I must really say that I’m not a real big fan of the safety belt and motorcycle helmet laws. They are good and lifesaving ideas and though I don’t ride a motorcycle, I do fasten my seat belt every time I get into my car. I was made painfully aware of the necessity of wearing a seatbelt a few years ago when I plowed into a lady who ran a red light. My belt wasn’t fastened and my head made a nice skull-shaped impression on the windshield. But if anyone wants to not wear one despite all of the ominous repercussions, then that decision should be up to them. The comedian Carlos Mencia sort of likens it to thinning out the herd: “There’s too many stupid people in the world and no one to eat them.” I am, however, in favor of strong consumer safety laws. Sometimes the hazards aren’t so obvious as with things like smoking, seat belts, helmets, and driving your car in front of an oncoming train.
Below I have come up with my own list of some of the worst products in the world. Some of them are a safety hazards and some of them are just plain dumb, but I haven’t picked on the obvious. Hopefully, no one sets out to design a product that could be hazardous to your health. No one at Ford said, for example, let’s design the Pinto so it blows up in a rear end collision. Some of the products on the list are just bad ideas that didn’t work. So here goes:
The Pet Rock: “Let’s put a rock in a box, give it a name, and people will buy it. I know they will.” And they did, making the inventor richer by a few million dollars. But then again, people collect things like steam-powered cream testers, mason jars, and cans of beer with ex-president Carter’s brother on them, so who knows?
BBGuns and Pellet Rifles: Ok, so maybe if you live in the country it’s ok to teach Junior how to hunt when he’s 13 or 14 so he can pop a squirrel or two out of the tree with Dad. But to give a kid a high-powered pellet rifle and let him shoot the neighbor’s dog is a different story. These are right up there with rubber-banded slingshots and ballbearings.
Lawn Darts: Great idea for a family backyard activity. Take some sharp, really big darts and have everyone stand behind a plastic circle as you try to toss the dart up into the air and into the ring. Fortunately they are no longer on the market. The inventors of the lawn darts next game involved shooting steel-tipped arrows up in the air while someone on the other end tries to catch them.
Green Slime Candy: So it’s bad enough if your son pulls a booger out of his nose in kindergarten and eats it in front of the teacher, but now you can encourage this behavior by giving him green slime candy to eat at home. There are all kinds of other stuff too, like squishy brains candy and candy that tastes like dirt. It was better when he just ate the white glue paste.
X-Ray Specs: How many kids bought these out of the back page of a comic book hoping to be able to see through that cute neighbor kid’s dress, only to end up with eye strain. At least now we have all of the racy stuff and the violence on video games.
Cell Phone Handsets: Go back to the fifties with your very own full-sized handset that plugs into your cell phone. People will be rolling with laughter when you pull this monster out of your pocket or briefcase. No they won’t, they’ll just think that you’re stupid.
Dog Fashion Accessories: Fido doesn’t care if he wears the latest in doggie sunglasses, sweaters, hats, and paw mittens. He does, however, really enjoy vacationing at the dog spa where he can get a mud bath, massage, pedicure, and counseling for any relationship problems that he may be having.
Fat Burners: Despite most reputable scientists saying that the best way to lose weight is with proper diet and exercise, and telling us that there is really no way to “spot” reduce, these products promise to work just like liposuction and target that “nasty brown belly fat.” One commercial even shows us a jar of the stuff. They don’t tell you however, how they got the stuff into the jar with just a pill.
Bottled Air: You can now go into convenience stores in many parts of the country and pluck down six or seven bucks for bottled oxygen. Taking a hit is supposed to make you feel better and perform better. Scientists say it doesn’t help and that there is plenty of oxygen in regular air, and it’s free.
Male Enhancement Products: Popping a daily pill can help increase the size of that special male area and increase vitality. None of this has been proven. Read the disclaimer at the bottom of the ad. One thing is absolutely certain though; buying these products will increase the size of the seller’s wallet and decrease the size of yours.
And the number one worst product is:
Kid-sized Motorbikes: Ok, your kid has survived the hazardous baby cribs, pellet guns, and lawn darts and made it into his teens. To reward him, get him a motorbike that’s just the right size, because his feet don’t touch the ground when he sits on a regular one. He’ll probably then ride it in the middle of the street, or better yet on a moto-cross trail where he can jump over mounds of dirt and ride through sharp, pointed rocks. Make sure he wears his helmet and have an ambulance standing by.