In an age when we're supposed to be environmentally aware and try to conserve the planet's resources, in theory we should all have become more discerning consumers. We should routinely question if we really need something, whether it's crucial to our wellbeing and whether it's likely to withstand the test of time before handing over our EFTPOS card and taking some object home.
Despite this, there's clearly a market for thoroughly gratuitous objects - that is, objects in possession of neither beauty nor a bona fide use. In short: some people persist in cluttering up their homes with junk. I first examined this phenomenon in the peculiarly labelled We're going bananas, or we're out of our trees.
In this opinion piece I derided some household objects on the basis of their sheer purposelessness, for taking up valuable space and even for creating more problems than they purported to solve.
These items included: anti-drip wine bottle fittings (something else to store, fit and clean in order to solve an imaginary problem), paper-towel dispensers (rolls of paper towels are not aesthetically pleasing enough to be proudly displayed on the wall), spoon-rests (please see comment about anti-drip wine bottle fittings), element covers (why?) - and "banana trees" for hanging bananas (no explanation required).
But you can't simply blame the manufacturers and retailers for peddling these ridiculous inventions. If people didn't buy such objects then they wouldn't be on the market for years on end. Some consumers are clearly quite happy to own items which are neither necessary nor useful. Perhaps they're drawn to some novelty value that thankfully eludes the rest of us.
The most useless inventions ever (unless you fancy a motorised ice-cream cone or an ear-dryer) catalogues a fresh range of dubious items including the pizza fork, pet massager, fish training kit, glove-and-boot dryer - and the Slanket (a fleece blanket with arms).
Huffington Post's Top 10 Most Useless Items of Crapola reveals the battery-powered spinning bottle, fuzzy toilet-seat cover, mechanised egg cracker, baby-wipes warmers, melon wedger and leaf blower. (Actually, the leaf blower is a major gripe of mine. I've witnessed people chasing a mere handful of leaves down a driveway with a machine that sounds like a jet-ski on steroids. I could have dealt with that rogue foliage in 30-seconds with an old-fashioned broom - and I wouldn't have disturbed the entire neighbourhood in the process.)
For perhaps the most compelling evidence of humankind's unending capacity for inventing objects entirely without merit, please see 25 Most Useless Inventions Ever where you will be introduced to the dubious delights of the control-alt-delete wand, lipstick assistant, two-person sweatshirt, noodle fan and snowball maker.
Check out, too, the baby mop which enables a baby to mop the floor as he or she crawls along. The multitasking baby mop is so bad it's almost good. I can't decide if every home should have one or no home should be allowed one. Ever.
What's the most useless object you've ever encountered? Who buys such ridiculous items? Do you possess a pointless object that you secretly treasure? What do you think of the baby mop?