Top 10 Most Useless Items of Crapola

Once upon a time, things were made to serve a purpose. Consider the light bulb, the compass, and the cardiac pacemaker. No doubt necessity was once the mother of invention.

Fast forward to the present. What’s happened? It seems that everywhere I go, I’m bombarded with completely useless and unnecessary stuff. Yesterday, someone tried to sell me a 14-inch pencil–the “Jumbo Jotter.” I’ll admit I was tempted, and I imagined myself sauntering into Monday’s 3:00 meeting, only to whip out my enormous pencil and start taking notes like it was just another day at the office. My colleagues would laugh, we’d all have a good chuckle, but then some persnickety associate would point out the obvious: I had wasted $9.95 and a tree in Paraguay for a D-list joke.

The problem with useless products is threefold. First, they squander natural resources (energy, raw materials, mineral deposits and infomercial star Anthony Sullivan’s precious time). Secondly, they clog up landfills and, thirdly, they throw us into a Samsara-like cycle of never ending consumption.

Take for example, the Toastmaster Electric Can Opener – Model TCO2 (white). Yes, of course this gadget could be a godsend for the arthritic and handicapped. For the rest of us, however, it’s just another gateway to misery.

1. Lift blade assembly.
2. Place can against positioning bar guide and metal wheel.
3. Press button until can opening process is complete.

We press the button and eat our spam with little worry. Then the tragedy sets in. A few weeks go by and a rubber tire forms around our recently slim midsection. A double chin appears. Is that arm flab? Manual can opening burns calories. The lack of physical activity has atrophied our muscles.

Hence useless gadget number two: the Sauna Belt (note this product was recently recalled for safety reasons). This girdle of a device claims to heat the belly, increasing body temperature, so to literally melt away excess pounds. As it happens, the only thing the Sauna Belt is really good for is repelling members of the opposite sex and scorching its clientele. Burned and fat, what are we to do? Sharper Image’s personal air conditioner provides comfort in times of distress. Just place the battery operated metal collar around your neck and you’ll enjoy the blissful blow of cool air and water vapor on your face.

My point is that it never ends. As we’re buying up all of this “stuff,” we’re wasting money, polluting the earth and adding another piece of junk to our already overcrowded lives. To offset the havoc we purchase yet another useless product and on and on it goes.

Yes, it’s a cruel cruel world out there. And if for a moment a gigantic pencil, fuzzy toilet seat cover or fat burning belt will make it seem all the more bearable, then purchase away. But at least try to buy used.

Behold the gallery . . .
Top Ten Most Useless and Unnecessary Pieces of Crap


The Auto-Adjusting Wrench
Put the monkey wrench to shame. No need to sweat and waste your energy spinning the thumbwheel manually. Instead, just press “power” and the Auto-Adjusting Wrench will mechanically close in on that nut like a python closing in on its prey. Of course, once adjusted you’ll have to turn the wrench yourself, but at least you got the hard part out of the way.


The Banana Holder
Not to be confused with the “Banana Hammock.” Seriously though, what happens when you are down to one banana? How does that Banana stay safe?

Oh, of course! Silly me! Just put it in a Plastic Banana Guard.


The Plastic Banana Guard


The Battery-Powered Spinning Bottle
Jeez, kids today! They have it so easy. Back in my day (insert rambling aged voice here) we actually had to rotate the bottle. Can you imagine? Whirling it by hand to facilitate a painful make-out session or seven minutes in heaven. What torture. We really were living in the dark ages.


The Fuzzy Toilet Seat Cover
Aside from serving absolutely no purpose whatsoever, the furry toilet seat is gross. I mean, why on earth would I want a carpet on my toilet? I don’t want to get into graphic detail here, but stray tagnuts and winnets . . . before you know it you’ve got a dingleberry garden.


The Paper Weight
If by divine intervention a gust of wind blazeth through your windowless cubicle, be sure to protect thy papers with a 4 ounce paperweight.


The Mechanized Egg Cracker
The line of crap destined to fill up your kitchen is seemingly endless. Exhibit A: the egg cracker, a plastic device with which you . . . crack an egg. God forbid we need to knock on the side of a bowl. How, one wonders, has humanity ever survived without a mechanized egg cracker?


The Baby Wipes Warmer
The baby industry capitalizes on the deepest fears of new and nervous parents. Certainly your baby will be uncomfortable, unhappy and will hate you for life if you do not wipe its bum with a warm wipey. This particular model ensures that it won’t dehydrate the wipes, “as leading wipe warmers tend to do.” You know what else won’t dry out the wipes? Not using a wipe warmer.


The Melon Wedger
Need I point out that most kitchens have a knife?


The Leaf Blower
What good is a rake when you can happily puff leaves into your neighbor’s yard with a gas powered leaf blower? Yeah, blowers hemorrhage fossil fuel, but then again nothing’s more satisfying than chasing down that last recalcitrant leaf and blasting it into oblivion.

For “Top 10 Most Useless Items of Crapola” and more from Olivia Zaleski check out her weekly column, “Enviro-mental: Going Green without Going Crazy” on the Huffington Post.

About Olivia Zaleski


  1. I think that by far the most useless product is the Staples “easy button”. It is a big plastic button, and when you push it, nothing happens. But they actually have it for sale in their stores. Frightening.

  2. The creators of the banana guard need to modify it so they can shoot themselves in the head with it.

  3. Olivia Zaleski says:

    hahahaha! I just laughed out loud at both of these comments. Very funny.

  4. What’s amazing is how many people will really defend this junk! Like, I really, really need a banana keeper! Though I have some junk myself (one of those ‘sweater vacuums’ for getting pills from sweaters…I could just pluck them off!)

  5. My mother has kitchen drawers stuffed with this stuff. Depression era mentality perhaps?

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  7. Kudos on the leaf blower… but the Fuzzy Toilet Seat Cover? Oh, NOOOO!!! Don’t take that away from us!

  8. Pingback: Leaf Conditioners and the rest of the world » Blog Archive » Quick scan of the net - leaf conditioner

  9. this is soooooooo hilarious!!! how someone could come up with that banana guard eludes me.

  10. hahahaha this was an amazing post. Banana guard????????? ahh capitalism- if it makes money its worth producing.

  11. you forgot: Macintosh

  12. Sorry, but I have to disagree with a portion of your list. Even though I don’t own a banana guard, it IS quite helpful for bringing a banana out for a snack, something that will keep it from bruising – and it’s reusable. As for the paper weight, my mom has owned 2-4 for well over a decade, and it doesn’t have to hold only paper. And, it is also quite helpful when the fan is on.

  13. Hey, the banana guard is useful, but for an all too small group in the USA- Cyclists.

  14. Leaf blowers. I hate them. Noisy. And they mostly do a very stupid thing. They blow leaves around. Now and then you will see a guy blowing the leaves toward a thing called a Billy Goat which is a giant leaf vacuum. Nice idea, blow the leaves toward a vacuum so they can be mulched and removed. But to strap a leaf blower on a guys back, and have him blow the leaves into the street where the passing cars and wind will blow them back onto the grass is simply insane.
    The banana things are, no matter what the rest of these posters think, silly and completely ridiculous.

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  16. haha i thought the banana guard was for somthing else. i dont think that my 39 cent produce a need that much protecting; on the other hand my $60-140. “banana/rabbit” might find a new home.

  17. I actually met a girl with the banana guard, i asked if she brought her Tarzan to work. But really wtf a banana guards it self it has a peel arrount it for a reason.

  18. great website..good info ..thanks for sharing.

  19. yes, there’s worse though.

    Any tourist stuff..
    those horrible looking toey sandals (you know the ones – how to get laughed at for lots of money.


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