WalletPop has a list of 20 worthless pieces of junk - some I agree with and other I don't so much.

1. Happy Meal Toys - As a collector of stuff, the cousin to junk, I can see the coolness to collecting, unopened children toys from fast food places. However, they aren't made for long lasting playtime and most kids have more than enough toys to play with. I consider this a grey area.

2. Wipe Warmers - I had to look this up and I would consider this worthless as well, thanks to the convenience of nuking a wet handcloth to the proper warmth, I don't see the need nor the expenditure of the electricity to keep it warm.

3. Radar Detectors - I never understood these because anytime I was in a car that had one I would hear it go off and the driver would say something like, "oh that goes off around automatic doors as well." All that beeping would drive me nuts and if I drive the speed limit, no need to get it - if I don't, I deserve the ticket.

4. Ab Rollers - Frankly, I would put 99% of the exercise equipment sold on tv in that category. As an alternative to an ab roller, I have found that an exercise ball will do fine for sit-ups with back problems and sliding two books on the carpet(one under each hand) works great for the other ab roller type.

5. Single-Slot Piggy Banks - I like piggy banks, though I don't have one now that I use (I use a glass jar) I like the whole classic idea: Keeping money in one place, not being able to see how much you have saved so far, having the joy of cracking it open when it is full. Pigs get enough of a bad name, let's not take the money away from them too.

6. Iconic Breeze - Air filters can serve a purpose if taken care of. People with allergies swear by air filters, there is even one in the cash office I work in to cut down on the money dirt. But if the filter isn't changed out, it's worthless. If regular cleaning in the room isn't done as well, it's worthless. Again, another grey area.

7. VCRPlus Gizmos - I don't see the benefit of this at all. To me it's like saying you have the coolest double 8-track player. Anything with the word V-C-R in it is a waste in my eyes.

8. Ice Cream Makers - I was reading about this cool way you can make ice cream in a bag. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks inviting; plus I don't have to lug around a 20# ice cream maker and set aside the time.

9. Home Theater Sound Systems - If I never went out to a theater this would be worth the cost, not the cost of a $5 thousand one but a decent one under $500 would be nice for watching an action movie.

10. Books in a Kindle World - I made the mistake of showing this to my partner, now she wants one to open up more space on her bookshelf for older books that wouldn't be on Kindle. I prefer the book version still, picked up from the library as I don't collect books all that much; currently I have under 10 books on my shelf. Another grey area for this one.

11. Ear Candles - I had to look this one up as well. I would agree, a waste of money.

12. Bargain DVDs - The only benefit I see to bargain cds and dvds is if you have to own the movie so that you can watch it over and over and over again, in which case buying bargain prices is best. Again, my partner likes this option of building a collection, but I don't. I watch movies at most 2-3 times and that includes catching it for free on tv or checking it out from the library.

13. Trade Show Swag - I don't remember the last trade show I was at and what I do remember is that the magnets got tossed in the trash, the pens were used until they broke or got lost and the pads of paper were the only items that lasted the longest. Trades show are for the information not the swag in my opinion.

14. Giveaway Thumb Drives - I used to love getting these in the mail for free, but I have way to many and no way of knowing what is on each one until I plug it in because they are so small. I need a 256GB thumbdrive for keeping track of everything.

15. Tie Racks - I still think people wear ties so a tie rack is nice to have in the closet, though some guys I work with just fold them up in the back of their sock drawer. This one would be a personal preference, similar to a shoe rack or whether to hang jeans or fold in a drawer.

16. Hobby Kits - Walletpop wasn't to thrilled with these and I can see why, if Dad doesn't have time to put together the model jets, they aren't very useful to him. In this case it would be a 'buyer beware' type of thing as it could be a waste of money.

17. Irons - The iron is still in use in this house, with 100% cotton clothes a good swipe with the iron does wonders for ones look. I don't see this as a waste of money at all until they come up with clothes that never wrinkle.

18. Polaroid Cameras - In a world where we like everything instantly I would think that these would stick around. Alas, they are going the way of black and white photos and are more a view of a person's artistic expression.

19. Shoe Inserts - I know I need new shoes, but I would rather get the last bit of life out of them with shoe inserts. Probably not the best for my feet and a waste of money if I buy enough of them.

20. Rice Cookers - Rice is cooked in a container with water in the microwave and it tastes just fine for me. Because I have an alternate way to cook rice, I see the cooker as waste of money. Chefs or foodies may think otherwise.

So for anyone keeping count:
5 are not a waste of money
9 are a waste of money
6 are in a grey area

Not a waste - Single-Slot piggy banks, Home theater system, Bargain Dvd and Cds, Shoe inserts, Irons

Waste - Wipe warmers, Radar detectors, Ab rollers, VCRPlus Gizmos, Ice cream makers, Ear candles, Trade show swag, Thumb drives, rice cookers

Grey area- Happy meal toys, iconic breeze (air filters), Kindle, Tie Racks, Hobby kits, Polaroid cameras

What are your ideas on this 20 items - agree or disagree? If you feel I am wrong on an item, tell me your thoughts; I'm open to new ideas.


  1. Anonymous // Wednesday, July 22, 2009 9:27:00 AM  

    If you have a decent stove, the rice cooker can be a waste of money. However, for those of us in tiny apartments with unreliable stove-tops that change temperature at their whim, the rice cooker is a life-saver reducing the number of pots of wasted, ruined rice that has to go in the trash. They also use less electricity than a stove, which is another waste reduced.

  2. Kristin @ klingtocash // Wednesday, July 22, 2009 9:31:00 AM  

    I love my rice cooker. I paid 9.99 for it and now we eat rice. I didn't like the way rice turned out on the stove or in the microwave. Rice is so inexpensive and is a great addition to many meals. I totally have to disagree with your assessment of the rice cooker.

  3. Dawn // Wednesday, July 22, 2009 12:11:00 PM  

    Anon -
    Good point, no microwave or poor utilities would make the rice cooker a plus.

    Kristin -
    That's nice to hear that your $10 was well spent. I haven't noticed the microwave or stove cook my rice to my distaste - as long as it isn't dry, I'm good.

  4. Cordelia Hackman // Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:49:00 PM  

    I have to agree with the Rice Cooker being great. I was against them for years, always cooking rice on the stove, and its not like a rice cooker will cook the rice any quicker but my kids, who have many Asian friends, said their friends parents use rice cookers, and the rice is wonderful (ie much better than my rice - LOL). So my son bought me one, since I refused to pay for one myself(!) and I can't believe how good it is, and easy to clean. Still it is another appliance to take up room which is the downside.
    Enjoy your blog - only recently discovered it. All the best.

  5. Anonymous // Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:01:00 AM  

    I think they are all a waste of money. The only thing on the list i actually own is an iron. I work outside the home and must iron my "business" attire. If i did't work, i would NEVER iron. I despise ironing and don't mind wrinkles.

  6. Dawn // Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:54:00 AM  

    Anon -
    I am so with you on that one! If I could I would be living in shorts and t-shirts all day.

  7. Michelle // Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:19:00 PM  

    I have used ear candles and, for someone prone to ear infections, I have found them to be a big help in avoiding ear infections

  8. Frances // Friday, July 31, 2009 2:44:00 AM  

    I disagree on ear candles. The ear candling process is a very ancient time honoured procedure and involves more than just putting the candle on the ear and setting fire to it. The candling is the final step after preparing the ear with rest and massage and it is necessary to rest after the candling for the best result. All this is foreign to us in this age where we mostly want instant results. It takes time to do the massage and the candling right. One and a half to two hours is about what it takes and in that time the pain and even the fever can be completely gone. I'm not recommending not going to the doctor however what would you do if you were trapped somewhere far from medical aid with a child with an ear infection? Or even facing wait of several hours before medical attention is available. That is certainly the case in most hospital emergency rooms. Knowing what I know I would certainly not feel powerless to do anything to help during a wait in an emergency room. We've just forgotten how to use our hands as medical equipment.