Things that should NOT plug in, take batteries, light up, or otherwise be electrically powered

Light up spinning lollipop candy

Why are we making everything so unnecessarily complex? Just because we CAN produce and sell a battery, motor, LED light, painted toy figurine and candy (plus the packaging for all of it) for $1.99 doesn't mean that it makes sense to throw these things away after eating the candy. Do you even realize that workers in China spent a total of 2 hours making this thing you buy your kid at the checkout lane? You take home $30 for 2 hours work. How much do you think the factory paid the Chinese workers?

What follows is a partial list of consumer products that, I assert, do NOT need to be powered. I honestly can’t see much room to argue most of them.

There are dozens more things to list here. If you’re on board with me, add a few that you can think of in the comments….

The point is that these things don’t save you time or improve your life at all. In fact, they do the opposite.

If you gift someone a 12 volt plug-in travel coffee mug guess what else you secretly gave them?

  • An item that doesn’t match the rest of their mugs
  • Another lid to keep track of
  • An item that can’t be washed in a sink full of water (or dishwasher) but must be carefully hand washed to avoid damaging the electrical element inside
  • An extra cord to keep track of, or potentially two cords, one for the car and one for the desk
  • More reliance on the grid (instead of using a simple thermos, they now use a few cents of power to keep the same coffee warm)
  • Another reminder that our society shouldn’t fix broken things, just throw them away (and it WILL break)

People, STOP. The reason you can’t think of anything to give to your friends and family for Christmas or their birthday is because THEY LITERALLY DON’T NEED ANYTHING. Anything. At. All.

“No, we couldn’t *not* get them a gift, and, hey, look, this gadget is only $9.99!”

Buying it for yourself? Again, STOP. Your life won’t be better if you get a powered wine un-corker! Instead, you now have to keep track of the charging cord, make sure the batteries are charged when you need them to be, and REPLACE those batteries when they wear out after 4 or 5 years. What? It’s a sealed unit? Oh gosh, time for a whole new one then.

Your house doesn’t need a motion activated battery powered air freshener with expensive refills, either. You are just addicted to shopping. Stop CONSUMING.

Thoughts? Any more items to add to the list above? Post them in the comments.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kateohkatie on March 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Holy heck – YES!

    I can’t think of anything to add right now because my brain is fried from flying/travel. But I wholeheartedly agree with this post.


  2. I agree with most of the things on your list, but would take exception with three of them. If you are 72 years old, and have arthritis in your hands as I do, an electric can opener, electric mixer and electric knife all make life easier and less painful. I also would not care to be without my electric screwdriver/drill. BUT, I could live without an electric hair dryer.


    • A.G. you have a point there. There is a time and a place for some of the products I named which makes them worth working extra for and taking care of. There might even be an argument *FOR* every one of these things except the candy. But I do maintain that, as a society, we don’t even TRY to remember how to make things without batteries anymore. Baby dolls in the 1800s could make a “MAMA” sound without batteries. My See-N-Say in the late 70s spoke to me without batteries or electronics. We need to move swiftly back in that direction.

      Edited the year after I researched the history of “talking” baby dolls.


  3. Great list! I was at my parent’s home a few weeks ago, helping with lunch and was looking all over for the manual can opener. It took me a while before I realized they didn’t have one! I may need to give them one as a gift. We got an electric can opener as a wedding gift (25 years ago this year) and I think it’s still in the box! I’m thinking thrift shop may be an option after all this time.
    I will take exception to the electric stapler- only if used for construction. We have done a tremendous amount of work on our new/old home and the power stapler has come in handy when installing insulation in walls.


    • You’ll notice I didn’t go so far as to include power drills used as screwdrivers or power saws. We each have our own electrical weakness. 😀 I have driven 3 inch screws by hand before without pre-drilling the hole for them. I had to wax the screw several times to get it to drive all the way in, it took 5 minutes, I was almost completely worn out after 1 screw, and the screw-head was all but completely stripped. Some electrics help us enormously. Some are clearly dumb.


  4. Posted by leslie on March 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Battery powered fake candles.


  5. Posted by leslie on March 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    I love this post. And yes..I totally agree that half these things exist b/c people have a fear of showing up empty handed, yet the person they are buying for needs nothing and you don’t have a clue what to buy them. When did we become obligated to buy a gift for everyone, even if it means filling up their space with useless crap they don’t need????


  6. Great list! You have probably seen this already, but I show it to my students as often as I can get away with, as the message needs spreading that we don’t even question the unnecessary creep of electronics any more, or some don’t.

    If that doesn’t embed then go to:

    Electrical instruments bring such joy that they wouldn’t be on my list, but pretty much everything else – absolutely. I didn’t even know you could get electrically motored lollipops. One of the things that bothers me a lot is battery powered lights in children’s shoes; trainers AND school shoes. Of course they always want those ones, they are more expensive and the lights don’t last long. We have to ask the shoe shop lady NOT to bring any batteried-shoes in the right size.


  7. Clocks. Remember when clocks had faces and hands, but no cords? Remember when you had to remember to wind them? Those things still work, if you can find one of them. I’ve got a 100 year-old-clock on the wall, made in a country that no longer exists. It’s beautiful to look at, and it chimes nicely too. Yes, it takes some practice to remember to wind clocks. But they don’t break easily and don’t rely on the grid.


  8. Posted by Ozarkhomesteader on April 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Great post. ‘Nuff said. 🙂


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