My birthday is this Saturday. I’m going to be 26 years old. I’m having a harder and harder time justifying asking my friends and family to buy me toys this year. The problem is that aside from a new $5000 camera or a new $600 camera lens, there isn’t really much that I necessarily want or need, and I can’t really ask my parents to buy me a $5000 camera when I’m not really doing anything productive with the camera I have.
Anyway, I’ve been perusing Amazon.com for some stuff that I can ask for my birthday this year. I know this is pretty late notice, but with Amazon Prime you can get free 2-day shipping on most stuff, so if you wanted to get me any of this stuff you probably still could.
So the idea here is to find some stuff that an Adult could get. Obviously I would love to have a new Nerf Gun or a Lego or something, but that’s kid stuff. I’m an adult, now, which means it’s time for me to start getting into adult pursuits.
Item: Hot Dog Hat, by US Toy
Product Description: “Catch attention with this funny hat. This hot dog hat is great for a ball game or to wear on funny hat day. Adult size. Made of cloth. Size 18 L.”
Okay, so this might seem like a kid thing. How many adults do you know who would wear a hot dog hat? Make no mistake, though, this is Adult size, so it is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. I love hot dogs, and I love catching attention. This is pretty much made just for me. I absolutely can’t wait to wear this to a ball game so the guy behind me will have this hilarious hat in his way through the whole game. I also - wait a minute - there’s a funny hat day? Why did nobody tell me about funny hat day? I WOULD ROCK THE CRAP OUT OF FUNNY HAT DAY. Especially with this hat.
The best part? You don’t have to worry about this hot dog going bad (do hot dogs actually go bad?). It’s made of cloth!
The actual best part is looking at the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section on the Hot Dog Hat’s amazon page:
No, these aren’t “related items.” This is real stuff that people have actually purchased in addition to Hot Dog Hat. There is a man out there (of course he is a man) who owns the triple threat of Hot Dog Hat, Hamburger Hat, and Pizza Hat. That man is my hero, and he is the true champion of Funny Hat Day.
Amazon.com Rating: 2.5 Stars (3 reviews)
Here’s where Hot Dog Hat kind of loses some of its appeal. Amazon.com user Idaho Dave (you owe it to yourself to click that link) says, “NOT ADULT SIZE. KIDS ONLY... SMALL HEADS ONLY... CHEAPLY MADE WITH MUSTARD FALLING OFF.” (one star). I mean, as long as the Ketchup stays on, I think I can deal with it. Still, though, what is the point of buying an Adult size Hot Dog Hat if it is only for, as Idaho Dave also puts it, “AMAZON TRAVELERS WITH SHRUNKEN HEADS!” However, as Amazon.com user Peter J. Dibonaventura (in his only Amazon.com review) points out, “they do squeeze your head a little- but the good news is THEY stay ON!” That’s a pretty good point, Peter.
Maybe Hot Dog Hat isn’t the best choice, though. I mean, it’s only $7.23, but I really need the mustard to stay on for the joke to really land. Maybe there’s another Hot Dog Hat on Amazon that’s better.
It’s a shame about Hamburger Hat, though. It only has one review, from Amazon.com user June L. Smithee. She says, “I wear food hats for work at a school for young children. They like the fact that I'm silly enough to wear them. This one is great for what I wanted it for, [Amazon.com] ask if it is a fun toy, durable toy, educational toy but this is a hat not a toy, just for fun.” (One star). Come on, June, you’ve singlehandedly destroyed the reputation of this fine novelty hat, just because Amazon.com doesn’t have a sepparate category for Novelty Hats?
Obviously this Novelty Hat market is a pandora’s box of possibilities, but let’s not get mired in deciding which one will be best for funny hat day or which one has the most durable mustard.
That hat really has me thinking about hot dogs, though. Man, I love hot dogs. Maybe there’s something on Amazon.com for me? I mean, something besides a giant novelty hot dog (made of cloth) that I can wear on my head.
Item: Nostalgia Electrics RHD-800 Retro Series Hot Dog Roller, by Nostalgia Electrics
I’ve always wanted to be able to recreate that real 7-Eleven experience of eating a lukewarm hot dog that’s been sitting out all day having people sneeze on it. The only problem that I forsee with this bad boy is that I’m not sure if I’ll be able to figure out those complicated controls. I mean, “OFF - ON” I understand (though I don’t understand why the knob seems to be halfway between the two), but what is that “MIN - MAX” dial for? Does it control the amount of food poisoning that the RHD-800 applies to the hot dogs slowly rotating away to oblivion on it?
Product Description: “The old fashioned hot dog roller with griddle brings back memories of carnivals, ball games; family gatherings and more. The unit holds up to eight regular sized hot dogs or 4 foot long hot dogs at a time. Includes convenient bun storage warmer in the canopy top. This hot dog stand is a fun way for guests to select and make their own hot dogs.”
Finally I’ll have something for my “select your own hot dog” parties.
Amazon Rating: 3.8 Stars (39 reviews)
Reviews are pretty evenly spread for the RHD-800. Amazon.com user ZipSmoke20 lauds the RHD-800’s easy cleanup (presumably because the filthier it is the more authentic it is) and its ability to make “perfectly cooked dogs” (5 stars). He says, “We run the left knob at 5 o'clock and in 20-25 minutes you'll have a nice evenly cooked hot dog with perfect color and perfect temperature inside. We've cooked more than 100 hot dogs on this unit since my purchase less than a month ago, unit is still going strong with zero issues. . . If you are even a little interested in this item don't hesitate, order one, you won't regret it.” The dude is a hot dog FIEND. I don’t know if I would say I’m a “little interested” but it sounds like a sure thing. Wait - 20 - 25 minutes?! I’m not waiting 25 minutes for a hot dog. I could make a real food in that much time.
There’s a flip side to that coin, of course. Amazon.com user Michelle A. Kinsey, in her only Amazon.com review, bought the RHD-800 as a Birthday gift for someone (so I’m totally looking in the right place). Michelle’s friend was “sure she was going to give up her day job and run a hot-dog stand, Perfect gift to get her started.” Hey, maybe I could start a hot-dog stand! Michelle goes on to tell a sad (albeit somewhat lyrical) tale. She actually has quite a way with words. As she puts it, “1st machine arrived she invited guest over to show her new stand, The roller would only go 1/4 of a turn and stop, Returned the machine for a new one. 2nd machine arrived guest invited for a card game and this new machine the rollers would not turn at all, 1 engineer, 1 contractor and 1 electrician and no rollers to cook the hot-dogs, Thank goodness for the stove. And a very disappointed Birthday girl. we decided we did not want to try our luck on a 3rd machine:(.”
I’ll just go ahead and post one more review, in its entirety, because of how great it is. It’s from Amazon.com user Angelica Westry, and the review is aptly entitled “Angelica.” Angelica says, “TERRIABLE!!!! When I receive my Hotdog Roller it looked like someone took a hammer and smashed it!!!! It still works (Thank God) but it looks teriable, not at all what it says it looks like in the describstion. Very disapointing.”
Hey wait, Michelle brought up a good point. I can just cook hot dogs in the stove! Well, I don’t need this teriable piece of junk, then!
Maybe this idea to start my own Hot Dog stand isn’t such a bad one, though. I mean, I don’t have to limit myself to something teriable, I could put a bit more money up front to get something really nice.
Item: The Dog Hut Hotdog Steamer and Merchandiser, by Paragon
Now we’re talking! I could sell Hell of hot dogs with this baby. Also I could merchandise the hot dogs? What exactly is a merchandiser, anyway?
Product Description: “The Dog Hut is intended to set the standard par excellence for hotdog steamers. It will be ideal for use in rental shops, convenience stores, concession stands, vending carts, breakrooms, fast food restaurants, snack bars, cafeterias or many others. Check out other Paragon Products.”
There’s only one review on this guy, but it’s aptly titled “An excellent macnine for the money.” Yes! I will have the best hotdog macnine on the block! “I recommend this machine to anyone who needs to have a large number of hot dogs ready at all times” (five stars). Thank you, Amazon.com user Charles H Tupper, that is exactly what I need!
As the description states, let’s see what other fine products Paragon offers. Stuff like . . .
Item: Biotin Plus Hoof Conditioner, by Paragon
Available in 5, 2.5, or 20 pound buckets. Perfect merchandise to offer alongside your perfectly steamed hot dogs. “While you wait 20 to 25 minutes for your hot dog, would you like your hooves conditioned? Five dollars.”
Item: Conquer EC Long Lasting Insecticide - 1pt by Paragon
I can mix this with the water I use to steam those hot dogs, and then I’ll be able to keep my hot dogs insect free! That can be like my thing. “My Hot Dogs are guaranteed to kill all internal parasites, and I promise my mustard won’t fall off like those other guys!”
Okay, if I’m really going to do this hot dog stand, I’ll need other stuff, too. Help me out, Amazon!
Item: Mr Bar B Q 40159X 18-Piece Classic Hot Dog Holder, by Mr. Bar-B-Q
Isn’t that . . . yeah, that’s just a coffee filter.
Product Description: “Classic hot dog holders”
Nope, those are coffee filters. Nice try, buddy. I’m not falling for that one. It’s the oldest trick in the “scam aspiring hot dog vendors” handbook.
Obviously running a hot dog stand is serious business. I’m going to need to really be careful so I don’t fall for a scammer more cunning than Mr. Bar B Q (how many initials does he need, anyway?). Maybe I should do some research or buy a book on the subject.
Item: The Black Book of Hot Dog Stand by Mat Chaundhry
Perfect. I want to Hot Dog Stand, and so I’ll buy the Black Book of it. Plus, hey, you really can’t beat that cover.
Product Description: “The Hotdog industry is multi-billion dollar industry. Fact of the matter is that last year the American hot dog vendors collectively earned more revenues than most countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. Hotdogs are in big demand. This offers a real job security. With over 18 billion hot dogs sold every year just in the US. No doubt it is rightly called "Recession Free" business. What is the difference between making $100 day and averaging $500 day? The answer is: knowledge. It is not experience, it is knowledge. The Black Book is the only book in the market which combines the experiences of top hot dog vendors from Seattle, New York and Chicago. These vendors are street fighters who learned how to top the competition.”
Hey, Chicago, that’s where I live! I’ll turn myself into a down and dirty street fighter, blasting the competition with the most powerful hadouken of all: knowledge. Help me, Mat Chaundhry, to earn more revenues than those stupid countries in Africa. Take that, the Congo. Move over, Namibia. I’ll make more money than both of you! I bet you could really use some of this insecticide and hoof conditioner, too. Too bad! I have a big demand to fill just in the US.
Hold on a second. The answer is: knowledge, right? It is not experience, it is knowledge. Why is this book the combined experiences of top hot dog vendors, then? Why would I want their useless, useless experiences when knowledge is the true answer? I’m starting to have second thoughts about this. Also, there’s this review, from freaking Alec Baldwin:
“I have to admit that I was skeptical that I could ever make a go of a business after my " Oooh La Waffle-Gourmet French Creme-Filled Waffles" stands failed to turn a profit despite perfect locations (right across the street from the beach? One practically in the parking lot of the local Tennis Club? C'mon!) and an initial investment of over $400,000. But I saw a copy of of this book on the counter of my favorite "Street Meat Bistro", and although at first of course I thought it was porn, I asked the vendor if I could take a look. This is the book which takes your dream of selling low-cost/high profit margin meat and premium condiments, dangles it in front of your eyes and says "Here it is....your dream is plump and hot....now reach for it!" In six months using techniques outlined in plain meat-vendor lingo, I was buying my second cart! Offering double the condiments and still turning a profit! I am not up to the "Hundred Dollar A Day" mark the author assures me is possible, but I am well on my way to half of that. Not bad for less than ten hours in the fresh air in a not so snowy Detroit winter!
“Great book. Not as much of what we see on the cover as I would like, and not even a mention of how to distribute "pharmaceuticals" discreetly from my cart to supplement the slow weeks (like another book I had read), but a great plan to make it rich in the low cost reheated processed meat biz.”
I could never hope to compete with freaking Alec Baldwin. He’s totally on the money about that cover, though.
Okay, so a birthday just isn’t the time or place to start a new career. I already have a career, making websites. What I really need is something to make my time working in a stuffy, boring office more interesting. Not just on funny hat day, but every day. Queue the most important Amazon.com product search in history:
Item: Party Pooper Fake Human Poop, by SLC
There are really only two periods of human history. There was the time before somebody realized he could make realistic fake plastic poop, and there is the time after - the fake plastic poop age. These days, literally the only problem you face is deciding which of the hundreds of fake plastic poops out there is the fake plastic poop for you. Let’s see how this one “piles up,” as it were.
Product Description: “Imagine the look on your girlfriend, friend, or wifes face when she walks in the bathroom and encounters this "Load". This fake poop provides hours of entertainment and horror!”
Hours of entertainment is a lofty claim. My attention span has been so destroyed by TV and Video games that I can hardly bring myself to finish swallowing my hoof conditioner treatments. In order for something to give me hours of entertainment, it had better be really, really great. Still, I do have a lot of things I could place fake poop on, and my girlfriend does really hate looking at poop, so you’d think the possibilities are pretty endless.
Rating: 3.7 Stars (59 reviews)
The real problem with fake plastic poop is that it’s victim to the opinions of viewers. Some people might agree with Amazon.com user Craig Motsenboker in saying, “Overall this product is pootastic.” Others might disagree, however, like Amazon.com user S. Namfukwe, who says, “Looks very fake and very plastic.” It’s really going to be a crap shoot (sorry) whether or not you’ll approve. It’s hard to tell whether or not Amazon.com user MW likes the product when he wrote a review entitled, “crappy product.” Isn’t that the point?
Whatever you do, heed the warning of Amazon.com user PizzaAttack, whose review, “Caution,” is a very cautionary tale indeed. He says, “This product was ok until Someone decided to replace it with the real thing. After the laughs I proceeded to collect my toy only to find the real thing in my hands. Still warm too. I suggest keeping a watchful eye on it.” To be fair, when you prank you have to expect a bit of pranking back. Somebody got that guy pretty good.
That brings up a real problem with fake plastic poop, though. I mean, if you’re going to prank somebody, why not just go for it? My body produces its own version of fake plastic poop which is, in my opinion, pretty pootastic. I could save myself quite a bit of money by just placing my own poop around to see the look on my girlfriend, friend, or wifes face. I mean, what’s the prank, here? We’re working entirely off the premise that it’s funny just to make somebody look at a thing they kind of don’t like to look at? Fake plastic poop is so ubiquitous now that it’s not even really a prank anymore. This Someone in PizzaAttack's story might really be on to something, there. A real prank would be to make somebody think you placed fake plastic poop somewhere, but then have it turn out to be real poop. That’s funny.
Item: Fake Poop Stress Toy, by DOMAGRON Novelty
It does look a bit like poop, but it looks an awful more like something else.
Product Description: “The Fake Poop Stress Toy is the perfect stress toy for when you feel like s***. You can squeeze this ridiculously realistic foam poop toy when you've hit rock bottom. Just imagine what your co-workers will think when they see you squeezing poop. For a fun office prank, place the Fake Poop Stress Toy in a common place around the office. Your co-workers will be checking their shoes after seeing poop on the floor. It's time to have more fun at work with the Fake Poop Stress Toy.”
I tell you what, it really is time to have more fun at work. I really applaud these guys for giving this thing a dual-purpose function. I mean, it eliminates stress and is a really, really great joke. Listen, nothing humiliates coworkers more than being tricked into checking their shoes. When they look down at their feet, they’ll just be reminded about how poorly conditioned their hooves are in comparison to mine, so it’s like two pranks in one. It’s the perfect storm. I could basically sell my computer, TV, comic books, and anything else I use to entertain myself, because Fake Poop Stress Toy is all I’ll ever need.
I think we’ve got it. For my birthday this year I’ll ask my parents to buy me this very particularly shaped rubber “stress” toy . . .
On second thought, I better keep looking.