Because we live in a wonderful country, I have access to Amazon's "Vine" program (which you get by either being invited or by floating a big enough bribe). Here's how it works: Amazon posts literally thousands of products that Vine members can order absolutely free in return for writing an honest review of the product.
Or maybe I should say almost absolutely free; at the end of the year, Amazon totals up everything you got and sends a tax form saying that you received that amount as income, meaning you have to pay taxes on everything. Which usually isn't bad, although currently there's an $1800 massage chair on there (really) that I don't even want to pay tax on because it's so spectacularly ugly. It looks like a wrecked VW Beetle covered with Naugahyde and disco lights.
Still, it's fun to occasionally find something I need or just something that seems like it would be fun to own. It's also fun browsing through all of the items and discovering how many absolutely horrible product ideas have actually made it to market. I like to imagine an entrepreneur suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed at 3 a.m. and shaking his wife awake in the dark...
"Honey! I've got it! A million-dollar idea! IT CAN'T FAIL!!!"
(yawning) "Okay...what is it this time?"
"A RUBBER REMOTE CONTROL FOR BABIES TO CHEW ON!"
(long pause, followed by a gunshot)
So just for a little Friday fun, here's a sampling of some of the honest-to-gosh products currently being offered on Amazon Vine and my initial thoughts about them...