CHOICE membership

What products work, but soon become unused?

I often find that products of single purpose use tend to be purchased spontaneously, or received as a gift, and either never used, or get used once and put in the cupboard - never to be used again.

What products have you received, or bought for yourself or the household, which you never felt like you got your money’s worth out of?

My favourites are ice cream makers, yoghurt makers and pie makers - and many other single purpose products.

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Both my mother and my husband’s first wife were suckers for kitchen gadgets. My mother used them a few times and then relegated them to unreachable storage, mostly because they were more work cleaning, produced an inferior product, or had a defect - eg the vertical grill - the metal grill could drop below the stop and melted the plastic tray below. She has, various yoghurt makers, air & deep fryers, popcorn maker, one pot bench-top cookers and others. Her motivations (my opinion) was as an early adaptor of innovative ideas, (sometimes taken in by pseudo science), an impulse buyer and a lover of the shopping experience. My father was a thorough researcher & planner.

The first wife (who I did not know) had lots of kitchen gadgets, many unopened. I think a few things were at play here - a large disposable income, a love of shopping catalogues and later the internet, and with a number of “lifestyle” diseases and morbid obesity, I think she felt she was “doing something” by purchasing gadgets that promised weight loss, healthy living etc without changing habits. Quality was mostly disappointing - we opened one 7 years after purchase and it blew the fuses. I gave them away to anyone in the family who wanted them, and saw most of them passed from one to the other only to end up being given back to us. Fancy Juicers, mixers, slicers, pulping machines, fat eliminating cooking (it runs off, steamed off, mopped out, skimmed off), air fryers/cookers, one-pot bench-top (various systems), BBQs, rotisseries, coffee (all in one) grind, (one also roasted), perk, froth etc, pressure frother, cooker and MANY others.

I may be judging too harshly as my only single use gadgets are a hand-held beater and breadmaker - which I use to make bread, cakes & preserves. I use an esky & towels to make yoghurt, and I slice, squeeze juice and puree by hand with a knife & sieve. I use a microwave & stove top, electric kettle and toaster. My mother now gets packaged meals delivered and no longer cooks, the first wife died in her 50’s, my husband would prefer I used a machine, but I refuse if it can be done effectively and cheaply other ways, Besides, I hate spending more time scrubbing & assembling than using these gadgets.

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you had me at kitchen …

I have every type of peeler imaginable. Peelers evoke such emotion when people are helping in the kitchen - in my experience people don’t give a rats what kinds of bowls or spoons or spatulas you have, they may make passing comment, but nothing seems to invite ongoing scorn, criticism or abuse more than equipping a helper with the wrong kind of peeler. For that reason, on an online kitchen store shopping binge a year or so ago, I ordered a number of peelers to cover every eventuality. Most of these I never use personally, I have a couple of favourites, but when people complain, I empty the drawer and give them a choice from the dozen or so available … sadly this doesn’t shut people up, the bottom line is that people generally just hate peeling …

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We have a very limited-edition Hello Kitty induction hotplate. We never use it, as we don’t want it to get scratched. :joy: We’ve also got a Y2K drink blender at the back of the cupboard. Part of an eBay-able retirement fund ?

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The kind of new toy acquisition you describe doesn’t run in my family. There are a few odd grillers and such that we have been given by well meaning people that were used a few times and then forwarded to the charity opshop. We have a bread maker, that was widely pooh poohed “everybody tries them out and then they sit on a high inaccessible place” we were told. We use it about 4 times a week and have worn out a couple beforehand. The nearest fresh bread is a way off and life is too short to spend it kneading dough unless it is part of your meditation or you draw politician’s faces on it.

Our attitude is that if there is a process that we do often that would benefit from mechanization then we have a look at whether there are any good and cost-effective solutions on the market.

This excludes all the fancy choppers. Unless you make large amounts of coleslaw regularly (or some similar dish needing much chopping) the time to get the machine out, use it and wash it is more than the time saved. A knife gives you more control and has no parts to break, leak or get lost.

I taught our children to cook and bought them each a knife. With a little practice to develop the skill to use it and keep it sharp a good cook’s knife will replace all those gadgets - except as noted if you need to do mass production. It will also quickly reduce a whole chicken to serving-size pieces and many other things that the choppers cannot do. People who have watched me dismember a chook say “that thing could cut your finger off”. Yes - but that is where practice and proper technique come in. Fifty years on till have all my fingers. I believe that this is part of the problem, people are afraid of sharp knives and buy gadgets instead. They say they are saving time but really they are trading time and money for perceived safety.

As for paying thousands of dollars for a combination mixer and electric cooker you would have to be mad or needing your neighbours to admire it sitting on your bench.

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An electric waffle maker given as a wedding present. … never used it and gave it away after 10 years. We don’t eat waffles and one of those appliances you wonder why it was ever created. If we did want to eat waffles, it would have been cheaper to buy the ready made ones to toast.

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A juicer. Its about 6 years old. Used it a lot in the first year. Now it’s stored in the garage because my kitchen has limited storage space and cleaning it takes so long and uses a lot of water. The other is a food processor. It sounds great to have all your food chopped up but in reality its quicker to do it manually, with a knife and a chopping board, and the clean up is easy. My best buy was a coffee (pod) machine, on sale for fifty dollars about 6 years ago. I’ve used it daily since the day I bought it and it’s never missed a beat.

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I bought a few items in preparation for moving a family tree-change expecting to be doing more growing, preparing and preserving of food: mincer/sausage maker (I wanted a manual one but they were a lot more expensive than electric), dehydrator, veggie pasta maker. Also lots of craft supplies.
Then my husband and I separated and I still have all of the stuff!

I’ve been given an ice cream maker and slow cooker, both second hand, from friends and relatives who thought I’d like them. Rarely used.

Other kitchen gadgets I’ve bought get used all the time–a yogurt maker and high speed blender,

I bought a Varidesk (sit-stand) but only used if for a few weeks–hurt my knees to stand a lot. I now use a walking desk (with treadmill) all the time.

I’ve bought other “ergonomic” furniture and gear as well: a saddle chair (bought online and not that comfortable), and a posture cushion (to sit on) which makes my hips sore.

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As an older male, I’ll expand this somewhat. While I am not big on possessions (especially foot spas!), I do have a lot of tools … many have only been used once or a few times, but “paid for themselves” in that project, so now are waiting to be needed again, or not.

Expanding to consider my wife, the answer would be cookbooks … as a card carrying bibliomaniac, we have over 700 cookbooks (and no, she doesn’t cook much any more!).

At least some of the devices mentioned by others might serve some purpose; how many trinkets and do-dads clutter window sills and cupboard space, but have literally no function or value! While I can retire “normal” items we no longer use, anything given to us by a family member or friend becomes holy and must follow us to the grave – including multi-level sandwich servers, decorative themed party drinks services, silverplate nonsense, etc ad infinitum.

Again, I think if we considered closets, the mass of clothes that don’t see the light of day or night makes the automated parsnip trimmer look well used.

Finally, at least for us, life changes. When young, we lived out of a Jaffle Iron, but wouldn’t use it once a year now. Our large slow cooker has given way to a smaller one as the kids have left home, but the big one awaits the next crop of hungry mouths.

So for me, I guess it depends on what value is attached … some gear provides great service (eg, our ancient Mixmaster); the cookbooks make my wife happy, and that is an even greater service at a trivial cost.

B+

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None any more since I discovered Freecycle.org.au/ That juicing gadget I used twice, the video camera that maybe still worked, the old black and white cameras, a lamp I no longer liked, a mirror that was surplus to requirements - and the list goes on to probably a hundred items. I put these all up as “offers” and there was always someone who wanted them and came and picked them up from my front verandah as instructed. I have put friend’s unwanted items on freecycle where the friends don’t have a handy verandah, or live in a unit. I have responded to some “wanted” ads - various plants, glass jars, children’s toys etc;
I have even put in a “wanted” ad for a child’s tennis racket for my grand daughter who was always losing hers. I got two! And the beauty is - no money changes hands, just objects and good will!
It makes me sad when I see perfectly good pieces of furniture put out for council cleanups and they get rained on and are useless. Someone would have taken them.

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A spiraliser. I’ve used one before so I know I will again. It’s just that I bought one 9 months ago and it’s still in the box…

Plus as a former DJ, I often buy little musical gadgets that I just never use.

(My wonderful partner is the inspiration for this response)

The [American] waffle (and pancakes) is an American breakfast staple that apparently does not translate into mainstream Aussie culture where they are more often considered sweets. Many American households have waffle makers, as do lower cost motels offering free breakfasts where there is usually a commercial style waffle maker and pre-mix batter for guests to make their own, along with cereals, breads, fruit, etc.

That statement is akin to preferring weeks old bagged dry cold popcorn to freshly popped in the most unhealthy but great tasting oils, or equating grocery bread with a good French bakery loaf.

Nothing like fresh made waffles from proper batter, with bacon or [American style] sausage, eggs and maple syrup for brekkie - but yes, that is a cultural thing, and that was why the waffle maker was created :smiley:

As transplanted Americans my partner looked for an electric waffle maker for yonks but refused to pay the ridiculous local price for the one on offer, and bought a stovetop waffle maker that saw regular use for a few months, but want to guess how many times it got used over the next decade? It is here somewhere. I know it is. It must be.

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I am “afraid” to say we are all for fully equipped kitchen.

We do have a Magimix icecream maker which has been regularly used each year for the last two decades. Though it is only used to make say ten litres a year. But then it is things like rhubarb crumble ice cream, coffee, creme fraiche, etc

We do have the Magimix expert Cooker but that was partly because we are knocking together two houses and would not have a proper kitchen for over a year. We do have a mandoline for when bulk cooking and tons of cake racks etc for mass baking of biscuits. My theory is buy the best tools for the job particularly if you are going to be using them daily like knives and pans.

The spiraliser is a waste of space.! Other than that as we have the storage room the electric pancake maker, the contact grill are all specialist things that do a good job when called upon. If pushed for space I would have no problem chucking them to a mate.

They are popular in some parts of Australia - our cafeteria at work has a waffle maker and the goo to go in it, along with so-called “American sausage” (think rissole/frickadellen), bacon, maple syrup and a plethora of other things like patty melts, denver omelettes, hash browns, etc. There’s often waffle makers on the local buy/swap/sell pages …

… like bagged bagels … or doughnuts from Woolies (compared to the original style doughnut from Europe) …

but we digress :slight_smile:

A hub of US tourism?

More like https://www.jimmydean.com/products/fresh-sausage

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The sausage served here is more like the top photo in the pan - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakfast_sausage … but then its made for Americans, not by Americans so I can’t speak for it’s authenticity …

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Thanks for the laugh! All sounds so true!

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I have been watching the ever increasing tide of precussion massagers being advertised for sale. These are shaped a bit like a pistol and work with a piston action.

I first saw them for sale in China, and then the ‘as seen on TV’ stores sold them. Now they are being sold everywhere. Recently, I noticed an avalanche of them on reselling sites.

How long will it be before they are being thrown out for kerbside pickups?

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I bought one this week, not the “gun” style, but rather a long handled one so I can reach my back and shoulders without those same muscles going into spasm. Its not too bad, but will eventually be relegated to the not-used pile. Its a shame, it just doesnt help that much.

On the matter of not used. I have twice bought a glass bowl turbo oven. I’ve found they do roast lamb and chook etc as well as roast vegies really nicely. But I keep burning myself on the bowl so I have finally given up for good, having sold the last one a few months back.

Bought one of these and it just sits in the back of the cupboard whilst I use a manual vegetti to make zoodles. https://www.kitchenwarehouse.com.au/Gefu-Spiralfix-Spiral-Slicer

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The Thumper is a serious take on the product genre. We have had a ‘Sport’ in constant use for about 30 years and counting, now on only the second unit. The first was only relegated to the scrap heap because of the voltage change between the US and AU.

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