Today I decided to start a new column. I often find myself coming across things which make me wonder why would anyone think of them. It seems to me that rather than create things that people need, the consumerist capitalist society we live in promotes the creation of things we don't really need. People can actually live with very few basic things, if one thinks about it. But a frugal society would not be good business for a system, capitalism, which requires constant growth, and for this reason, there are people who are constantly trying to come up with things we don't need.
Most of the time, these things are things that are meant to improve upon, and thus replace, things that have been working just fine for people for a long time. And even though there wasn't really aything wrong with many of these things, someone, somewhere, thought it may be a good idea to try to "improve" them. A few examples of things pertaining to this category would be bottled water replacing tap water, liquid soap replacing soap bars, and coffee machines with prepackaged coffee cartridges replacing the traditional scoop and brew machines. These are actually the most pernicious type of products because they are meant to replace something we already use. For this reason, the new product might entice us to switch because it adds novelty and excitement to something we might perceive as a boring routine like using the old fashioned bar of soap.
Another type of products that we don't need are those products that we didn't even know we needed. These are what economist John Kenneth Galbraith called "created wants" in his 1958 book The Affluent Society. According to Galbraith, as societies becomes more affluent, private business must create consumer wants through advertising to entice people to spend more money that they otherwise would.
And so, with no further ado, as the first installment of Things We Don't Need, I present to you something from the category of things we didn't even know we needed: Rear Gear.
What is Rear Gear? Well, it is something that once you hear what it is, you will want to run and get one for each and every one of your beloved pets. According to the manufacturer, Rear Gear "offers a cheerful solution to be-rid your favorite pet’s un-manicured back side." In so many words, it is a butt plug for cats and dogs. I am not kiddin' you. This is something that your pets will also love. And in case you don't believe me, just have a look at how happy these little doggies are running around with their colored butt plugs:
Now, if you are seriously thinking of buying one of these things for your pet, you may want to get your head examined and I will gladly refer you to a specialist free of charge. I will not provide a link to the Rear Gear website, though, because I am sure the idiot who came up with this thing is counting on this kind of buzz to generate sales. If you really want it, or if you don't believe that someone could actually think of such a thing, you are going to have to search for it. And if you are thinking of stealing this great idea from its rightful owner, know that there is already a "trademark pending," or so it says on Rear Gear's website (by the way, isn't it supposed to be "patent pending"?).
Now that I think of it, there might actually be a group of people who could really use such essential gear: those pet owners who like to stick their face into their pet's ass. Thumbs up indeed.