What were they thinking?!?! In praise of retail stupidity.
We will almost certainly remember 2007 as the year of the recall. This year, Mattel alone recalled some 21 million toys containing dangerous levels of lead-based paint and other hazards. And in November, a popular Chinese-made toy called Aqua Dots caused a scare that thrust the unlikely phrase "date rape toy" into the public consciousness. Consequently, 36 percent of consumers said they planned on buying fewer toys this holiday season, according to a Consumer Reports poll.
But it wasn't just toy manufacturers who garnered bad business press in 2007. Wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg recently faced a rare setback when Facebook's Beacon -- a controversial new advertising program, which alerts your Facebook friends about various online purchases you make, even when you're not logged on to Facebook -- had angry users charging the company with invasion of privacy.
And Microsoft -- before it dropped $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook -- finally unveiled its long-awaited Vista operating system, which has been widely called a bust.
From toxic toys to technology gone awry, plenty of products flopped in 2007. So many, in fact, that we found numerous websites and blogs devoted to the most outrageous moments in retail. Our search for the dumbest products of the year led us everywhere from drug-inspired energy drinks to workout clothes (falsely) claiming to be made out of seaweed to impractical gadgets, one of which could cause users to drop their iPods in the toilet.
We found some interesting items, to say the least. And while most of the products that made our final list weren't subject to mass recalls, some of them certainly should have been, at least out of principle. Check out the slideshow for the complete list -- and here's to an even dumber 2008.