It's official. The Motorised ice-cream cone has been voted Britain’s most pointless, wasteful product by the Landfill Prize panel.
I had hoped my nomination, the Sat Nag, would have landed the top prize but I can't agree more that a motorised ice-cream cone is one thing the world doesn't need and is a very deserving winner.
This plastic gadget has been voted the winner of the Landfill prize, the award for Britain’s most pointless, wasteful and over-complex consumer item, after thousands of people visited the site, many offering nominations.
The motorised cone, marketed by the Perpetual Kid company, joins the list of such consumer wonders as a loudspeaker-equipped fishing chair, the Nintendo Wii Fit and a plastic electronic chameleon that doesn’t actually change colour.
John Naish, the prize’s founder and author of Enough: Breaking Free from The world Of Excess, says, “There might be a credit crisis, but it hasn’t stopped manufacturers churning out ever more unnecessarily convoluted consumer inventions – gadgets and gizmos that cost us precious money and planetary resources, but which rapidly end up dumped in landfill, or stashed at the back of cupboards or in costly rented storage facilities. "
The Landfill Prize was launched last year to lampoon what John calls this bizarre consumer habit. Nominations were judged by a prestigious panel of four including himself, Carl Honoré, the author of In Praise of Slow, Anna Shepard, the author of How Green Are My Wellies, and Ben Davis, the founder of BuyLessCrap.
Comparing this year's results to 2008, John remarks “There has been a marked change in the nominations from last year, when people emailed us to rail at “deluxe” items such as sonically driven toothbrushes, computer controlled air-fresheners and razors with an infinitude of blades. This year, luxury isn’t even on the radar. It’s been crunched out. Instead, novelty items provoked the worst of Britain’s ire. Perhaps there’s a new Puritanism dawning in these straitened times. Or maybe these items simply represent the ultimate waste of space."
“There’s a serious side to this lampoonery. The prize aims to highlight the fact that, thanks to modern high-tech, we should now have all the gear we need to enjoy comfortable, contented lives. Our culture is easily capable of producing myriad consumer items that are durable, reliable and useful enough to give years of great, economical service. Instead we’re still being offered evanescent junk. This year’s voting shows a sea change in sensibilities: novelties are now considered an item we no longer want to afford.”
So with bated breath...let's take a look at the winner and the runners up that made it into the Landfill Prize Top 10. I'm sure you'll agree there are quite a few deserving entrants and you might even recognise one or two!
The Landfill Prize top ten
1 Motorised Ice-Cream Cone.
Ostensibly for those too lazy to twist their wrists when eating an ice-cream. You pop your cone in it, stick your tongue out and it does all the hard work for you. Oh, hang on, it’s spattered gunk all over your chest. And the battery’s run out.
2 The Plane Sheet
Flying not sufficiently bad for the environment? Now travellers can boost their footprint with the Plane Sheet, an airliner seat cover available in a variety of finishes such as leopardskin, to "transform a tired, overused airline seat into a cozy, happy place... while keeping at bay germs from previous passengers” (hygiene paranoia not included). PlaneSheets.com says that you can even have yours monogrammed. Classy.
3 Motorised fork
More spin from the world of novelty gadgets. The children of class P6/1 at Dingwall Primary School in Scotland, who nominated this battery-driven object, report that it is actually much slower at twirling noodles than using your own hand the old-fashioned way. The spinning cutlery is sold via Amazon, but the children aren’t impressed: “We think it is useless and wasteful,” they said.
4 Loudspeaker-equipped fishing chair
Just what every angler needs? No peace and quiet, but a folding fishing chair equipped with four loudspeakers, marketed via eBay. As Ben Davis, one of our judges commented, “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Give a man a folding fishing chair with built in speakers and he can annoy others for life.”
5 USB-powered Chameleon
Novelty galore here. Well, almost. The plastic USB-powered chameleon, sold by Thanksdarling.com, plugs into your computer and sits atop your screen, drolly rolling its beady eyes. But hang on, it doesn’t actually change colour. Not ever. Are we missing a core value here?
6 Nintendo Wii Fit
Dave Watts, of Shropshire, nominated the popular exercise gadget, saying, “I don't need to pay an extortionate amount of money to get fit. I can do it for free by stepping outside the front door and going for a walk. I can talk to my children and wife, listen to music or the wild life or just think about how good life is without all the gizmos.
7 The Guitar Hero franchise
“Is learning three chords really too difficult?” asked Jeremy Williams, who nominated the bestselling video toy. “Rather than learn to play an actual instrument, you can now make a virtual cacophony on virtual instruments by pressing primary coloured buttons on a plastic guitar. There's probably two or three whole minutes of fun to be had before the buyer’s remorse kicks in.”
8 Digital Electronic Jumping Rope
Bored with your ropey old skipping rope? How about Reebok’s electronic version with batteries in the handles that counts the number of times you jump up and down and "calculates" the calories you’ve burned? Sadly you can’t accurately gauge your calorie-burn without making complex guesstimates based on your weight, age, metabolic rate, skipping speed, etc. But then that’s not the point of convoluted exercise gear. It’s to keep you motivated for, oh, several days.
9 The Toyota Prius
How can the Toyota Pious (oops Prius), be an eco-friendly car when it is actually built with two engines, asks its nominator, Andy Marks. He wonders if it is actually a status symbol for drivers who want to look “greener than you”. A moot point, perhaps, but Toyota's own study of 24,000 people who bought Priuses in America in 2007 found that many purchased it as a [itals] third [end-itals] family car.
10 The Sat Nag
This £6.99 electronic novelty mocks the Sat Nav device, blasting its owner with 24 annoying comments. It is sold through www.lazyboneuk.com, and typical phrases include: “You have reached your destination - you may now throttle your passenger.” Its nominator Karen Cannard (yes that's me), feels that this is taking a thin joke too far.
Yay....So the Sat Nag made it..hooray! I could say I'm dead chuffed, but isn't it a terrible state of affairs that so much needless tat is produced in the first place.