The Dumbest Products of the Decade
Windows VistaAbsurd BurgersCrocsSegwayThe UroClubBig Mouth Billy BassThe Tiddy BearComfort Wipe and BodysnakeNail MatWeather Modification OfficeThe Pontiac AztekPets.com3-1-1 LiquidsBluetooth HeadsetCueCatBoyfriend Arm PillowSocial Media
It's never good to have the phrase "New Coke" thrown around after a product launches, but that was the label that stuck to Windows Vista. Five years in the making, Vista consumers complained about speed, bugs, hardware incompatibility, even a poor selection of built-in games. Microsoft claims sales were fine and Vista lived up to expectations, but they sure got Windows 7 out quickly. As the kids say, FAIL. Some good did come out of the debacle, though. Vista provided more fodder for John Hodgman as the delightful "PC" in the long-running Mac ads that poke fun of Vista.
Burgers served between two donuts, burgers topped with foie gras that cost $175 dollars, burgers topped with mozzarella sticks, and Hardees' hideous 1,320-calorie 860-grams-of-fat Monster Thickburger. Enough. America's greatest contribution to food should be made the In-N-Out way. Cheap, unadorned, reasonably sized, and not designed to give the eater an instantaneous coronary.
See what "Casual Fridays" hath wrought? People who have no problem wearing a glorified sponge on their feet to the theater. We hate to see any American company fall on times, but… what's the adage about not having anything nice to say about unsightly footwear?
On December 3 2001, the Segway Personal Transporter debuted and the urban "revolution" was underway. Do you remember where you were when the world, ummm, changed? Mall cops, rejoice.
The portable, golf-club-shaped urinal is the "discrete sanitary way for your urgent relief," according to its website. Right. That's much less problematic than say, going behind some trees -- considering you're on a golf course. There is, however, a great Tiger Woods joke in here somewhere.
In a way, the once-popular animatronic musical toy fulfilled its destiny as a gag gift. It became a minor pop culture sensation and even starred in an episode of The Sopranos. In many more ways, though, it's an insipid rubber singing fish destined for landfills, rummage sales, trivia nights, and of course, its comeback on VH1's inevitable I Love the 2000s.
Even if there were an honest-to-goodness national pandemic of women who "could hardly breathe" due to the patriarchal torture device known as the seat belt shoulder harness, we still wouldn't encourage anyone to buy a "Tiddy Bear." The nomenclature is cheesy, and the stuffed animal packaging is downright creepy.
The Comfort Wipe is an anatomically designed toilet paper extender for the germaphobe in your life (The first technological advance since the 1880s!), while the BodySnake is for folks too rotund to wash their backs. The only thing dumb about these products is that nobody has combined them into the ComfortSnake. Get us product development!
In 2009, nail beds became a hit in Sweden, even though there seems to be no scientific evidence of actual healing powers. Don't let that stop you, though. As a 46-year-old yoga instructor told The New York Times, "It's quite painful initially." Suck on that, Sealy Posturepedic!
If it sounds like something straight out of Communist China (not too mention a Legion of Doom board meeting), it's because it is. The technology to control the weather has been in development since the days of Mao, but in the 2000s, Chinese efforts were stepped up. The office spent more than $100 million a year on efforts to make it rain, or in the case of the Beijing Olympics, to keep it dry via airplanes and rocket launchers. Just last month, thanks to cloud seeding, snow fell in Beijing to combat drought. The mad scientists are winning, and this just isn't right.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
We almost feel bad for the now-infamous sock puppy, as he's become the poster pooch for the ridiculously profligate dot-com era. Then we were reminded that the company burned through a reported $300 million dollars in two years of operation. They could afford a Super Bowl ad, but not someone whose primary job was to ask questions like, "Will people really pay a $20 shipping fee for sleeves of cat food?"
Someone please explain to us how slowing up the security line -- by having some poor woman dig through her suitcase to throw away a tube of half-used toothpaste -- will prevent another 9/11? All we've been able to understand is that it will cost us $4.95 for bottled water on the other side.
Fans of the device would say it frees up hands for safer driving and easier mobility. We say the gizmo's best feature is that it's a foolproof jackass locator.
Remember the CueCat? No, we don't either. But in the early days of the decade, the CueCat was going to allow us all the thrill of opening a URL link by scanning a barcode in a magazine ad. Naturally, it was shaped like a feline. Years later, a liquidator was reportedly offering two million CueCats at 30 cents apiece, minimum 500,000. Act now!
Why do we get the sad feeling Jennifer Aniston owns one of these things? Oh, Rachel Green, will you ever find true love?
Considering what a time suck MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook are, we're going to say it -- half a billion users are wrong.