Unitasker Wednesday: Pickle picker and unitaskers explained

We realized last week that we haven’t ever explained the Unitasker feature on our site. So, before we delve into the goodness that is this week’s item, we wanted to take a few seconds and talk about it.

At their most basic elements, all Unitasker posts are intended to be funny. We joke about single-use items to remind us that organizing doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s good to pause and remember that what we discuss on the site isn’t brain surgery or rocket science.

Often times, the things we mention are things that are in our homes. I have an ice cream maker, a juicer, and a few other items that have been discussed. Matt has the snowball maker. We were both oddly tempted by the martini shaker!

When we mention an item as a Unitasker, we do it knowing that someone out there probably finds some use for the item (well, except for the kitty wigs … we’re still completely baffled by those). For most people, though, the items we name wouldn’t be anything but clutter in their homes. It’s totally fine if you choose to own a Unitasker. There aren’t any Unclutterer Police coming to take it away from you or judge you over it. We’re just talking about stuff, things, objects — not people or their choices. We love our readers and hope to entertain you with the Unitaskers. And, we love it when our readers send us ideas. Some of our best items have come from you! — Erin

So, without further ado, we bring you this week’s installment of Unitasker Wednesday:

Pickle PickerPickles can be tough to round up out of a jar. There is no need to use a fork or your fingers when you can buy a utensil specifically designed for the task of picking up a pickle! The Pickle Picker is just what any pickle lover would want:

Forget squeezing your fingers into a jar trying to grasp a pickle to no avail. This nifty pickle picker does the work for you. Simple and easy to use, the picker is great for any jarred item that is difficult to grab. Just push down on the plunger, grab the item out of the jar and release.

Did I mention it can also pick up banana peppers and be used to annoyingly poke your little brother? (Maybe it’s not a unitasker after all?!) Regardless, if something is in a jar and you don’t want to waste a perfectly clean fork or your fingers on such a task, then this is the tool that can get the job done.

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

37 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Pickle picker and unitaskers explained”

  1. posted by Dee on

    I’m thinking that it could be used for smores also – my favorite guilty pleasure. ..

  2. posted by Richard Hare on

    How odd they’ve got the usage description wrong. You spear the pickle, transfer the fork to over your plate, then press the plunger to eject it!

    My parents have had one since before I was born, which initially made we want to defend it. I haven’t lived with them for a number of years though and have yet to miss it, since I don’t share their enthusiasm for pickled onions…

  3. posted by Daniel on

    Sheesh, it’s like you expect the humans who read this blog to have a sense of humor! What more do you demand of us??

    I love unitasker Wednesday.

  4. posted by Steph on

    I just finished reading an entire article about kitchen-related unitaskers (although they’re described more as “clever kitchen gadgets!”): http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=731751

    There’s a slightly different kind of pickle fork mentioned – you can attach it to the jar with a plastic band. How convenient!

  5. posted by Stephanie on

    haha we had one of those (I think we got it for 10 cents or something) so not a big deal.
    we used to call it “the pickle shnickler”
    don’t ask me why…

  6. posted by Melissa on

    I’m sorry, but I am all about budgeting and saving cash, so uhhhh, why not use a fork???

    Just stick a fork into the jar, pull out a pickle , and WAHLAH.

    I will say that the Unitasker post idea is fun, but this particular item is really not necessary.

  7. posted by Elsa on

    With little kids at home, and it being the buggery cold season, and being the resourceful mother that I am, I see a second use for this gadget. Where can I get one?

  8. posted by Diane Nielson on

    @Melissa The fewer pckles in the jar, the more they float. Then it’s hard to grab the little buggers! This sure made me laugh. We, all, succumb to those “just gotta have” items.

  9. posted by Nancy on

    I had one of these and it was no better than a fork. I purchased it along with other unitaskers at an inventory clearance event at a kitchen gadget distributor. The items were all 10 to 50 cents so it was no big deal to buy a bunch of stuff just to try them out. There is something similar to this that IS useful: a cherry picker. You push the end of the tube and out comes four wire prongs in a claw shape. You use the prongs to surround a cherry in a jar which, since they float, are hard to stab and pull out. You also are able to pick the cherry out of the jar without bringing along the juice, which is what happens if you use a spoon. The size, equal to that of a drinking straw, justifies its unitasker existence.

    The pickle thing though, in my opinion, has no redeeming qualities because it doesn’t provide any service that a fork couldn’t provide.

    BTW, I love Unitasker Wednesday!

  10. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Melissa — No unitasker is necessary, that’s why we’re making fun of them. We don’t want you to buy them, we want you to laugh. πŸ™‚

  11. posted by Sara on

    I had been looking for something of this nature for so long. I finally stumbled upon one at a county fair. It is similar to the one shown except that you press in the top and 4 tines extend from the bottom to grab the pickle. It is extremely useful for containers with those small dill pickles floating in the top.

    You can keep it in the pickle jar and it takes up no extra space.

    A fantastic item that I am so glad I own and use all the time. πŸ™‚

  12. posted by Carl Cravens on

    I think Unitaskers are only silly when they do some specialized task that is easily performed with some other tool, or when the task is essentially unnecessary.

    The biggest problem with unitaskers, I think, is that people buy some nifty gadget thinking, “This is cool, I’m going to use this all the time!” and then it sits on a shelf or in a drawer, used once.

    Ice cream makers… totally useless to someone who doesn’t make ice cream, but has a churn sitting in the basement collecting dust. Rather essential to someone who makes ice cream at home… it’s difficult to make ice cream without a specialized tool. Whether making your own ice cream is “unnecessary” or not is personal preference.

    But it’s a good example… “I’m going to make lots of my own ice cream!” Make ice cream once a month and it’s a great device… let it sit for a year without making ice cream and it’s clutter.

    I like Unitasker Wednesday. And I don’t get offended when the Unitasker is something I own… sometimes I can say, “But I use that, it’s useful.” And sometimes I say, “Hey, I never use that, I ought to sell it on eBay.”

    Even when it was my beloved ice cream maker. πŸ™‚

  13. posted by Katie on

    “Forget squeezing your fingers into a jar trying to grasp a pickle to no avail.”

    Does anyone really have this much trouble trying to get pickles out of a jar??

    It seems like you either can’t get pickles out of a jar, or you can. I can’t imagine that someone had to try and fail for an extended amount of time before they figured out that it was all “to no avail”!

  14. posted by Saria on

    For some reason, we had several of this kind around when I was a kid: http://www.kitchendance.com/picklepicker.html
    I think they must have been given out as a promotional item or something, but they were really more trouble than they were worth.

  15. posted by Simple Zack on

    Just use a fork.

  16. posted by amy on

    we have one… they are quite satisfying to use when you ‘spear’ a pickled walnut…

    just a shame I can’t stand pickles πŸ™‚

    How’s this for a unitasker… I bought my parents Asparagrass Tongs / Eaters for christmas, silver plated from about 1900 – they love them >shrug and grin<


  17. posted by Meg from All About Appearances on

    I think I have the kind like Sara has. Those things are actually pretty cool. They’re great for picking up slices that are usually a pain in the butt to grab with a fork. Plus, I use them for olives, which are even harder to grab without breaking.

  18. posted by Spencer on

    @Sara — The kind you describe is much more practical than the fork kind illustrated here. The only “advantages” this one has over a fork are that it is skinnier (more likely to spear a single pickle) and that it has a pusher to remove the pickle from the fork.

    But the “grabber” kind works well when the pickles are “floaters” because you don’t have to chase the pickle to the bottom of the jar before you can spear it. Here’s one for only $2:

    We’ve had at least 2 of these. One of them worked well until it broke; the second didn’t work worth a darn (I’m not sure why, but for $2, can’t complain too hard. πŸ™‚

  19. posted by Liz on

    About kitty wigs and such–Target used to carry an extensive line of clothes for dogs (or the willing cat)…really elaborate stuff. When I was back home in Missouri visiting, all of that stuff was 75% off, and then it disappeared. But here in NY it continues to sell for full price. Which suggests to me (in the spirit of Unitasking) that some things are just too silly for some parts of the country and fine in others.

  20. posted by Sara on

    @Spencer — That’s the same one πŸ™‚ And I paid a whole $3 at the fair for it!

  21. posted by Dr. Nicole Sundene on

    So I’m not supposed to stick my hand in the pickle jar anymore?

    So much for survival of the fittest!

    Hilarious blog title btw…I just read an article on how you should choose your blog titles according to how you want SEO to pick up your article…I would love to see what Google plans to do with that!!

  22. posted by Mikey on

    I inherited one, but I have to say, it’s really handy when I need to pull the cat toy out from between the refrigerator and the cupboard. Which I have to do daily….

  23. posted by David on

    @Nancy — cherries in a jar? Ugh.

  24. posted by Daniel on

    At least three commenters above have mentioned how their pickle-picker didn’t cost much, therefore the fact that they bought and own one is “no big deal.”

    It was cheap? So what! Since when does cheapness validate clutter? In my part of the U.S. a lot of people stuff their houses (every flat surface and wall-mounted shelf) with “decorations” or knickknacks. None of them is worth a close look or very pleasant to look at for very long, and the overall experience is one of decorative clutter. BUT, they came from the Dollar Tree, so it’s all good! Sure, you could have a single fantastic painting on the wall which would be so much simpler and more beautiful, but that would be expensive!

    I don’t get this aspect of our culture which fuels the Wal-Marts and Dollar Stores. Just because something is cheap does not mean it is worth having. In fact, the opposite is often true–cheap stuff is often cheap stuff.

    So your pickle-picker only cost ten cents? Still a total waste of space and money. In other words, still a prime example of clutter.

  25. posted by Hector on

    I had one of these from my grandparents and I always thought it was made to pick french bread slices without touching them (for classy dinners).

    Maybe no longer a unitasker?

  26. posted by Larry on

    Cookbook author and FoodTV program host Alton Brown (“Good Eats”) maintains that the fire extinguisher is the only Unitasker permitted in his kitchen. Everything else must be multi-function.

    One of the most egregious Unitaskers is the bread machine. How many people have one in a cabinet somewhere that they never haul out? I found one from Salton that is a bread machine, toaster-over, and broiler. We use it all the time, and even make bread periodically! πŸ™‚

    Peace. – Larry

  27. posted by Brian on

    My all-time favorite is the electric martini shaker! You guys do a great job. But I’m puzzled by the beginning of the post where you say you never explained Unitasker Wednesdays. I thought each post had a little explanation at the end: “Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.” Are there people who don’t see that, or just don’t get it?

  28. posted by supersocco on

    I am always amazed at how many people think these ‘unitaskers’ are actually worthy of getting. There are a lot of clutter addicts in here. πŸ˜‰

  29. posted by vladimir cole on

    I think it *is* worth making fun of the people who own or buy unitask objects. They’re cluttering by owning these objects, and they’re hurting their financial picture.

    A point I make over and over and over in my blog is that every single object you own needs to be thought of in terms of “total cost of ownership” or TCO.

    TCO is comprised of:

    1. cost to acquire
    2. cost to maintain (running it through the dishwasher, dusting it, oiling it, repairing it, replacing it, whatever)
    3. cost to store.

    It’s this third item that people rarely think about. Take a pickle picker-upper. How many items like it clutter a drawer? How many drawers do you have in your kitchen now? How many would you need with a decluttered lifestyle? Even the smallest object requires storage space, and every square inch of storage space can be costed out like so:

    1. cost for the storage (cabinetry, fancy closet hardware, whatever)
    2. cost for the property in which your storage sits

    Whether you rent or own, you can determine a cost per square foot. If your monthly mortgage is $3000 for 1000 SF, then that’s $3 per SF per month for the duration of the mortage. Is an object that takes up a square foot really worth $3 x 12 ($48) per year, just to store? Is that CD collection worth not just what you paid for it AND the cost to store it? Only 31 standard CDs fit within a square foot. A CD collection of 200 discs costs $232 per year to store at a monthly mortgage rate of $3,000. Is it worth it?

    Pickle picker upper (and the folks who buy them) be damned.

  30. posted by Rick on

    this site is called unclutterer, right? Chopsticks. Free.

  31. posted by Gayle on

    I GET the unitaskers. I just don’t think they’re funny. I think they’re sarcastic and snarky and try too hard, and once a week I get a nasty icky feeling from your blog. It takes the rest of the week of great posts to get over it, and then it’s Wednesday again.

    Sorry! Just my opinion.

  32. posted by Meg on

    I always giggle at Unitasker Wednesdays. Some of them are superb(the pancake puff with infomercial was hilarious!). I am, for the most part, anti-unitasker but I know a few have found their way here. When unpacking the good silver for Easter I discovered I had an antique silver pickle fork πŸ™‚

  33. posted by lana on

    Daniel said, “It was cheap? So what! Since when does cheapness validate clutter?”

    Your post came out sounding kind of snobby, but I must admit, I agree with you for the most part. I’d rather look at an empty table than one crammed full of knick-knacks and tchotchkes.

    Still, I do leave a little space in my life for what you call “cheap clutter” and what I call “gifts from someone who cares about me but is on a limited budget.” I usually keep these doodads in a box in the garage and whip them out right before the offending party visits. πŸ™‚ It’s a small price to pay, I think; especially if the gift is from a child or an older relative on a fixed income.

  34. posted by Netleigh on

    I blame this gadget for starting my childhood liking for pickles,I loved to use it. I still love pickled onions but the gadget was Mums and eventually broke

  35. posted by Melissa on

    haha, okay, I understand now. It’s just for fun.

  36. posted by Marla Saunders on

    I think the unclutterer police won’t come, but perhaps the uniclutterer police will?

    I LOVE your blog and unitasker Wednesdays in particular. I must confess that the laughter often propels me into adding another item for the next garage sale! Thanks.

  37. posted by Kathy Mead on

    I don’t think it will be useful in my life~~

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