It’s a fair assumption to say that the world is gadget and gimmick crazy. Not content with the latest laptop, SmartPhone or Gameboy, we seem to be on a constant quest to seek out and purchase the next big thing, the latest model, the most up-to-date version. But the goalposts are always changing and the manufacturers make it practically impossible for us all to keep up.
There are some products, however, which are so classic and old school that they’ll never need a modern makeover or contemporary twist. So brilliant in their design and practicality that they’ll never need a reboot or upgrade. Their genius is in their simplicity.
So forget about your apps. Don’t worry about the latest features. Put your iPhone snugly in your pocket.
Consider this a paean to the glories of those shopping channels filling digital air space and entertaining the bored, unemployed masses up and down the country.
As the saying goes, “All is vanity”, and never in the history of human inventions has this been encapsulated more than in the concept of spray-on hair. Just the idea that you can cover up our bald spot with a few squirts of something akin to thick soot is preposterous anyway, but the fact it sells in the millions across the globe casts doubt on the general assertion that very often men look better with very little or no hair.
Clearly the men who spend their mornings diligently applying a can full of hair building fibres to give their thinning, balding heads a fuller, thicker appearance don’t think so.
The problem is that some men just don’t know when to stop. I’ve stood in queues behind men who are clearly as bald as a coot but have applied a layer or two of this stuff as judiciously as they would a few coats of Dulux. And it shows. Embarrassingly so.
Still, baldness – like the inevitabilities of wrinkles and old age – will always be with us, so there will always be people looking for a miracle, but ultimately self-deluding, cure.
The Blade/Ginsu Knives
I remember watching this one of the shopping channels and being gobsmackingly impressed by the Blade’s bold and audacious claim it could “cut through a tin can as easily as a tomato.”
Never in a million years, I chortled. Impossible, I guffawed. And then the chef on the television only went and did it. Right in front of my young, unbelieving eyes. It’s safe to say I was never the same person again.
But then – in an almost lightbulb, epiphanous moment – I thought: Why would anyone want to cut through a tin can with a sharp knife anyway? And then the illusion was lost and a world of hope, optimism and opportunity came crashing in around my easily-influenced ears.
But it’s an invention that has stuck with me to this day (and, if I’m honest, still impresses me). OK, it’s only a knife, but it’s a very, very sharp knife. It’s like the manufacturers have reinvented the wheel, but better. It’s a knife that can cut through frozen food like butter. And how can anyone in their right minds argue with that?
If you ever in any doubt or existential quandary over the infinite possibilities of the household chamois, then five minutes in the company of this chap will quash any uncertainties you may have had. No streaking, smearing or smudging. Won’t drip or dribble like sponges. Lasts three to four years. And it will banish the need for endless rolls of kitchen towel and the inconvenience of picking mashed-up balls of still-soggy paper out your carpet three weeks later.
There was a time when people couldn’t get enough of these products and POS systems up and down the country were vibrating with activity, and there is still a certain (if sometimes laughable) charm in their old school simplicity.
Can you think of any other shopping channel classics?
- License: Creative Commons image source
James Duval is an IT specialist who is addicted to his Xbox. He is also just as addicted to the enticing treasure trove of products available on shopping channels and has been known to spend far too much on his credit card for things he doesn’t need. Here he blogs for K3 Retail.