But in 2005, L.L. Bean launched a series of budget survival kits, most notably the handy Outdoorsman in a Bottle. It consisted of a water bottle, a blanket, a compass, a knife and a handy flashlight -- in other words, a pretty decent package for some emergency Bear Gryllsin'. It's not exactly a frivolous product if you're the outdoorsy type who could at any moment wind up stranded in some frozen wilderness due to a broken-down vehicle and no cell reception. You've got a compass to point you in the right direction, and a flashlight to shine the way. And the flashlight doesn't even need batteries!
Then, in January 2006, the company issued a hasty recall of each and every one of said kits.
The Horrible Malfunction:
The kit is actually pretty goddamned dangerous on its own.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
But there's no danger of the other disaster survivors not knowing where you got your stylish blanket and shovel.
Yeah, about the flashlight not needing batteries ... the Forever Flashlight was powered by a magnet, copper coil and some revolutionary shake weight technology so that you can recharge it by making a motion like you're jerking off a robot.
Wait, did we say magnet? And it's in there next to a compass, which works based on detecting the Earth's magnetic field, and stops working forever if it gets too close to a magnet? Yep! The magical flashlight rendered the compass useless.
You'll be lost, but at least you'll have a dim light that requires constant shaking.
And that magnet was very, very strong. Like "disrupt a heart patient's implantable cardiac defibrillator" strong. Which, incidentally, it totally could. The recall, by the way, stated that they would happily replace your nonworking compass. And for the flashlight, they'll send you ... a warning label you can stick on it telling heart patients to stay away. Well, hell, we could just write it on there with a Sharpie if that's all it needs.
If you're wondering, yes, the product was recalled before any injuries were reported. But keep in mind that implantable defibrillators are devices that can jump-start a failing heart if it stops beating, so you can imagine the lethal combination that could have resulted if the person's heart was already under heavy exertion from giving their flashlight a handjob.
"I suddenly care much less about this hurricane!"
For more head-scratcher items, check out 7 High Tech Products And Their Cheap Ass Ingredients. Or learn about the 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today.