Why most household gadgets are a waste of money

Forget the juicer - just eat the fruit. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Forget the juicer - just eat the fruit. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you're wondering about the cause of the torrential rain that was making news recently, I can tell you what it was. We've got a new garden hose.

A day or two before the skies opened and chucked it down we bought this thing – 60ft of tasteful yellow piping coiled inside a dove grey casing. The other half studied the drawings and set about putting the thing together, then drilled some holes and fixed brackets so it could be attached to the kitchen wall. Then he turned on the tap and was away up the garden steps, squirting and spraying with a big grin on his face. Happiness is a hose in your hand.

The following evening was sunny and warm, and there we were with friends, drinks in hand, to admire this bit of kit. Not that we were bragging, but it was special in a way. The other half has been quite the handyman in the past, but DIY has never been a passion, so the toolbox doesn't come out much these days. When it does, he likes a spot of recognition for his efforts.

As we filled and drained our glasses, murmuring our admiration, we got to thinking about other garden and household gadgets we'd acquired over the years. Most of them were a waste of money. Top of my list was the garden shredder which was so feeble it would have struggled to munch up a Weetabix. It could handle only the smallest of twigs and a handful of leaves, and it made such a noise I lived in fear of a knock on the door from the environmental health people.

It was about as much use as the leaf blower we once had. It was supposed to suck as well as blow, and ended up doing neither – expensively.

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Then I remembered the steam cleaner – with attachments – bought on the advice of a friend in London. I'd be able to see my face reflected in the floor shine; it would clean carpets too, and windows, grouting, baths, sinks, you name it. I used it once. It was such a pain to assemble, and then I got burnt when an attachment fell off as I tried to make the bathroom grouting sparkle.

One of our garden hose guests mentioned a posh coffee maker he'd had as a present. It came with little cartridges of different sorts of bean. It was supposed to impress, and he said it certainly looked the part but the coffee was nothing special. He's gone back to instant.

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This prompted a couple of the girls to recall the juicers they'd bought during a health and fitness frenzy.

They pulverised carrots with pineapples, prunes with broccoli, and other weird couplings. Yuck.

They said they not only tasted hideous, but cleaning pith, pulp and pips out of the juicer was the last straw.

Just eat the fruit and veg; the juice is in there anyway.

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