A number of sites (such as USA Today) list Cheetos Lip Balm as one of the greatest product flops of all time. I don't agree. It was definitely weird, but I can't find any evidence it flopped.
Some context: it came on the market in 2005, created by Lotta Luv, a New York cosmetics company that specialized in licensing flavors from well-known brands. Some of the other odd lip-balm flavors they offered included Hostess Ding Dongs, Cracker Jack, Junior Mints, fourteen flavors of Snapple, and Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion. Their target market was girls 8 to 14. Apparently, young girls loved these weird lip balms.
As far as I can tell, the Cheetos lip balm remained available until 2011, which doesn’t seem like a flop.
From Japan, comes a solution to the problem of getting your fingers greasy when you eat potato chips. Snack-maker Koike-ya has designed chips that you can 'drink' directly from the bag. From the Wall Street Journal:
[Koike-ya’s] One Hand brand features a line of splintered potato chips and other snacks that can be consumed like a bottled drink. It’s marketed with a jumbo-size premise—“a new snack style humankind has been waiting for.” The idea originated with the observation that customers like the mix of potato chip crumbs and flavored powder left at the bottom of the bag. Some eaters tip the chip bag into their mouths to dump the delectable detritus. “What we said is, ‘Why don’t we make it easier for them to do that?’ ” said Kohei Shimosaka, who led a five-member team of chip designers to find the optimum configuration... The research and development finally cooked up a hand-held package with an angled opening.
It looks like a bag of french fries to me. And couldn't you do this on your own with regular chips if you smashed them up while in the bag, and then cut an angled opening to pour them right into your mouth?
According to a study conducted by Dr. Leo Wollman (and reported in Omni magazine in 1980), one's preference for hot dogs or hamburgers when going out for a quick lunch has a deeper significance:
The study of 3000 persons concludes that hot-dog eaters tend to be outgoing, aggressive, ambitious extroverts while hamburger fanciers are quieter introverted more conservative types. Wollman describes hamburger eaters as a bit on the wimpy side.
"The people who eat hot dogs usually grab it and go," he said. "Hamburger eaters take more time. They're better dressed executive types, used to making decisions—well done, rare, ketchup or mustard."
I like both hot dogs and hamburgers, but if I was pressed for time I'd probably grab a hot dog over a hamburger. However, I don't match Wollman's hot-dog personality type at all. So I wouldn't put much stock in his results. And digging into his bio a bit further, it doesn't seem that he was exactly known for his credibility as a researcher.
The soles of these shoes are made from recycled chewing gum from the streets of Amsterdam. In the Netherlands 1.5 million kilos of gum ends up on the street every year. Making it the second most common litter after cigarettes. By buying these shoes you contribute to the solution, by wearing them you show your support.
But what happens if people stop dropping their gum on the streets? Will the gumshoe company just go out of business?
The Pretzels for God movement was founded by Marlene McCauley of Phoenix, Arizona in 1973 after she became inspired to restore the pretzel to what she felt was its rightful place in Christian worship.
Apparently Christians invented pretzels back in the fifth century to eat during Lent since the pretzels contained only water, flour, and salt, but no eggs or milk which were forbidden during the observance. The shape of the pretzel symbolized arms crossed in prayer.
However, in modern times this religious origin has been largely forgotten as pretzels have become a bar and snack food. McCauley was determined to right this wrong. Specifically, she hoped to encourage Christians to eat pretzels during Lent and also to recite before each meal the "pretzel prayer":
"Grant us, we pray, that we too may be reminded by the daily sight of these pretzels to observe the holy season of Lent with true devotion and great spiritual fruit."
Back in 2010, in order to prove his theory that "in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food," Kansas State University professor of human nutrition Mark Haub lived almost entirely on Twinkies for 10 weeks. He ate one every three hours.
Though he added some variety into his diet with side helpings of Doritos, sugary cereals, and Oreos. As well as a multivitamin pill, protein shake, and some vegetables daily.
But by limiting himself to 1800 calories a day he lost 27 pounds, and other measures of health, such as cholesterol levels, all improved.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.