Recently, Time released its list of the 50 worst inventions of all-time, a dumping ground for well-meant ideas — however pathetic —that never really hit the ground running. In fact, many of them simply hit the ground, and from a long way up. Time’s list ranges from the macabre (Agent Orange), to the annoying (Facebook’s Farmville game), to the nostalgia-inducing (Olestra and Microsoft Word’s Clippy).
We can be certain that none of these inventions are the absolute worst mankind has ever offered up, as they at least had enough legs to survive through mass production. Any of the ideas that dash through my head on any given day could all qualify for this list, probably with more credentials than all the Segways and subprime mortgages out there.
Many manufacturers search for the sort of worldwide, ubiquitous success that a select few brands treasure: the food companies, multi-national electronics conglomerates, the automakers. You know, all those iPods and Ford Fiestas and everything made by Kraft. But I’d wager just as many smaller manufacturers out there are simply hoping to never make a product that will reach Time’s next edition of the 50 worst inventions. It makes me glad that some of my crazy ideas, like a motorized cheese grater, aren’t being brought to market. Oh, wait, someone already invented that.
But rest assured, it’s going to be awfully difficult to beat out the likes of those abdominal-strengthening belts that more or less shock you into submission.
It’s interesting to see how some of these products are used fairly commonly, despite being held in such disregard. Take tanning beds, for example. For some Wisconsinites, or at least people immigrating from the much-sunnier coasts, tanning beds are a must. And when it comes to reducing the nationwide occurrence of skin cancer, the only thing that hurts us more are nice summer days at the beach. Or in Wisconsin’s case, the tourist-trap-masquerading-as-water-park. Let’s not even talk about how ridiculous it looks to be tanned during the deep northern winters.
Or Crocs. Does any one seriously like wearing those things?
Or my favorite: the Pet Spa. It’s pretty self-explanatory, which is why I’ll just include this video for your viewing pleasure: