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Products No One Wants To Buy

Despite repeated warnings of a slowdown, the American economy has stayed strong thanks to consumer spending.

One driving force behind that spending is the constant innovation by manufacturers to keep buyers happy. But not all consumer products hit the mark. Here are a few you'll never see on a store shelf.

Pap's Schmear! Gourmet Vitamin-Fortified Cream Cheese Spread
Tag line: "Makes your insides feel good"

Consumer survey field notes: Almost all testers reported a rich, creamy texture and a complex and vibrant taste. The most popular flavor was the vitamin E enriched light curry blend with fig. Also, all volunteer testers were men. Survey forms did not record a single woman tasting the product. These alternate tag lines were used to attract a more diverse sample, to no avail: "A Pap's Schmear a day keeps the doctor away." "Better than sex." "Nothing beats some cold Pap's on a hot roll."

Slim n' Shapely Support Girdle For Men
Tag line: "Get that V shape torso without breaking a sweat."

Consumer survey field notes: Very few men would agree to test the product. Those who did reported difficulty breathing, dizziness and abdominal pain. A similar device designed for women yielded no complaints.

Baby's First Haute Cuisine: Innards Selections
Tag line: "Start them with a clean palate."

Consumer survey field notes: Braised sweet breads with gorgonzola pureed with a port wine reduction was the most popular, followed by beech wood smoked chicken liver and gizzards in béchamel sauce with porcini mushroom polenta mashed into soft croquettes. Parents at the Whole Foods stores where we tested found the flavors balanced and robust but not overpowering. Their infant children were not as impressed. And the regurgitation that followed was borderline toxic. One woman claimed the smell burned her retinas.

Icy Hot brand Natural Male Enhancement Cream
Tag line: "No pain, no gain!"

Consumer survey field notes: Several testers broke into tears after trying the product. Other notable comments: "My privates are on fire! It must be the inches I'm gaining!" and, "It's much better than the pump. Now could you please pour the rest of my Super Big Gulp into my pants?"

Duel-Use High-Pressure Nail Gun/Water Pistol
Tag line: "Go from work to play with the simple flick of a switch."

Consumer survey field notes: A family-friendly testing ground with plywood scraps and a children's slide was set up in New York's Central Park. Police confiscated all prototypes before any responses to the product could be gathered.

Other products that didn't make it to the testing stage:

Beat The Blues: Safe And Effective Self-Mutilation Kit
Tag line: "You'll never need a safe word again."

Federal Reserve Bank Presidents Bobble Head Dolls
Tag line: "Be the first on your block to collect all 12!"

Disposable Landfill Smell Sequester System
Tag line: "Locks in the odor today — and lets it out after you're dead."

McCarthyism: The Board Game
Tag line: "Who would you sell out to save your reputation?"

Man-Eating Chicken Of The Sea
Tag line: "Look for the 'great white' can. And get a free shark tooth with every purchase."

Mike Wuebben has written several non-published works, including angry e-mails to former girlfriends and at least three book reports on the Judy Blume classic, "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing." Prior to that, he couldn't read or write.

If you really want to talk, send Mike an e-mail. If it's urgent, buy an industrial-size spotlight with a W stencil and shine it into the night sky. Mike looks up regularly to check his messages.

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