Three types of people can see suckers coming a mile away: con artists, used shoe salesmen and folks who create totally useless items.

We all know these useless items – as seen on TV! – they can chop, chip, slice, dice, clean, steam or make you svelte and foxy in the blink of an eye.


The Nana Saver is a waste of dough/Ryn Gargulinski

I’m one of those suckers for these gadgets, with closets, garage corners and drawers stuffed with such miracle stuff that promises to make life easier, breezier and much more fun.

Like the automatic banana slicer. While it sounds like a gem, this hunk of junk is basically a hard piece of plastic with slats you press on top of the banana so slices emerge. The slices end up more like little lumps and cleaning the thing takes triple the time it would have taken if you just sliced the damn banana with a knife.

Bananas seem to have a host of miracle items associated with them, such as the worthless but quite attractive banana holder, which is supposed to keep the fruit from rotting by suspending it a half-inch above the countertop on a tree-like pole, and the miraculous “Nana Saver.”

This small, plastic sleeve fits snugly with a spring latch over the cut end of a banana so it doesn’t turn mushy and brown. In theory.

I tried it once and found the cut banana rotten as usual and the Nana Saver two shelves down in the fridge where it had fallen after the pinched spring came unpinched.

Never trust a Nana Saver.

You should never trust anything that says you will instantly look younger, become firmer or lose weight.

The real deal to losing weight is a simple formula: burn off more calories than you consume.

The life-saving Knit Lite/Ryn Gargulinski

The life-saving Knit Lite/Ryn Gargulinski

Since that’s kind of boring and might actually take some effort, folks prefer to spend thousands of bucks on contraptions that promise flatter abs, a firmer fanny or biceps that rival Schwarzenegger’s, all of which can be achieved while they are watching TV.

Thankfully I have never fallen prey to miracle weight loss products – not even the Neck Slimmer, which looks like a fun, pump-action way to deplete the double chin – although I was once tempted, briefly, to invest in a Thigh Master.

The flashlight, too, pops up on all types of strange gadgets, like the item I recently spotted in the clearance aisle of the neighborhood Michaels arts and craft store.

For only $3.99, marked down from $7.99, you could own a set of light-up knitting needles. The Knit Lite, as the product was called, insures you’d never miss a knit-one-pearl-two beat all those times you are stuck in a dark cave or under a rock and have the rabid urge to knit.

Other ridiculous flashlight items include light-up pens, which are cool in theory but never sufficiently light anything enough to produce more than an illegible scribble, and light-up jester hats. Why anyone would need a jester hat of any sort is another issue altogether.

I must give a hand, however, to those little light-up trinkets you attach to dog collars to insure you can find your pooch in the dark.

True, it did make my dog Sawyer freak out to the point where he just stood there, unable to move, so he would have been easy to find anyway. But at least I could more easily keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t take off with my freshly and automatically sliced banana.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who has a lot of banana-related plastic items for sale. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail


Are you a sucker for impulse buys and creative infomercials?

What’s the most useless item you ever purchased?