So for Australia and New Zealand, April 25 is extremely important to their sense of independence, in a "I fucking told you so" kind of way. It's what made Australia and New Zealand realize they'd be better off standing on their own two (four?) feet, while simultaneously being a day of respect for everyone who suffered through war under the looming authority of the British Empire. It's the equivalent of two teenage twins whose mother won't let them drive until she nearly kills them both in a drunk driving accident. Ooh, I don't know if it's possible to make an analogy that's even more depressing than dead soldiers, but I think I may have just done it.
The Museum of Failed Products
Janet Miller | For AnnArbor.com
It's fitting that the building dedicated to fiscally terrible decisions and the stillborn products of consumer capitalism is located 35 miles outside Detroit, Michigan. It's a warehouse owned and curated by a market research company that's filled with just about every miserable idea in consumer goods. It's structured similarly to a grocery store, with metal racks that hold everything from edible deodorant to push-up pops made of scrambled eggs -- a supermarket of failure.
What could go wrong with aerosol toothpaste?
Sadly, the public isn't allowed inside. The products are all collected and displayed exclusively for research and development teams to march up and down the aisles, making sure that their hot new idea isn't already a corpse from some other company. It's no surprise that products like Pepsi A.M. and For Oily Hair Only shampoo never had a long life, but it turns out that about 90 percent of new products fail, and only about 5 percent make it to grocery store shelves. A lot of them fail for weird reasons, too. Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman got a trip inside and found packets of gum that had to be discontinued in the 1980s because they looked too much like crack cocaine.
As a result of all the possibilities for failure in the market, the museum has a collection of over 110,000 different products that don't exist anywhere else in the world anymore. It used to be in Ithaca, New York, but because there just wasn't enough room for all the disasters they needed to display, they moved the operation to Michigan, where it's aisles and aisles of cautionary tales. Of course, all the discontinued products you miss from your childhood exist there, too. So if anyone in Michigan is up for breaking in and stealing some orange Bubblicious gum or Bonkers candy, I'll send you my address.
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