Entry 126: Ten Inventions for Homeowners That Actually Exist

In a recent post, I described 10 great inventions that every homeowner should have. True, they had the slight drawback of not having been invented yet, but they were all awesome nevertheless.

In this post, I’m going to tell you about 10 inventions that actually have been invented, but that also have a slight drawback: they’re just plain stupid.

All of the following real products come from just two catalogs, Home Trends and Picket Fence, both of which are from an outfit called QCI Direct. (“QCI” may or may not stand for “Questionable Cockamamie Inventions.”) I’ve provided links to the products, in case you want to purchase them in spite of the fact that I just told you how stupid they are.*

1. The What To Wear Thermometer

This thermometer not only tells you the temperature, it uses “20 different icons (to) provide a clothing recommendation for the current temperature.” That’s in case you can’t decide for yourself what to wear when it’s 20 degrees out. Unfortunately, it can’t tell you that the down coat you’re putting on makes you look like a gigantic walking oven mitt, or that you’re really a bit too old to pull off those cut-off shorts. However, it could possibly be of use to certain celebrities if it reminds them to wear undergarments.

2. The Stealth Sound Amplifier

This is a “discreet, modern looking amplifier” that lets you “hear more clearly up to 50 ft. away.”  By “discreet and modern looking” they mean it looks just like a Bluetooth earpiece. So while people may not know you’re hearing-impaired, they will think you’re an asshole.

3. The Snore Free Noseclip

It’s a U-shaped clip with magnets in the open end to “help open nasal passages which help prevent snoring.” I guess it works by drawing out all the metal filings you’ve been snorting.

4. Get It Green

You know that stuff bald guys spray on their heads to make it look like they have hair? This is kind of the same thing for bushes. Here’s the description: “Instantly & easily repair brown spots on your shrubs, lawns & other plants. Special formula is not a paint, but a weatherproof, nutritious blend that seeps into blades or leaves, keeping them green & aiding in regrowth.” There’s one thing I always assume about any product that feels the need to say it’s not a paint: it’s a paint.

5. Armadillo Repellent

Evidently there are areas in this great land of ours where marauding armadillos are a problem. According to the description, this stuff “makes foraging areas smell offensive & their food (grubs, insects, larvae) taste bad so they stay away!” Here’s my question: are there areas in this great land of ours where it’s a bad thing to have an animal that eats the grubs, insects and larvae on your property? I mean, what’s more frightening to imagine, a bunch of armadillos or an infestation by grubs, insects and larvae? I, for one, would like to have a grub, insect and larvae repellent. Where can I order an armadillo?

6. The Indoor/Outdoor Cleaner/Mulcher in One

This reminds me of the classic Saturday Night Live commercial for Shimmer (“for the greatest shine you’ve ever tasted”).  Like floor wax and dessert topping, there are some functions that just don’t go together.  It’s not the cleaner/mulcher combination that bothers me as much as the indoor/outdoor.  According to the description, the product’s “powerful 1.25 HP electric motor consumes leaves, pine needles and lawn clippings. Leaves are then mulched creating a wonderful compost ingredient for reuse around the yard.” So far so good.  But here’s the kicker: as an extra bonus, it can “even be used on low-pile carpets.” In other words, it can pick up the clippings after you mow your rug.  (It doesn’t say whether the polyester fibers make good compost ingredients.)  It’s also good in the fall, when your plastic indoor trees shed their leaves.

7. The Pet Ottoman

I have a big old comfy chair in the den with a matching ottoman that I never get to use because the minute I sit down in the chair, my dog Toby sprawls out on the ottoman. This lovely piece of home decor solves the problem by allowing me to put my feet on top of Toby. Cats, on the other hand, can get their own damn furniture. (By the way, are you wondering, as I am, if the person in the picture is wearing anything but the sweatsocks?)

8. The Button Extender

I think some enterprising and litigious attorney can bring a mass torte case against the catalog just for the headline it used for this item: “Go Ahead, Eat That Extra Piece of Pie!” Yes, a lawsuit should be filed on behalf of all obese Americans who have been enabled by this item that adds an extra inch to waistbands. Notice the headline doesn’t say “Go Ahead, Eat That Piece of Pie.” It tells you that it’s okay to eat that extra piece of pie. You’ve already had at least one slice, but go ahead and eat so much that your waistline instantly grows by an inch! Can you imagine eating so much in one sitting that your pants size changes?

9. The Singing Plant Pal

This is a stick that goes into a potted plant. On top of the stick is a ceramic blue jay, robin or cardinal (your choice) that “softly chirps an authentic bird song when your plants need watering.” I get annoyed enough when the toaster-oven beeps to tell me my bagel is ready, and that lasts just a few seconds. I can’t imagine having a ceramic bird chirping at me incessantly to water a friggin’ plant. I’d be as likely to take a hammer to the bird as I would to sprinkle the greenery.

10. Furniture Risers

Okay, I’ll concede the need for this product, which helps people who “suffer from leg or back conditions” to get in and out of chairs more easily. But, come on–look at the picture. Wouldn’t you rather just stand up the rest of your life?

See you soon.

*I have not personally tested any of these products, which would have necessitated actually buying them and, worse, using them.  I found, however, that every one of them failed either the test of common sense or the test of good taste.  Or both.

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