Legitimate products that just don't work

No, I’m not talking about those exercise machines, diet supplements, “get rich in real estate” schemes, gasoline additives, penis enlargement pills, ultrasonic insect repellents, and other questionable products and schemes that are often advertised on late night television. I’m talking about things that made by reputable companies, that are marketed and sold as legitimate products, that just don’t work. My short list:

Grass patch - the combination of grass seed and pulverized recycled paper that you spread over a bare spot in a lawn to get it to grow back. Dig up the old turf to the point where there’s nothing but exposed bare soil, chop it up a bit, spread the patch, water regularly, and … nothing. Never, ever worked for me. I have much better results with grass seed that’s raked or ground into the soil.

Lawn weed killers - again, a product that has never worked for me. The general herbicides like Roundup and Triple Shot are great for killing anything with roots, but the weed-and-feed products just seem to feed the weeds. Despite my textbook lawn care from the start of spring, and using them at their suggested intervalsand application rates, crabgrass, chickweed and broadleaf weeds have taken over about a third of my front lawn. I’m digging it up and starting from scratch; sometimes, you have to destroy the village to save it.

Over the counter allergy medicine - nope, doesn’t work for me. Claritin only works in heavy doses; enough to make my throat very dry. Benadryl puts me to sleep, and only makes minor improvements to my stuffy, dripping nose. Everything else has the power of a placebo. I use the good stuff – Zyrtec, which requires a prescription. It works; even better than allergy shots have ever worked. I can even skip a day, and still breathe like a normal human during the summer.

With all due respect, I don’t think one can say that these products “just don’t work.” Over-the-counter allergy medication might not work on you, for example, but they’re generally effective. Their effectiveness is admittedly limited, but that’s true of many OTC medicines.

Okay… I have a problem with flashlights. They just never seem to illuminate the area sufficiently for me. My husband received a $100 flashlight in error from a company he ordered t-shirts from. We didn’t open it, but I’d really like to see what kind of light something like that throws. For a hundred bucks, it better look like the craft landing from Close Encounters of the Third Kind!

Pretty much every tub and tile cleaner that claims to get rid of soap scum and shower residue. I’ve tried them all and the only thing that really truly works is bleach. The other things might sanitize a little, but forget about whitening your grout with them.

Based on sad experience, I say avoid any plastic product made in Germany. Their designs, ingenious as they are, invariably depend on teeny tiny plastic pins which promptly break off, rendering your small appliance useless and well-nigh-unfixable.

There’s a reason they talk about German engineering. They can design 'em; they can’t always build 'em. Especially if they’re not made of metal and potentially dangerous.

Oh yeah. Don’t bother with most cordless vacuum cleaners. Unless they draw enough juice to power a Class B regional AM radio station, they will not suck up enough shit to make them worth the constant emptying and recharging.

YGWYPF If you buy cheap flashlights you get crap. I have somewhat of a flashlight fetish so I know a quality torch. Spend a few bucks and you’ll get something good. BTW what kind of light is it? A good one or just one marked up far too high.

Mag light flashlights are good and widely available. I actually prefer the four C cell model because the thinner grip is handier but not as many stores carry them. I like the AA maglite as I have a fiberoptic probe which makes it easy to peer into crevases or things like gun barrels when cleaning.

Pelican makes excellent flashlights. I like the Stealthlite which is very compact as it uses 4-AA batteries but very bright. Also nearly all their lights are MSHA explosive atmosphere safe and waterproof and many can be used for diving.

I have a $100 flashlight, a Surefire E2D defender. It’s an extremely bright tactical light that can be used as a defensive tool. A person cannot look into the beam at close range with eyes open en in daylight. The “strike bezel” provides a little extra bite if you have to whale on someone with it. TheLadyLion carries one too and I’ve gotten her in the habit of having it in her hand anytime she goes out to a dark parking lot.

We have a couple Mags, and I’m unimpressed. The one we got by accident was a military style light from Brigade Quartermaster, so I’m sure it was good. I should have looked. My husband just loves lights. All kinds of lights. If he would have opened it and turned it on, I’m sure we would have bought a pair of 'em. That’s one of his quirks.

In a similar vein, I have never seen a decent booklight: one that provides enough light for both pages if an average-size hardback. What good is a light that only illuminates the first 2 inches of whatever page it’s clipped to? The constant moving and resituating of the light (and squinting to read the words farthest from the light source) always makes me just give up.


Anyone want a used Black & Decker cordless upright?

I’m curious, what don’t you like about the Mags?

Make that “pages of an average-size hardback.” :smack:

Cordless weed whackers are also worthless. The idea is great, but they lack the power needed for most jobs, plus the battery runs out very fast, requiring a lengthy recharge.

There is (or was) a thing made by Black and Decker with a rotating brush that’s supposed to clean the bathtub. It doesn’t, unless all the bathtub has is dust.

Second the tile cleaners. They barely touch mildew; maybe make it a little paler.

Anything less than a heavy duty ladder is an invitation to death.

I’ve never had any drain cleaner get rid of a clog. Plungers and snakes are the only things that work for me.

My experience with Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners is that they run for about 3 minutes, overheat, and cut off. Except the more powerful ones, that draw so much current they flip your circuit breaker. They weren’t always that way, but they are now.

My number one thing that doesn’t work: cell phones. Trying to have a conversation on one is (to me) like trying to read a book after you’ve shot it full of holes.

The Scumbuster. (I see they’ve updated it since I bought one.) Yeah, I think pretty much any of the battery powered things never really work like advertised. I actually spent more effort trying to clean the tub with that thing.

Another thing is those mini “Shark” vaccuums. Even the corded ones are crappy. I finally invested in a well-reviewed Sears Kenmore vac and was finally able to actually pick up dirt. (of course, right after I bought my good vac which was gonna last me for years, the freakin’ Dyson came out and I’m now consumed with vaccuum lust. :rolleyes: Damn you Dyson.)

The Michael Graves design items at Target. I’ve been taken in by two of them: A spatula with a handle so heavy it flips itself out of the pan if you set it down for a second and a toilet plunger with a head so flat that the pressure is too weak to accomplish anything. They look great, though.

Yup, gotta second this one. Growing up my parents tried drain cleaner maybe a dozen times, never worked. I’ve tried it a few times, never worked. My buddy’s drain clogged last year during GameFest 2005, so we tried drain cleaner, without success. I’ve never seen it work; I’ve never heard of a case of it working. It’s a ripoff. They may as well just put food coloring and water in those bottles for all the good it does you.

I’ve also had very little success with rotating nose/ear hair trimmers. Whether cheap or expensive, they do not seem to work worth a damn.

I’ve had success with drain cleaner used to unblock a prtially blocked kitchen sink. I think they are partially effective, but maybe no use against a really bad blockage.

Micr minature remote control vehicles, they are all fairly cool, but they always stop working pretty quickly whether it is a $15 or $150 value toy.

Ummmm…I was actually considering buying one of those. Do you think that your disappontment with them is more a commentary on their design or your nose/ear hair?

Must disagree. I have a Black & Decker model, and it does a mighty fine job, both when whacking weeds and when edging. On the downside, the battery is very heavy; the first time I used it, my forearm was pretty useless for a good while afterward, because the muscle was just about spent.

Anything that claims to fix paint scratches on your car is worthless. The only thing that’ll repair scratched paint is paint.