friday Purchase

Friday, November 24th, 2017

When I wrote about the Pringles “Thanksgiving Dinner” on Wednesday, I considered tying in the following image, which I had recently seen:

This image appeared in a tweet, and while it was the source of much amusement, its provenance was entirely unclear. I assumed that this was an earnest Pringles knock-off, perhaps found in some South American country where intellectual property could be infringed upon with impunity.

In fact, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole trying to figure out just what was up. After chuckling about the Prongles slogan (“Once You Pop…THAT’S GREAT!”), I spent a few minutes trying to nail down if Pringles actual slogan had been “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop” or “Once you pop, you can’t stop” (Answer: Both, apparently). That search led me to a set of truly ’80s-tastic commercials which included a young Brad Pitt. This ad in particular really cracked me up, due to the nonsensical way one of the guys is literally pouring chips on his own face: 1

The spot gets even better, as a few seconds later another tank-top wearing bro is spotted double-fisting two cans of Pringles all over his own grill:

What a mess these dopes are making! How many takes of this do you think they did? I’d like to imagine it was dozens. These ads were certainly good for some laughs, but further Googling revealed nothing more about Prongles. I eventually set the whole thing aside as an amusing but unexplained curiosity.

This morning, however, branding analysis site Brand New featured an article about Prongles. I was a bit disappointed to learn that this was not an earnest knock-off. Instead, it was a prank by the folks behind party game Cards Against Humanity (CAH). In previous years, CAH has had outlandish Black Friday “promotions” including 2014’s literal boxes of bullshit, as well as 2015’s nothing, where customers paid $5 and receive absolutely nothing in return. Prongles are a bit of a departure from that style, but they’re pretty damned comical nonetheless.

Because I was driving by a Target in New Hampshire, I figured I’d stop in to see if I could find a real-life can of Prongles. When I arrived just before noon, Target’s door was in normal working order, so I can only assume it had been repaired since the store’s early AM opening. I wasn’t sure if I’d find any Prongles, nor where in the store they would be, but it seemed worth a few minutes of my time. Wandering through the grocery aisles, I spotted a single canister mixed in with real Pringles.

My first thought was that someone had intentionally placed a lone canister here in the hopes that an oblivious snacker would be fooled by them. Another possibility is that someone spotted the Prongles first elsewhere in the store, then said “Oh, this is what I wanted!” when they found the real Pringles. Either way, finding this mixed in was just perfect.

I quickly snapped a few photos, including a good comparison shot, then snatched the can up. I couldn’t find a full display anywhere in the food section, so I headed to the toy area. I found the Cards Against Humanity games section, but no Prongles display. Eventually, I asked a Target worker, and boy did I get lucky. When I showed him the can, he said “Ah, I stocked those yesterday! They’re on the end cap of aisle E1”. I walked over to find an empty shelf, where the tag said something like “CAH Game”. It seemed I had found the very last canister in the store. I purchased it for $3, and headed on my way.

Over lunch, I contemplated if I should open the can, or if that would ruin its value as an idiotic collector’s item. A web search revealed that the canister really did contain nothing but potato chips. In fact, it appears that CAH actually just re-branded chips from a company called “Good Crisp”.


[Photo source: Reddit user DaveLambert on Imgur]

There are a ton of interesting legal questions here. Will Pringles sue for trademark infringement? Does Good Crisp have a case against CAH for simply re-branding their product? Were either of those companies actually involved in the gag? I’ll be fascinated to see how it plays out.

Ultimately, this promotion is bizarre, and its exact purpose is unclear. The Prongles website actually claims Cards Against Humanity is getting out of the games business, but I’m certainly more than a little skeptical. The scheme has undoubtedly generated plenty of publicity for the company, and I suspect that will serve to sell many more copies of their game. If it does, I can only say good for them, and thank them for keeping reality weird. As for me, I’m delighted with the only thing I purchased on Black Friday.

Previously in off-beat retail: CVS’s Handmade Flu Shot Signs


Footnotes:

  1. As always, the video is archived here. ↩︎

No Cooking Required 

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

If the average Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t contain enough potatoes for you, try the Pringles “Thanksgiving Dinner”, which includes such monstrosities as cranberry sauce potato chips and green bean casserole potato chips.

Pumpkin Spice Everything

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

I joked yesterday that Boston Harbor now has a very slight (almost homeopathic) level of pumpkin spice flavor to it. However, unlike Boston Harbor last Sunday, pumpkin spice doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin. Instead, it has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and of course, sulfiting agents, and it’s often used to make pumpkin dishes such as pumpkin pie.

You’ve probably noticed that pumpkin spice is taking over the world. It’s now a surer sign of fall than back to school sales, which start in June or so, or Halloween decorations, which appear in the supermarket as soon as the July 4th decorations come down. When pumpkin spice beverages appear, that’s when you know fall is really on its way.

Given the tremendous quantity of pumpkin spice products out there, I thought I was inured to the fad. And yet, it was with no small amount of revulsion that I came upon this product in my local pharmacy:


It’s very difficult to get good lighting inside a CVS.

Yes folks, for a limited time, you can soothe your sore throat with pumpkin spice cough drops. If the thought of that makes you sick, well, be sure to grab some Pepto-Bismol while you’re there.

Ridiculous Products: Kérastase Hair Coach

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The Consumer Electronics Show (also known as CES) just finished up last week, and as always, it was full of a plethora of technology you almost certainly don’t need. While it can be fun to see what’s coming in the future, it’s perhaps more enjoyable to laugh at the bizarre future some companies envision. To that end, allow me to present the Kérastase Hair Coach.

If you’ve ever thought “This hair brush just isn’t smart enough”, while also thinking “I’d be willing to spend almost two hundred dollars on a hairbrush”, then the Hair Coach is for you. Of course, it’s likely that this site is not for you, so you may wish to stop reading now.


The Hair Coach is much like Zoolander, in that it’s not an ambi-turner. Also, it’s stupid.

The CEO of Withings, the company behind the Hair Coach, was quoted as saying “The last thing we want to do is turn a simple device into a complex device”. So naturally, his company added wi-fi and Bluetooth to a hairbrush. But they didn’t stop there. The brush also includes (taken directly from their press release):

  • A microphone that listens to the sound of hair brushing to identify patterns, providing insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage.

  • 3-axis load cells that measure the force applied to the hair and the scalp when brushing.

  • An accelerometer and a gyroscope which help further analyze brushing patterns and count brush strokes, with haptic feedback signaling if brushing is too vigorous.

  • Conductivity sensors to determine if the brush is being used on dry or wet hair, in order to provide an accurate hair measurement.

If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t brushing up to your full potential, the solution is here. If you were perfectly at peace with your hair brushing, and your life in general, I’m sorry to tell you those days are over. You’re bad at brushing, and you should feel bad about your brushing. Only the Hair Coach can save you now.

I recognize that I am far from the target market for this device. I won’t even venture a prediction that this product will be unsuccessful. I will however state, without equivocation, that this is a ridiculous product which should not exist.

Save Money. Destroy Capitalism.

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

This is a Banksy print (or more likely a Banksy-style print), which humorously depicts a line of people queued up to overpay for a t-shirt with the phrase “Destroy Capitalism” printed on it.

ALT NAME

For reasons surpassing understanding, this print is for sale from Walmart, for a very affordable $76. It is often difficult to believe this world is real, and yet, here we are:

ALT NAME
As seen on Walmart.com

$1000 Buys a Little Jewelry or a Lot of Roaches

Friday, January 29th, 2016

In the fine tradition of “rat adoption”, the Bronx Zoo is offering a special on roach naming. This Valentine’s Day, for just $10, you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after your beloved. Along with the deep satisfaction of knowing a disgusting insect has been named after them, your sweetheart will also receive a fine digital certificate suitable for printing, then later crumpling up and throwing in the recycling bin.

ALT NAME Happy Valentine’s Day, Becky. Get out while you still can.

Perhaps you’re concerned that your lovely lady or gentleman friend may fail to see the incredible romanticism inherent in this present. Fear not! Just use this statement provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which explains just how wonderful and thoughtful your gift truly is:

The donation made in your honor will help the Wildlife Conservation Society conserve species big and small, beautiful and damned1. And as creatures known for being resilient, resourceful, and generally quite plentiful, cockroaches are a vital and unforgettable part of our ecosystem. That’s why it’s a great honor to have one named just for you.

That’s sure to go over well. It can’t miss!

Now, you should be aware that these insects live as long as 5 years in captivity. Fortunately, if the bug outlives your relationship (and let’s face it, it probably will), you can request that your cockroach be stepped on with a boot.2


Footnotes:

  1. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. I guess even species headed for hell deserve conservation efforts, sure. But what species are “damned”, exactly, and by whom? ↩︎

  2. This is not part of the donation, and I don’t imagine they’ll actually do it, but you can always request it. ↩︎

Ridiculous Products: Pizza Hut’s Hot Dog Bites Pizza

Friday, July 17th, 2015

A hot dog (which is so obviously not a sandwich that no debate is even required) really doesn’t belong anywhere near a pizza. Way back in the late ’90s, shortly after the rise of the cheese stuffed crust pizza, I took some sort of online survey for Pizza Hut. They asked how I would feel about a ring of hot dog meat in the crust around a pizza. Then, as now, I was disgusted. Hot dog pizza? Barvd 🙊.

Despite my vociferous objections almost two decades ago, Pizza Hut has now opted to give it a go, albeit with some modifications. While that long-ago survey proposed a circular hot dog ring tucked inside the crust the same way cheese can be, this “limited-supply” Hot Dog Bites pizza is somewhat similar to the Cheeseburger Crown Crust pizza of 2012. The new offering features a circle of pigs in a blanket surrounding the pie. It’s a horrible idea, one which the Washington Post will tell you is best avoided. Pizza Hut has a brief commercial to pitch their vile creation:1

The Hot Dog Pizza
Does that look like something you’d want to eat?

“Hot dog! Pizza! Hot dog! Pizza! Hot dog! Pizza!” the commercial bellows, before combining the two foods into one abomination. The ad moves from being loud and uninspired, to truly and unintentionally hilarious. Referring to hot dogs and pizza, the commercial states that it’s:

  • Two classics, together at last.

When attempting to force a grotesque new food product down the gullets of the public, it is perhaps best not to call to mind this classic joke from The Simpsons2:

Nuts and Gum: Together at Last!

Then again, it does seem likely that Homer Simpson would approve of this creation as well.

Previously in terrible ideas from Pizza Hut: Make ‘Em An Offer They Can Refuse


Footnotes:

  1. The commercial is archived here. ↩︎

  2. This bit can be found in the episode “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”. ↩︎

Help, I’m Trapped in a Blog Post Factory

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

You might have thought that wearable technology had reached its nadir with the dog pedometer of 2012. However, just two years later, we’ve hit a new low. Allow me to introduce you to Bondara’s “SexFit”:

The SexFit
Colors Pictured: Black & Pink. Colours [sic] Available: White & Pink.

Yes, gentleman, it’s a fitness tracker for your penis. It’s also a cock ring1 that’s equipped with Bluetooth and wifi. Why have just one type of radio wave transmitted all over your genitals when you can instead have two? In addition to stimulating a better erection, the SexFit will track you performance during sex, and provide feedback with an accompanying app:

The SexFit App

This is certainly something the world needs. After all, who doesn’t want to receive a letter grade after sex? And if you want to improve your performance, there’s no need to pull an all-nighter cramming. Just bone up with the “personal trainer vibration mode”, fellas.

It’s difficult to fathom how one might tactfully bring this into the bedroom. Women may be able to go “freshen up” but how exactly does a guy explain that he needs a moment to attach a flashing sex tracker to his penis? That’s not exactly “slipping into something more comfortable”. Lest you think that’s the most awkward part of the SexBit, however, be sure not to miss this note from their press release:

Much like other similar fitness tracker innovations, the SexFit allows the most dedicated users to share and compare their favourite [sic] sessions and impressive individual milestones with their peers on social media.

Hot damn, that’s classy!

My favorite part of all this may actually be relatively unrelated to the product itself. Have a look at the end of the URL slug on the Engadget post where I first saw this:

http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/07/bondara-sexfit-i-used-to-be-a-serious-journalist/

It may be a joke, or it may actually be a cry for help. Either way, one can’t help but feel a little sad for writer Daniel Cooper, who is no doubt wondering how it all led to this. Fortunately, covering this sort of absurdity is pretty much One Foot Tsunami’s raison d’être, so I don’t have to feel bad about it.


Footnotes:

  1. Despite diligent research, I was unable to find a less crass term for that. Sorry, Mom. ↩︎

Ridiculous Products: Bad Ass Socks

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

In this world, there are badasses. Faithful readers of this site may remember the names Nick Popovich or Hideaki Akaiwa, for instance. It seems unlikely either of those two characters would be caught dead in these socks:

Bad Ass Socks

When you’re a badass, you just don’t need to announce it to the world. The world will already know, and if not, they’ll find out soon enough.

However, boasting isn’t the biggest issue here. More problematic is the design itself. The arrow is unfortunate, particularly along with the awkward line break. Let’s look at the socks in action:

Bad Ass Socks in Action
[Photo credit: Reach The Beach Relay]

Well now, that just seems like an warning to the world: “I have a bad ass. Sorry!”.

Ridiculous Products: Quiver

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Say hello to Quiver, the one hundred fifty dollar over-the-shoulder wine pouch from Gräf & Lantz:

The Quiver Wine Holder
“Bonjoooour”, you just know Quiver would say.

Oh, I can practically hear you now. “What a cockamamie contraption”, you scoff, “And so expensive too”. Alright, Ms. or Mr. Cocksure. How exactly do you suggest folks transport the bottle of wine they carry around town on a such a regular basis that a special contrivance seems practically de rigueur? In a bag? Under their arm? People don’t actually need to carry wine around that often? Don’t be ridiculous. As to the cost, you simply can’t put a price on convenience.

No, Quiver is clearly the optimal solution. For the spendthrift alcoholic on the go, it makes toting your wine both easy and classy. Maybe you’ve lost your driver’s license after one too many DUIs and now find yourself forced to ride a bike everywhere. Quiver to the rescue! Or perhaps you just wish to look like some kind of besotted Robin Hood. If so, order now.

In Quiver, a surplus of gray felt and a glut of belts come together in harmony to answer the question “Can’t anyone please find a way to make wine even more pretentious?”. For that, it must be applauded. Unfortunately, though it’s made to order (or perhaps because it is), Quiver is perpetually out of stock. Though the product is offered on their website, there’s at decent chance that Gräf & Lantz has never actually sold one of these amazing wine satchels. Why not be the first to purchase?

Answer: Because doing so would make you a Dave Morin-level douchebag.