Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How often would you use this?

The Banana Containter - With a Fork!
First of all, this has nothing to do with living in Mexico. It’s just something fun to write about! One little form of pointless entertainment I have is to look through those catalogues that people circulate from family to family, or are tucked into the pocket in the seats in airplanes (the place where I first discovered this game) to find, what seems to me, the most absurd item for sale.

Yesterday a neighbor gave my wife this catalogue (they seemed to be passed around among women, I have no theory to explain why; there are as many men who buy nicknacks like these as women.) After my wife excitedly drew my attention to an object that I found perfectly useless, I started with my little game of finding the most fun and pointless object, and I found this banana container. There was one other object which came close in pointlessness (a pair of padded tweezers used to clean glasses – those special cloths from the optometrist do just fine, there’s no need for a special invention) but lacked the “fun” aspect of the banana container. If you use tweezers like that, and you actually find them to work better, let me known; I’ll take back my words.

Let me explain the theory; a normal and very useful part of the development of civilization is that specialized tools are created to make jobs easier. Hence, using kitchens as an example, we have waffle irons, coffee makers and potato peelers, in addition to the frying pans, stove top pots and knives, each of which could be used satisfactorily in the case that we didn’t have the other gadgets. But all so far are useful, if you consume waffles, coffee and potatoes frequently enough.

Likewise, instead of just bags and generic containers, someone managed to invent a half-sphere, round bottomed container in which a cut tomato or onion could be stored in, air tight, with a minimal amount of air around it, preventing the cut edge from turning brown or slimy, as they tend to do if left open in the fridge. They also keep the smell of onions from filling the fridge. So far, we are still within the realm of usefulness, for anyone who keeps tomatoes and onions in their fridge every week.

However, somewhere in the world, there seems to be extra money floating around that the rest of us don’t know about; someone is getting paid to take these ideas and extend them to such a specific use that they can’t possibly used for anything else, like this banana container.  They get put into these catalogues.

By the time you get to something this specific, you can no longer justify it by how often you eat bananas. I eat at least two bananas every day, as do my wife and son (along with bread, it’s probably the single food item we eat the most of,) and I would not be able to justify buying this thing on any rational grounds. We also send bananas to school with our son, but instead of fretting about squashing the banana, or wishing we had a banana shaped container, we take 30 seconds to cut them up and put them in a small, round air-tight Tupperware container (which one of my aunts very kindly gave as a gift to my son – thank you if you read this!) We also add granola and yogurt. The banana doesn’t go funny or get brown.

Besides this, did you notice the little fork that clips into top of the lid?  Who eats a banana with a fork? Please tell me if you do, and I will buy you one of these containers.

Now, just to let you know, I would possibly buy this container, just because it crosses the line so far, that it’s fun. So, if you ever invite me to your birthday or wedding, and I don’t know what to get you, you might end up with one of these banana containers. (Only if my wife doesn’t know you; she wouldn’t let me do this to anyone she knows.) If you would like one of these, let me know, and let my wife know so she knows it’s a serious gift.

I estimate that 55% of the objects in these catalogues have only one use, and cannot possibly used for anything else. I assume this is how the catelogue gets most of its sales – no matter how many of their nicknacks you buy, you always need another one. Of those 55%, about half of them are funny, like the banana.

Of the other 45% which have more than one use, I can see the point of about half of them, and there are about 2 things I would actually buy when they fit into my budget. The only problem is I can’t remember what they were.

This is all just my opinion; I know a bunch of people who would love many of the nicknacks in this kind of catalogue – even the ones I consider pointless. That’s not such a bad thing; it makes it easier to buy birthday presents for those people.

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