Crap, the world is filled with crap!
It’s all their fault: innovations or pick the equivalent in your hemisphere. They are purveyors of crap. Let’s go back a few years so I can explain.
It was like an initiation course in what not to doI’m a fully fledged designer. Industrial designer if you please, not a graphic designer, nor a fashion *cough* designer, nor an architect, interior designer, stage designer, engineer, web page designer, jewellery designer or a kids wear designer. An Industrial Designer… someone who designs products like your car, or your chair, or your mum’s spoon, or your sister’s hair dryer, or, in my case, your company’s trade show stand. I learned myself proper like at university sitting a four year degree course. So you’d understand if I have an eye for trends, and styles, and form and function. Well one of the assignments in Design 101 at Uni was to study crap design. It was like an initiation course in “what not to do”. The title was Class or Crass. Basically we had to find examples of good and bad design then dissect them. I discovered along with my ever reducing class that mostly it’s crass out there. Crass with dollops of crap. Sometimes there’s so much crap it’s just unbearable. Hence why I am blogging this at you.
Call it therapy.
What triggered this throwback? I was cooking dinner tonight and whilst everything was quietly burning I thumbed through the junk mail. In there was the latest, no, wait, the “Christmas” edition of the Innovations mail catalogue.
Now, before you start I did not and never have purchased anything from these people. Think Readers’ Digest. Once you’re on their mailing list you’re on it forever. But not me. Not this time. It was her. She bought something from my mothers’ catalogue. Now they know where we live. What’s more, we moved and they still found us.
Normally, I avoid these catalogues unless I am in a cynical mood so if you note some sarcasm you’ll know why.
Right, so we’re talking, or more to the point; I am typing and your still reading, which is good, but we’re talking about a catalogue full of crap. Oh, granted there are some useful things in there like a BBQ cover or four seasons of Columbo at $49.99 per season which is roughly twice what you’d pay in a real shop, ergo, crap. But mostly… well… it’s crap. Here’s some examples.
For Christmas we can order a Nail-on-Santa for $34.95. I gather you take this blighter, a sort of festive Mr Potato Head, and nail the separate bits to the nearest tree. Gives me an idea about someone I know.
Here’s what “every man” needs and no woman ever wants in her home: a Victorian Bitter beer stein with a bicycle bell on the handle. There’s only one person I know who’d enjoy this, but he’s no longer with us, bless his short fat hairy soul. Can you imagine it? “RING RING! Hey wife, RING RING, where’s my beer… oooow!” as the fridge hits the side of your head. Put this one down for marital bliss.
Yep. It’s a solar powered torch. Now I know you’re thinking “Well, the solar bit charges the batteries”. Yep, it does but where do you keep your torch? On the window sill? We keep ours in a cupboard or drawer, wouldn’t most people? Granted it’d be useful on a camping trip, but that’s a pretty limited use for a solar powered torch costing you $39.95.
Now this one is just plain cruel. It’s a Sudoku coffee mug with wipe-off pen. I’ll give you a moment to think about this. Here’s some thinking music. Okay, give up? If someone is dumb enough to buy this mug then they will really struggle with the puzzle. What’s more, if they don’t get it finished in time the wipe-off pen will disappear in the next wash. AND if they ever do complete the puzzle… well, it’s a once only thing isn’t it? Last but not least I can’t help but wonder at the number of scolded legs and ruined keyboards out there. All for $14.95.
I really need a soothing candle-lit indoor table-top fountain. Some bright spark (pun) came up with the idea of combining the soothing effect from not one, but two elements. Fire and water. Sure, the gentle tinkle sound from running water is relaxing, so is the soft play of candle light, but together? The inventor must be a drip. Even the idea of opposite elements in close proximity is all wrong. No feng Shui consultant is going to be seen dead next to one of these… or maybe they would. But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. Not content, the master of harmony has not made this thing from ceramic. Oh no, it might look natural with its clay pots and urn, its pebbles and bamboo sticks but it’s all plastic, including the candle… which is actually not a candle but a light globe that looks like a candle. Aggghh the aesthetic irony of it! Just $29.95 plus shipping.
Anyway, I could go on with such beauties as monogrammed bean bag covers, battery powered pepper grinder (yep, looks like an ordinary pepper grinder but this one has a button and a motor), clear plastic roses to put in your garden which change colours via LEDs , solar power bamboo light stakes (you know, the rattan and bamboo outdoor lights with a candle in them… well now you can get them solar powered WITH flicker effect. W00T!) A crossword puzzle puzzle… it’s a crossword puzzle jigsaw puzzle. I mean, it’s a jigsaw puzzle with a crossword puzzle. You put the 500 pieces together then answer the clues. Billed as a two in one… but I reckon you’ll only do the puzzle puzzle once once.
The one that made me stamp my foot and ruin the soufflé, the one that drove me here, the one that took the cake was The BBQ Brand.
The Custom BBQ Branding Iron is made from steel, features a wooden handle and comes with 52 changeable letters (no tools required) to spell out your messages. The branding iron measures 43 cm long. The attached lettering plate is 9 x 4 cm. Suitable for ages 18+
That’s right folks. Now you can be true cowpoke by heating up your brand and searing that sucker with your own message. Yee-ha! Rest assured you’re in complete safety; there’s no hapless livestock giving you a quick hoof to the nether regions because this steak is already dead! However, there is the danger of one of your guests rustling your steak with his own brand, beer could be spilled, friendships ruined! The mind boggles, it truly does. It says it’s suitable for ages 18+. Get out of here, 18+ ??? They are butchering their prime (double pun) teen market here; can you imagine what the kids would write on their steaks? Can you image what you’d write on yours? Would you brand your wife’s pork sausage and survive? What about the sexy blonde from next door and her chicken breast… would you get away with it?
This is the worst, crassest, most useless almost-but-not-quite joke product I’ve ever seen.