Just What We Needed Department: 6 Weird and Useless Items to Leave Off Your 2011 Holiday Gift List
Sky Mall/Screen capture
We're all for inventions. But sometimes product designers end up delivering things that are just plain weird, useless, and wasteful.
Don't fall for the temptation to buy one of these six items -- a pet bedwarmer, an egg pillow, and more -- for the hard-to-buy-for members of your family this holiday season.
1. Pet Bed WarmerYou can get a lot of wacky stuff at the Sky Mall -- some useful, some not so useful -- but one of the wildest offerings from their pet section this season is the $50 universal pet bed warmer. (Note that "universal" pitch, what does that mean? It works for your dog, cat, and tiger?)
Slide this warmer underneath the cushion of your spoiled pooch's current bed for a winter full of cozy nights. Sure, it claims to only use as much energy as a nightlight, but we've never yet known a dog or cat who was too picky to sleep in non-warmed bed (even if they do prefer to be in your bed).
2. Beer Tubes Sports Tabletop Beverage DispenserBrookstone/Screen capture
For the drunk college kid on your list: The $130 Beer Tube holds 100 ounces of beer (or other drink) in a "BPA-Free Eastman Tritan co-polyester dispenser that keeps beverages cold longer with no additional chilling accessories required."
But here's the part that has us confused: If you're buying bottled beer, then you have to pour it into the dispenser (which seems a tad less convenient than just handing out bottles or cans to your guest) -- and if you have a keg, then you're just filling up the smaller dispenser from the larger, which is one step more than just filling your up.
Beer Tubes fans: What are we missing?
3. Battery-Powered Cheese Grater
Hammacher Schlemmer/Screen capture
We know that preparing a meal from scratch every night can be exhausting -- especially after a long day of work when all you want to do is unwind over a bowl of rich pasta.
And now there's good news for those of us too tired to even attempt to shred Parmesan: This $60 battery-powered cheese grater does the hard work for you.
The grater comes with three different blades for different-sized shreds, and "operates for up to 25 minutes after a four-hour charge from the AC adapter."
4. Mini Makers
What is up with this 'mini' trend? Tiny foods certainly have their appeal -- they trick your mind into feeling less guilty even as you eat three times as many -- but you really do not need to fill up your kitchen with one-job-only appliances, like this $25 mini cupcake maker.
A mini cupcake tin will give you the same end result, will make more than seven cupcakes at a time, and won't take up nearly as much room in your cabinet. The same goes for machines that make cake pops and donut holes, mini donuts, mini burgers, meatballs, individual brownies, pigs in a blanket, and so on.
5. Egg Pillows
Of course your breakfast egg needs a pillow to rest its weary head. These $13 Vacu Vin egg pillows may have that cute-factor, but what exactly do they do? The Amazon description boasts the following: "Bright, cheerful addition to any table; Keeps eggs from rolling around or off the table; Eggs sit comfortably; Washing machine safe."
Eggs rolling off the table? Is this a common problem? Please let us know in the comments.
And we're not the only ones befuddled by these neon-colored pillows: At Unclutterer, Erin is asking the same questions: "Are they bean bags? Air-filled cushions? Is the egg sleeping, is that why it needs a pillow? Do eggs sleep? Do eggs have to “rest” after you cook them? Do you cook with these pillows? Do you put raw eggs or hard boiled eggs on them? Are they heat resistant? Do you use them in your refrigerator? Do you need a dozen? Why would someone need these? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!"
We're with you Erin.
6. Cirrus Ice Ball Press
Cirrus Ice Ball Press/Screen capture
For those who have always wanted a nice round baseball-sized ice cube, we present the Cirrus Ice Ball Press -- also an Unclutterer Unitasker. It's just what it sounds like: A press that makes spherical ice balls.
And it's not entirely ridiculous, because the ball melts more slowly than cubes, so your drink won't get watered down as quickly. The press forms the ball from a block of ice in about a minute.
But really, even with staggeringly expensive liquor, isn't your freezer already full of perfectly good ice that did not require an $800 press?
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