Unitasker Wednesday: Taco Truck

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

Who among us doesn’t love a good play on words? I mean, word games are fun — especially when they go from being a cute spoken joke to being molded plastic you can buy to take up space in your kitchen! Thanks, Taco Truck, for going the distance:

Real thanks go to reader Miranda for sharing this unitasker with us.

Unitasker Wednesday: Flower Pot Bristle 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!

Each business and organization has its own culture — a mix of personalities and traditions and guidelines, which give the work environment a distinct feel. Since not all of the Unclutterer team works out of our main office, our culture is more collegial than authoritarian and we mostly communicate online. And, when I used the word collegial just then, I meant we spend a lot of time talking about kids and board games and furry friends and laundry and cool stuff we find online.

One of my favorite things about the Unclutterer team is that we all seem to have an eye for spotting unitaskers. “I have no idea what this is” is a common subject line on emails I receive. I get a few each week and I’m always giddy to open up the messages. For instance, this week’s selection was in one of these email exchanges, the Flower Pot Bristle Brush:

While people in other jobs are emailing coworkers about memos and reports, here at Unclutterer we’re discussing the difficult topics like Flower Pot Bristle Brushes. Our interactions cover vital topics as:

It’s a special brush to specifically fit inside a 5″-diameter flower pot. And, the fact that it fits inside just one size flower pot is a red flag, but in theory you could use it on larger flower pots instead of buying other brushes for your larger pots. So, it’s not the size that makes it a unitasker, though certainly something to consider.

Next, it was decided a brush to only clean flower pots isn’t what pushes it into the unitasker category, either. Although, you could easily use any other general purpose bristle brush for the same task and other tasks. You could also use a rag. General purpose bristle brushes and rags are multi-tasking wonders in comparison to a brush made just for cleaning flower pots.

Finally, what convinced us that this brush exists in the realm of unitasker-dom is the fact that its entire purpose — cleaning flower pots — is not something most people do. Flower pots, at their very core, should be dirty since they hold dirt. You buy flower pots and put dirt and plants in them and then throw out the pots when they break. If a plant that was in a flower pot dies, you remove the dead plant, add some more dirt, and put in a healthy new plant. Maybe, if the dirt was the wrong kind of dirt (say it was good for ornamental flowers but not for vegetables) you would remove one type of dirt, tap the bottom of the pot to shake out remaining dirt, and then put in a new type of dirt. In this case, you’re just doing a dirt exchange so cleaning isn’t necessary. But, as stated in the previous paragraph, if you do come up with some need to clean a flower pot like you’re worried about fertilizer contamination or something in a terra cotta pot (not an issue with plastic pots), multi-purpose rags or general purpose brushes along with a swirl of vinegar would certainly do the job and you don’t need to own a single-purpose brush for cleaning your flower pots. (But seriously, what weekend gardener cleans flower pots so often as to need such a specific brush?)

Oh how I love the conversations I get to have with the Unclutterer team. I’m so thankful this is as tough as it gets.

Unitasker Wednesday: The Single Handed Barber

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

I’ve been doing a little brainstorming and I’ve come up with a couple new taglines for this week’s featured product. My suggestions are: “when the Flowbee is too highfalutin for you” or “it’s a Roomba for your head — now with sharp blades!” Introducing The Single Handed Barber:

It’s a hair trimmer for the small portion of the population who wears a buzz cut, hates going to the barber for a $7 trim, only wants to use products that reference just one hand, and doesn’t already own a much more versatile Wahl Trimmer. Which, and I’m sure this can be backed up by science or math or that thing called statistics, is exactly four people.

A regular trimmer can be used for all different lengths of hair, your beard, your mustache, and on your dog. A regular trimmer also allows you to create multiple styles by having shorter hair on the back and sides of your head and longer hair on top. I’m going to guess that a regular trimmer will also last longer and have a better product warranty. Plus, you can use a regular trimmer with two hands if you want to and you won’t feel like you’re betraying an odd product name.

I’m so sad there isn’t an infomercial for The Single Handed Barber. I’d love to see the distress clips of men flubbing up their hair.

More Fun! Architect and industrial designer Katerina Kamprani of KK Studio in Greece has an incredibly fun gallery of totally useless items she has created called The Uncomfortable. Kamprani says she “decided to create and design for all the wrong reasons. Vindictive and nasty? Or a helpful study of everyday objects? The goal is to re-design useful objects making them uncomfortable but usable and maintain the semiotics of the original item.” Whatever the reason, the objects are quite entertaining. She even has a Facebook page you can like to keep up with her latest Uncomfortable additions.

Unitasker Wednesday: Trellie

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

Imagine for a moment you’re at a hospital cafeteria having lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in years. This friend is a doctor and currently on call. Your doctor friend sits down at the table with you and asks if she can leave her cell phone on the table, in case an emergency arises and she has to run upstairs to save a patient’s life. You say, “that’s cool,” and don’t mind at all because this friend is responsible for the survival of humans, is on call, you’re at her workplace, and your friend asked you if it was okay.

Now, imagine a second scenario where you are out at dinner with your friends. All of your friends have kids and those kids are currently being supervised by babysitters. You don’t see your friends’ phones, but you’re pretty sure they have them in their pockets with their call notifications set to vibrate. At some point, a friend excuses herself from the table to go to the restroom. You don’t know it, but her phone vibrated in her pocket and so she went to the bathroom to make sure the incoming call from the babysitter wasn’t some kind of emergency. The call wasn’t an emergency, so your friend quickly answered the babysitter’s question, washed her hands, returned to the table, and stuck her phone back in her pocket.

Okay, imagine a third situation where you are alone in your apartment and not doing anything extremely important. Your phone rings, you want to talk to the person on the other end, and you answer the call.

The above scenarios are examples of polite phone etiquette. The example of the doctor shows the rare situation where a cell phone is appropriate to leave out on a table during a meal. The second scenario shows how a phone’s vibrate function silently alerts people they are receiving a call. The third situation explains how a phone’s ringer works and what you do when you have an incoming call you want to answer.

The above scenarios also explain why no one has a need for a call notification Trellie charm for a handbag, necklace, or keychain:

Unless your phone doesn’t ring or vibrate, the Trellie doesn’t do anything your phone doesn’t already do except for deplete your battery power quickly because it operates via Bluetooth. Also, since it flashes a light when you get a call, it alerts everyone near you that you’re getting a phone call, which is just as inconsiderate as your phone ringing in a silent movie theater.

What is so difficult about setting a phone to vibrate and discretely checking it when it vibrates? Nothing is difficult about that. Nothing at all.

I remember a time before cell phones when people could go for hours without knowing if they got a non-emergency phone call — and people SURVIVED! True story.

Unitasker Wednesday: Magic Wand Remote Control

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

Abracadabra! Hocus pocus! Put on ESPN!

Because you don’t already have enough remotes to control your television, DVR, DVD player, cable box, and stereo receiver, the Magic Wand Remote Control is eager to clutter up your vast collection even more:

I have no doubts that this remote works. I have no doubts about it being fun. But I also have no doubts that it will be clutter in most every reader’s home.

It can only be programmed with 13 control codes, so it can’t act as a helpful universal remote and replace all of your other remotes. It can only replicate 13 actions of one remote (only your cable box or only your television set, not both). Also, you have to learn 13 magical wand wielding gestures to control your electronics because the wand doesn’t have any buttons — four or five gestures would be easy, but 13 seems like a hassle. If you have kids, the magic wand is likely to never be in the same room as the electronics it controls, and if you have pets, it’s likely to be a chew toy. It also requires that only people who are trained on it can be remote master, putting babysitters and house guests at a disadvantage.

Now, if this magic wand could do laundry and vacuum and load the dishwasher, I’d be its biggest fan. But, sadly, it’s just another remote requiring batteries that does something another remote you already own already does.

Unitasker Wednesday: Brainwave Emotion Controlled Cat Ears

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

Earlier this month, our very own Jacki Hollywood Brown traveled to Germany to attend a Star Trek convention. For fans of the franchise (counting the animated series, I think it’s six shows and 12 movies), a Star Trek convention is a good amount of fun. Like most conventions, there are speakers and workshops and an expo center featuring vendors selling anything even remotely Star Trek related.

Jacki and I had a few email exchanges while she was at the convention. I am also a Star Trek fan, preferring the Enterprise-based shows, and have gone to a convention or two in the US. After the general “I’m here and having fun” emails, our messages focused on a device she discovered for sale in the expo hall that we both have deemed a unitasker. The Brainwave Emotion Controlled Cat Ears:

As the name implies, this is a headband with fake cat ears on it and the ears move based on your emotions.

I have to be honest, I think they’re fun. However, beyond giving strangers a reason to talk to you, I’m not really sure what function they have. The whole mind reading thing is also creepy. If a headband is going to have a laser that is connected to your brain, I feel like it should do something beyond moving two little ears — like it should give you telekinetic powers or translate your thoughts into meows. Right? Plus, that giant battery pack on the left side and the laser on your forehead are certainly non-cat like and quite distracting. And, according to the Amazon reviews, they’re extremely delicate and the motors in the ears are quick to stop working (which is a bummer since the ears are $70).

Are they fun? Yes. A conversation starter? Yes. A unitasker? Definitely.

Unitasker Wednesday: PottyCovers

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

I have been in some disgusting public bathrooms in my lifetime. I’ve seen things I can’t unsee. I’ve smelled things I can’t unsmell. But, I’ll spare you any further details because, you know, this is a family-friendly website after all. Just believe me when I say there are some truly horrific bathrooms out in our world.

Even though I’ve been to the worst of the worst, there is still no way I would buy an enormous disposable blanket to drape over a toilet to “protect” me from germs, such as the PottyCover:

For starters, these toilet covers are a dollar a piece, which seems like a lot for something you’re going to throw away after a single use. Seeing as how large they are, though, I guess you’re getting your money’s worth for the materials?

Secondly, putting these covers on a toilet (and removing them afterward) requires extensive use of one’s hands. And, as we all know from basic biology, your hands are significantly more likely to spread and contract germs than your tushy is. Since you’re probably not going to wash your hands after installing this gigantic potty cover, you’re going to touch this cover and some toilet paper with germ-infested hands. Whereas, if you didn’t put this cover on the toilet, your hands would be more clean than if you had. (Not a lot more clean, but a little. Keep reading.)

Finally, study after study has been conducted showing that the average toilet paper dispenser has significantly more germs on it than the toilet seat. In fact, toilet seats are often the least bacteria-infested locations in a public restroom. As long as no one wiped the toilet seat down with dollar bills (one of the most bacteria-infested items you usually touch in a normal day), you’re statistically fine just sitting straight on the seat. A toilet seat is relatively germ free. I trust the MythBusters on this. (And for those of you who are squeamish about germs, know that your computer keyboard has far more bacterial colonies on it than a toilet seat. You’re welcome.)

As far as these ridiculously sized PottyCovers are concerned, it’s best to save your money and just wash your hands.

Unitasker Wednesday: Toast Tongs

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

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about posting this week’s unitasker selection. Last time I mentioned a toast-related unitasker, we got more than 80 comments defending the item. It was then I learned that Unclutterer readers are very serious about their toast.

Today’s selection is such a perfect contender for a unitasker, though, that I have decided to move forward with it. I’ll admit, if I worked in a restaurant that specialized in artisanal toast, this doodad might have a need if I didn’t want to wear sanitary gloves. But, for the daily home toaster, the Toast Tongs are overkill (well, unless you’re using a supervolcano to toast your toast):

If you are worried about your toast being a little toasty, you can let it sit in the toaster for a few seconds to cool before touching it. Five seconds is usually all it takes, though I have been known to grab toast directly from the toaster and live to tell the tale — as I’m sure we all have. Yes, the toast is warm, but it’s not so warm as to need a special device to handle it. Plus, if you wish to spread something on the toast, you’re going to have to use your hands anyway because these tongs won’t be of much use to you during that task. And, if you’re regularly having issue with large items getting stuck in your toaster, it’s time to get rid of the toaster and get a toaster oven. Toaster ovens are beautiful multi-taskers.

Back to the point: Toast Tongs are one more thing to wash, one more thing to store, one more thing to forget you own, and one more thing to eventually put into a yard sale or donate to charity.

Unitasker Wednesday: Hygienic Dishcloth Store

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 unitasker selection comes to us from Britain. Since I have never been to the Isles (only the neighboring continent), I must assume that this device exists in Britain because they do not have washing machines or microwaves. It must be a land lost in time and technological development, and therefore have need for the Hygienic Dishcloth Store:

Though, Unclutterer writer Jacki Hollywood Brown who lives in Britain swears to me they do have washing machines and microwaves. In fact, she says she tosses her dishcloths and sponges into them all the time to clean and disinfect them. She even said it takes the exact same amount of time as it does in the US! She puts a wet sponge or dishcloth in the microwave for two minutes, waits for it to cool, and then uses it to clean because it’s free of mold, mildew, and 99.9 percent of bacteria. Just like I do! There’s an ocean between us, yet we can both kill germs the same way … allegedly.

Inspecting the product description a little more closely, we were both bummed to read that the device requires a “sterilising tablet” to work. So, in addition to the £9.99 price tag for the unit, you also have the ongoing expense of buying tablets to go with it.

However, I was quite intrigued to learn the Hygienic Dishcloth Store is freezer safe. Why? Why does it need to be freezer safe? What is it about Britain that a dishcloth sanitizing unit should be freezable? In this case, being a Canadian by birth, Jacki was not British enough to know what that reason might be. We may never know …

Unitasker Wednesday: Yolkfish

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 one of those adorable little kitchen items that seems benign until you realize it’s completely pointless. Introducing Yolkfish:

This $17 unitasker even has an infomercial, but sadly it lacks the person who doesn’t know how to do the task without the device (which is by far the best part of any good infomercial).

If you didn’t watch the infomercial, Yolkfish works by separating egg yolks from egg whites by squeezing the fish’s belly and sucking up the yolk into it. Cute, except you can use the egg shell, that thing the egg comes in, to separate out the yolks. If you don’t want to use the shell, any plastic bottle in your recycling bin will pull out the yolk or even a turkey baster (make that turkey baster a multitasker!). You can also use your hands! (And then, wash your hands, obviously.)

I always do a check before choosing a unitasker to make sure we haven’t featured it or something very much like it before, and I was a little surprised to see how many egg unitaskers we have written about over the years. Apparently, the simple egg is inspiration for a ridiculous number of them: the Vacu Vin Egg Pillow, the Egg Minder Internet Connected Egg Tray, the plastic Egg and Spoon Race Game, Piercy the Egg Piercer, the Rollie Eggmaster, the Egg Cuber, Eggies, then there are at least five more egg unitaskers I’m not listing because this list is getting insanely long, and finally the one with the best infomercial ever, the EZ Cracker.

Thanks go to the dozen folks who emailed us about Yolkfish. He’s a cute little unitasker … even if he is unnecessary …

Unitasker Wednesday: USB Foot Warmer Slippers

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

Today’s unitasker selection fits nicely into the “this is an incredibly bad idea” category. At first glance, it might not seem that awful. They’re just an innocent pair of fluffy looking USB Foot Warmer Slippers:

Kissing piggies!

Then, you realize having something on your feet that is attached to your computer is a horrid idea. It’s one thing to absentmindedly walk away from your computer and have earphones yanked out of your ears. It’s a completely different situation when you walk off wearing a pair of slippers attached to your computer. I give your machine about a week before you destroy it. Okay, two days.

Plus, let’s all agree the USB ports on your computer should be used for productive devices like monitors and scanners and back-up hard drives. Let’s leave warming up our feet to socks and non-USB-powered slippers or those heat-pack things.

Unitasker Wednesday: Twinkie 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!

The first weekend of May each year is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in Howard County, Maryland. For those of you who have not attended (probably most of you), it is similar to a state or county fair but with no cows, no pigs, and nothing carved out of butter. Almost all of the vendors are selling yarn, raw wool, farm supplies for caring for your flock of sheep, or food made out of lamb (which, is a little disturbing at first, but you get over it because lamb sausage tastes amazing). There are also 4-H style competitions regarding sheep breeding and herding and it is a wonderfully good time, seriously.

I have been to the Sheep and Wool Festival numerous times over the years and, although I claim my favorite part of my day is looking at some of the most beautiful yarns made in the US, it really isn’t my favorite part. Here’s a secret: my favorite thing about the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is eating a deep fat fried Twinkie.

I do not, as a general principle, eat Twinkies. They terrify me. I watched the time lapse video of a Twinkie never rotting and that sort of put an end to my desire to ever consume them or feed them to my kids. I like to eat food that eventually can go bad. Except, once a year, the siren call of the fried Twinkie beckons me — a Twinkie on a stick, dipped in sweet batter, deep fried, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. I don’t know how, but it is truly delicious.

This week, an Unclutterer staff writer emailed me a picture of the Twinkie Maker and my temptation went into overdrive. I could MAKE MY OWN TWINKIES!

My homemade Twinkies wouldn’t have any preservatives and they could actually rot! I could make deep fried Twinkies at home whenever I wanted! I could …

And that is when the answer struck me.

The reason deep fried Twinkies taste so good is because of all the fat and preservatives and things that make it so horrible for me. A “healthy Twinkie” is not a Twinkie at all. It’s a thing wanting to be an actual Twinkie, a sub-par pathetic replica. It’s like tofu pretending to be meat or flax pretending to be an egg. The only way to enjoy a deep fried Twinkie is at the Festival, once a year, among beautiful yarn and barking border collies.

Alas, the Twinkie Maker is nothing but a unitasker in sheep’s clothing.