Unitasker Wednesday: Infant Whirlpool Bubbling Spa

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Regular readers of the site know that I’m a mom with a five-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. If I were to compare myself to most moms in the US, I’d describe myself as fairly typical when it comes to buying baby supplies and such. I never went over the top with buying gadgets, but certainly spent some money on tools that made being a parent to a baby more convenient (e.g. we own a fancy diaper pail but not a self-rocking bassinet).

As a typical parent, I was surprised that this week’s unitasker selection made me roll my eyes. Most ridiculous baby things I can find a reason why someone might need them for their kid. Heck, even the self-rocking bassinet I mentioned previously I could understand buying if it was the only way to get my kid to sleep through the night. No judgments from me on that choice.

However, I do not understand why a baby could ever need his own whirlpool bubbling spa.

Not only is it an extravagance that would likely be completely lost on an infant (running water into a tub or sink would probably entertain the kid just as much), but it’s not particularly sanitary. Whirlpools have an incredibly high risk for bacteria growth, and I can’t imagine voluntarily subjecting a child to such an unnecessary risk.

Plus, you have to store this thing and power it (plug it in? put batteries in it?) somehow, which is something you don’t have to do with your kitchen sink or bathtub. It seems to me that in every scenario this device is far more hassle than it’s worth. It seems like a product a manufacturer created without any parent wanting such an item.

There is also a part of me that is convinced this is a foot spa that someone slapped a baby sticker on its side. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn a marketing person pitched the idea to increase sales: “New parents will buy anything! Like, lets call our foot spa a baby whirlpool! A baby will totally fit in there.”

Not a unitasker: The waffle maker

Back in July, the editor of Waffleizer.com messaged me and asked if I wanted an advanced copy of his new book. I responded with an enthusiastic “yes!” And then, in August, Will it Waffle? arrived.

Ever since, I’ve been trying out different recipes from Daniel Shumski’s book, and am now a devoted fan. My family loves the meals I’ve made from it, too, which says a great deal because they’re a bunch of picky eaters. The Zucchini-Parmesean Fritters are their favorite. (Its paperback list price is $14.95, but Amazon has it for less than $12 right now and the Kindle edition is less than $10.)

The premise of the cookbook is that when used only for waffles, your waffle maker is a unitasker, and people should typically avoid unitaskers. But, since a waffle maker is the only way to make fresh waffles at home, Shumski sought out ways to turn it into a multi-tasking appliance. His was a noble quest, and it’s refreshing that he succeeded. The cookbook contains more than 50 recipes to create on a waffle iron.

As you might expect, there are a handful of sandwich recipes in the book. A waffle maker and a panini press are quite similar, so this section of recipes is to be expected. (Not to say they’re boring recipes, because they are quite delicious. Family favorites are the ham and cheese melt with maple butter and the Cuban sandwich.)

What’s most impressive to me about the book are the recipes that you wouldn’t expect — for example, chicken fingers, wontons, crispy kale, tamale pie, pizza, soft cell crab, and steak. And, unlike in other preparations, most of these recipes don’t require consistent monitoring. You put the item on the waffle iron, set the timer, and simply wait until the item is done cooking. You’re free to make sauces or side dishes or set the table in the meantime.

Based on your model of waffle iron, cleanup afterward is also extremely convenient if your waffle iron has removable plates that can go in the dishwasher or a non-stick coating you can wipe down with a damp cloth and be done with it. I like easy, and all of the recipes I’ve tried and their cleanup were a breeze.

One of my favorite sections of the cookbook is about creating your own recipes for the waffle maker and, specifically, the listing of what won’t waffle. Foods requiring a lot of moisture, like rice, won’t work in a waffle maker and neither will things that have a lot of butter, like shortbread cookies. Then, obviously, foods like soup are out of the question. But, I was surprised by how much is able to be waffled and am glad Shumski provides this encouragement for creativity.

If you have a waffle maker and you’re interested in transforming it from a unitasker into a multi-tasker, check out Shumski’s book Will it Waffle? Then, start thinking about the other small appliances in your home and how you can put them to use in multiple ways.

Unitasker Wednesday: French Toast Stick Maker

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This week’s selection is a quintessential example of a unitasker. It may very well be the Platonic Form of the unitasker. When discussing unitaskers in the future, it is the French Toast Stick Maker that I shall use as my example:

This is a stand-alone, 44 sq. in. appliance whose sole purpose is to make French toast sticks. Not plain French toast, but French toast sticks. A food you can make with a multipurpose pan and a multipurpose knife with less effort than with this machine. By owning this, you would obviously sacrifice space but you also would waste time — as the plates of the French Toast Stick Maker are not removable so you have to clean them by hand (whereas you can put the pan and knife in a dishwasher).

If this were a Taylor Swift song, she would summarize by pointing out the incontrovertible Truth: unitasker gonna unitask.

Unitasker Wednesday: Roll N Pour

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

My children probably have no idea what gallon milk containers look like because I don’t buy gallon milk containers. The kids can’t lift and pour a gallon yet, so I get 1/2 gallons that the oldest one can manipulate and the younger one eventually will. When we do make the switch to gallon containers, however, I can guarantee we won’t also be purchasing the Roll N Pour:

In the words of Skippyjon Jones, “Holy frijoles!” This plastic rocking chair for your gallon milk jugs is enormous! The product description says it’s “great for kids and seniors” but I don’t understand how — there is no way my 5 year old son or my husband’s 99 year old grandfather could even get this device AND the attached gallon container out of the refrigerator. Putting it back into the refrigerator would be just as disastrous. It adds weight and girth to the milk container, making it heavier and more cumbersome. And no one with limited or developing mobility needs or wants “heavier and more cumbersome.”

Okay, I’ll admit, there is something adorable about a gallon of milk rocking away the hours in the refrigerator. I imagine it would take up knitting and ask me to keep quiet during its stories. But, for the itty bitty amount of help it might give someone with pouring, those benefits would quickly be erased by the amount of storage space you’d have to sacrifice in your refrigerator and in the process of having to carry it in and out of the refrigerator every time you wanted a drink.

If handling large gallon containers is an issue for you or your family, do what we do and simply buy smaller, easier to carry and pour containers (which you’re likely already doing). Or, buy the larger container and have or provide assistance in pouring some of its contents into a more manageable small carafe. If handling gallon containers isn’t an issue for you or anyone in your family, this device is just downright ridiculous. I think we can chalk the Roll N Pour’s unitasker status up to over-engineering that intended to be helpful, but isn’t.

Unitasker Wednesday: BootSwag

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

ARB is a chain of stores in Australia that makes accessories specifically for 4X4 trucks. As opposed to most 4X4 owners in the US, it appears 4X4 owners in Australia occasionally take theirs off road. (Who knew?!)

One of the things ARB manufactures is tents that attach to 4X4s (by extending off the truck bed or the trunk or on the roof or in some other awesome manner) and regular ground tents for hikers who drive exciting places off road. But, lo! Their tenting doesn’t stop there! They also make a special cutie patootie itty bitty tent just for your boots. The ARB BootSwag:

We really aren’t pulling your leg with this. It is a real, genuine product. According to their website, “the ARB BootSwag provides a sheltered enclosure for storage of footwear and other items.”

Now, I would assume that one’s tent or enormous 4X4 would also provide this kind of shoe storage … but, apparently not?? I’d also think a large zip-top bag could do the same thing and keep snakes and spiders (or whatever deadly critters roam the Outback) out of one’s boots (this does not, as the bottom flap doesn’t close). But, what do I know? I drive an all-wheel vehicle and the only “off roading” I’ve ever done is in a busy Target parking lot after a big snow. And the closest I’ve come to camping in the last two decades was in a cabin with central air.

Thanks to reader Richelle for introducing us to this fun unitasker.

Unitasker Wednesday: The Selfie Brush

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

If the dictionary were to have pictures instead of words providing definitions, the entries for vanity and absurdity would only need this picture:

The Selfie Brush is, exactly as its name implies, a brush for you to use when consumed with the process of taking a selfie.

Technically, it is a brush and a cell phone case and a mirror and an arm extender. Regardless of its multiple functions, however, it leaves us asking two questions that we feel make the Selfie Brush an undeniable unitasker:

  1. Why?!! WHY?!!!! WHY?!!!!!
  2. The more existential question, “Is this really how far we’ve fallen as humanity?”

Many thanks to Dave for stumbling upon this unitasker while reading an article on Engadget.

Unitasker Wednesday: Beer Foamer

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This is the first time in a long time that I have no idea why anyone — and I mean not a single human being — would need this unitasker. Usually, I can think of one person with some kind of special need, but not with this device. Absolutely no one needs this. Introducing the pointless Beer Foamer:

For starters, when you pour beer out of a tap or a bottle or a can, it foams. Heck, just the natural movement of bringing a glass, can, or bottle to your mouth to take a sip makes a beer foam. There is no need for a special tool. Foam happens.

I’m seriously bewildered by this device. The most positive thing I can think to say about this confusing device is that it looks fun to use. Whirrrrrrrrrr!

Thanks to reader Kelly for bringing this unitasker (no-tasker??) to our attention. Wow.

Unitasker Wednesday: Snack Spout

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Do you like snacks? Do you like buying snacks in really large quantities from big box stores like Costco? Then, do you feel it is too much trouble to unscrew the lids on those snacks and scoop or pour those snacks into a bowl or onto a plate? Do you love to drop your snacks onto the floor as they fall from between your fingers? Do you love to get the bacteria off your hands onto your snacks and then eat the contaminated candy? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then we have a unitasker for you! The Snack Spout:

The Snack Spout wants to make eating junk food even easier … because apparently it was too hard to eat junk food before now! For people who buy snacks in bulk, they can attach the large container to this device and then use their hands to repeatedly access the snacks. The product description claims it’s more sanitary to use your hands to get the snacks from this device, but I personally think it’s more sanitary to use a scoop and bowl when eating snacks (and hey, look at that, science agrees with me).

Sure this thing is kind of cute, but thinking about the amount of bacteria on this dispenser also makes my tummy a little queasy. Blergh.

Thanks to reader DK for helping us find this unitasker.

Unitasker Wednesday: DestapaBanana

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This is one of the more bizarre unitaskers we have encountered here at Unclutterer. Dave possibly described it best when he said, “if this isn’t a unitasker, I don’t know what is.” He was right in that this may be the most unitaskery unitasker of all time. Introducing the DestapaBanana from Argentina:

In case the images didn’t give you enough information, I’ll explain the device in a bit more detail. The DestapaBanana bores a hole through the length of your banana and then you pour a sweet filling (like caramel, chocolate, or strawberry sauce) into the reservoir. Once sauced, you can eat the banana right away or you can put it in the freezer and eat it frozen later.

For starters, this device does nothing else and won’t work with bananas that have a lot of curve to them. Additionally, I think a straw would do the same thing if you really are fond of this idea. Or, you could dip the banana in a sauce and not waste part of your banana. And, finally, let’s not forget the most obvious thing here that injecting sauce into a banana transforms it from a health food into a tube of pure sugar.

Anyone else craving a banana split now?

Unitasker Wednesday: Bottle Opener Cap Catcher

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

As longtime readers are aware, I don’t understand the desire to keep trash as a hobby — I’m referring to things like wine corks and baby teeth. I’m cool with dropping these items into a trash can or recycling bin, because that is where trash belongs. But displaying trash or hoarding it in a drawer doesn’t sit right with me. Trash, waste, rubbish is clutter.

This week’s unitasker selection falls into the trash-as-hobby category, it’s the Bottle Opener Cap Catcher:

This device removes bottle caps, and then stores them for you. Instead of removing a bottle cap and instantly putting it into the trash or recycling bin, you get to save it … for reasons I cannot not imagine.

Maybe if you are an artist and bottle caps are your medium I could understand the desire to save bottle caps. However, my guess is that the vast majority of Unclutterer readers are not artists who are paid to create sculptures from bottle caps. Just a hunch.

Per Jacki’s post about “Modified principles of sanitary design” on Monday, try to avoid buying things that create additional work and unsanitary conditions for you and your family. If your intention is to throw away the bottle caps after collecting them, don’t add the extra step of collecting them in the first place. Throw them right away. Save space in your drawers/cupboards for things that are worth taking up that space. A small bottle opener is uncluttered and doesn’t tempt you to keep trash as a hobby — this device is the opposite of those things.

To be fair, this is far from being the worst unitasker we’ve featured. However, I think it’s important to really think about the items we buy. Are we creating extra work for ourselves? Are we keeping something that really belongs in the trash? Good questions to ask about everything, even something as simple as bottle openers.

Unitasker Wednesday: The dunkr

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Back in 2011, we featured The dipr in one of our Unitasker columns. It’s a spoon made to only hold sandwich cookies when you dunk them in milk — to clarify, it’s only for cookies like Oreos and Hydroxes. It’s cute, but undoubtedly a unitasker.

Since its introduction into the sandwich-cookie-dipping market, a few problems have been discovered with the product. The most notable of these problems is that The dipr doesn’t work well with standard cups. The angle of the handle is too shallow, so the cookie rolls off The dipr when you go to dip your cookie in milk. Instead of doing the sensible thing and changing the angle of the handle to improve the product, the same company has introduced a specialty shallow cup to hold your milk! The dunkr:

Now, you can buy The dipr AND The dunkr! For $15! One cup. $15 for just one cup. Not two, not four, one. All to “fix” a bug with the original product.

Can you imagine if a car company “fixed” a failing brake problem by asking customers to buy special padding to wrap the car in instead of fixing the brakes? Or if a roofing company solved a leaking problem by telling its customers to buy buckets to catch dripping water?

This does nothing to help my faith in the manufacturing industry.

Unitasker Wednesday: The Locker Rocker

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

A long time ago, I went to high school. (True story. This awkward phase actually happened.)

Like most everyone who ever went to high school, I was issued a locker. It was a brown, metal, industrial, rectangle with a door that had been embedded in the wall of the school since before my grandmother had gone to school there. It was utilitarian and stuffed with books and notebooks and supplies and my coat and purse and about a thousand pony tail holders. It was not glamorous because it was a locker, not a night club, and I wasn’t an extra in a teen movie.

High school kids today, however, must either have enormous walk-in lockers or not need books or notebooks or supplies or a coat or purse or ponytail holders because the other day in The Container Store I saw this: A Locker Rocker.

Why?

Why would any student have need for a chandelier in his or her locker?

Are lockers really so large today that students require task lighting in these spaces?

Well, if a chandelier isn’t enough proof that lockers today must be the size of small cars, check out the locker rugs and locker wallpaper you can get to go with your chandelier. (I’m not making this up. Really, I’m not. Chandeliers and rugs and wallpaper.)

Kids must bring their contractors and interior designers with them on the first day of school.