For all the ingenuity that exists in everyday inventions, there are some products that boast a distinct lack of purpose. They are clearly not going to change the world or improve anything. In fact, you could argue that they were built merely as conversation starters.
For instance, when things are feeling a bit stale on a first date, the inclusion of, “Hey, did you know that sleeping bag suits exist?” will surely liven things up a notch. Follow that up with, “Sapporo makes good beer. Did you know they also make diet water that claims to filter out fat cells?” and curiosity will be sparked. There are plenty more questionable inventions to bring up when you’re stuck for words. At the very least, they’ll make you appreciate all the clever ideas out there.
There’s no denying that smartphones can be overwhelming because they aren’t just phones. They’re mini-computers that organize our lives. The NoPhone is the opposite — it has no typical features of a cell phone. No screen. No workable buttons. No battery. It isn’t a slimmed-down phone like The Light Phone; it’s just a complete non-phone. The NoPhone is literally a piece of plastic that resembles an iPhone in shape and size. Creators Van Gould and Chris Sheldon sell them for 10 bucks a pop. The guys pitched the NoPhone on Shark Tank (they were the first fake phone company to appear on the show) in 2016, explaining to the Sharks that their invention will help people who spend too much time on their phone. They also admitted that the NoPhone is not intended to be used for anything other than to make us feel silly for relying on our phones.
Granted, the idea is intriguing. Most of us do spend too much time on our phones, either looking up non-urgent information that we can just as easily ask research later (or ask a friend), or scrolling through Instagram for the fourth time in an hour, or participating in an inexplicably long text conversation. But since the NoPhone doesn’t offer any phone-related service (or any service at all), it is simply a useless rectangle that we are expected to carry around. Hey, props for amusement factor.
Sapporo Diet Water
At last, underpants for our hands! No, really. Handerpants exist, and they resemble old-fashioned tighty-whities. The website suggests many uses including “sanitary handshakes,” “texting,” “girly stuff” (do they mean putting a tampon in?), “the elderly,” “cooking,” and more. Basically if you don’t want to touch stuff, you can slip on a pair. Except the fingers are exposed, so there’s that design flaw.
You might have noticed that Handerpants provide the same function as gloves, only the material is thinner and breathable. One of the suggested uses is to “keep gloves fresh,” so at least the company recognizes the similarity. Either way, as you’ll see in the commercial above, the salesman is ridiculously enthusiastic about Handerpants. These might be silly and completely unnecessary, but that guy knows how to sell.
You Rock Pet Rock
The concept of pet rocks was developed by advertising executive Gary Dahl in the 1970s. It started off as a joke but gained popularity because people like the idea of owning a pet that doesn’t require any care. No costly vet visits. No cleaning up doggy poop. No need to go on a walk when it’s too hot. No possibility of getting (emotionally) hurt because a rock will never die or disappoint you. And now, pet rocks are making a comeback.
You can literally buy a pet rock and walking leash on Amazon. There’s even a modern version that includes a USB port (that also does nothing). Pet rocks made Dahl a millionaire, so let’s not underestimate the power of novelty inventions.
Beer for Her
Gender is an important topic of conversation in the world right now, and apparently it concerns alcohol. A brewery in the Czech Republic is offering “Beer for Her,” which comes in a pretty pink bottle and resembles a wedding decoration. The beer is called Aurosa, and the website explains that its “adapted to the elegance of women.” It’s true that beer is typically associated with men and wine is associated with women, but anyone who’s been to a bar knows it’s absolutely not a rule. There are plenty of women who prefer beer and men who prefer wine. Aren’t stereotypical and meaningless gender distinctions getting old yet? What’s wrong with downing a Scrimshaw? So far, internet reviews of Beer for Her are less than favorable, so we’ll see how long it lasts.
Walking sleeping bag
When the weather is chilly, sleeping bags are very comfortable. For any camping trip, they’re a necessity. But once it’s time to get up and resume daily activities, people don’t usually keep wearing their sleeping bag. Except, that’s the whole idea behind Selk’bag. This is a walking sleeping bag created by Rodrigo Alonso from Chile. Basically, his idea was for everyone to remain comfy and warm while camping. There are plenty of varieties available on the website, and they all emphasize mobility. Instead of sitting around the fire wrapped in your old-school sleeping bag (and not being able to move your arms because you’re freezing), you can pop on one of these and act normally.
There’s definitely a market for this product because a common camping complaint is getting cold and not feeling like doing anything. Of course, this is what clothes were invented for. There are so many clothes specially designed for the outdoors that it feels weird to voluntarily wear your bedding in the year 2017.
Cup holder that clips to table
It’s not that clipping something to a desk is irrelevant. There are various handbag hangers that are very practical in office settings, but a cup holder that clips to a desk? Is there a really great reason the cup can’t be placed … on the desk? If it’s clipped to the desk, wouldn’t it get in the way? Like when you go to sit down, you might accidentally bump it and then hot coffee would go flying. Also, wouldn’t the cup holder clutter the area? This item has been manufactured by numerous companies — so there must be some kind of demand. (If you use this, please let us know why.) It just seems pointless since it clips onto a device that already functions as a storage area for the cup.
Wine glass holder necklace
The idea of a wine glass necklace is good in theory because it obviously frees up your hands. But imagine actually walking around a party with a wine-filled wine glass around your neck. Better not bump into anything or hug anyone or lean over or turn around quickly — broken glass and spilled wine everywhere. Also, many people actually prefer having something to hold at parties. It saves awkwardness and makes you look busy. And it’s usually not a problem to carry a glass in one hand and use your free hand for other things, like eating or greeting. When you need to set the glass down, that’s what tables are for. If all the table space is taken, consider investing in some cup holder clips.
Bras for men
So, the fact that men don’t have breasts and don’t actually need a bra feels less important than their freedom for self expression. If they want to wear a bra, they should feel welcome to do so. But bras for men are a peculiar line of products, because they’re essentially the same as bras for women. The Homme Mystere website clearly states they’re “available in a variety of prints, colors and sizes, from underwire support and padded cups to sheer lace and stretch fabric.” Why does there need to be a gender distinction for two products that look identical to each other and perform the same function?
Behold, a new type of utensil. The best invention since the spork. The McDonald’s Frork is shaped like a fork and features prongs made of french fries. Yeah … it’s weird. It was designed so people could mop up the delicious bits that fall out of their burgers and sandwiches. If only there were an existing object that could do this. Maybe a fork? Or just some french fries? The website states that the Frork is “uselessly useful” and “easy ish to use.” At least it’s a very self-aware novelty item. Of all the dumb inventions, this is probably the dumbest and perhaps the funniest. They just wanted to make a french fry fork that was available for only one day at some McDonald’s locations. And they accomplished that, if nothing else.