My New Obsession — Unitaskers

by Katy on October 26, 2009 · 10 comments


One of the blogs that I subscribe to is Erin Rooney Doland’s And one of my favorite features is her Unitasker Wednesdays. This weekly column highlights a product that serves a single, often bizarre purpose. Of course:

“All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness.”

One would think that there would be a limit to how many of these products Doland could track down, but no — there seems to be an endless supply.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

The butter cutter

The garbage bowl

The electric paper plane launcher

The onion ring holder

This feature reminds me of the Japanese Chindogu, which are utterly hilarious spoof inventions. Unfortunately, the unclutterer products are real, yet still utterly useless.

Let me tell ya’ there is nothing Non-Consumer about products that serve a single unnecessary purpose.

But they can still entertain.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen October 27, 2009 at 12:14 am

I have a unitasker item from way back: a little gadget you stuff a hard boiled egg in, and it becomes square. Handy, eh? Not!

The garbage bowl highlights everything wrong with consumer clutter. But then again, it’s part of the Rachel Ray line–say no more. So glad I came from the era when pro chefs really had some expertise instead of cutesiness.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley October 27, 2009 at 4:32 am

I think that these items are a clear indication that the End Is Near. Yikes!


WilliamB October 27, 2009 at 4:41 am

Since you read Unclutterer, you’re going to recognize these three comments. They’re raised frequently on UnitaskerWednesday.

1. Some of the items are designed for special markets, not the general public. The onion ring holder is a restaurant good. Restaurants have different needs, including amusing the customers and differentiating themselves from competitors. Heck, a poster even managed to rescue the banana holder (my favorite clutter item) by pointing out it was originally for bikers and triathletes, so they could attach bananas to their bikes.

2. Unitaskers are useful if you do a lot of the task. Even the banana slicer – I never would have thought someone could rescue that one, but ze did. Ze dries bananas for rodents, so having them dry at the same rate is important for that.

That all said, I’m really sorry for the restaurant staff who have to deal with the onion ring holder. Instead of being able to dump some rings into a bowl, they have to sort them by size, stack them, make sure they don’t break any, and be careful while taking them to table.

They contribute to waste, too. What about the rings that break, or don’t fit, or are too small? A wasteful unitasker – twofer!


Cate October 27, 2009 at 10:46 am

Why did you have to introduce me to this website? I’ve spent the past 30 minutes browsing archives…


Carla October 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

We got a BB&B catalog yesterday. I showed my husband the giant, doggy-paw-shaped mitts to slip your own hands into to wipe your dog’s muddy paws before he comes in. I dunno what’s wrong with an old towel or better yet, the mat in front of the door. Stop the dog, wipe his paws on the mat and then let him come in. A few smart dogs here and there might even learn to do it for themselves.

And I’ll be honest, even with the picture I didn’t know what those things were until you told us, Katy. Weird doughnuts? But then, why the sauces? (It also looks like a way to give only a few onion rings at an exhorbitant price!)



Karen October 27, 2009 at 6:43 pm

My husband and I went on our first date to a restaurant that used that onion ring holder. I thought it was stupid even at the time, but it brought back fun memories tonight. Thanks!


ksmedgirl October 27, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The only place I have seen the onion ring holder is Red Robin restaurant. I didn’t know it had a real name or a tongue in cheek name like unitasker. I just thought it was that restaurant’s gimmick. Surely some creative person could come up with other uses for it!


Tony Wolk October 27, 2009 at 9:28 pm

How about the non-reflecting mirror,
A membership in Height-watchers,
The handleless knife that’s also missing a blade,
The reverse bookshelf,
and my favorite, for the dad with the Mobius head,
The Mobius headband


Tracy Balazy October 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

You could stack a collection of bangle bracelets on it, so you can see them all at once when it’s time to wear one. But then, you have to dump them all off if you want to wear the bottom one. Alas, it’s still a stupid item!


Magdalenaperks October 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

Me, too. Addictive.


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