Million Dollar Ideas – 5 Simple Products That Made Millions

Have you ever watched television and an As Seen On TV infomercial or commercial popped up with something for $19.95 or $9.95? Of course you have. Did the commercial make you think that the product was the dumbest thing that you had ever seen? Did it then occur to you that someone would probably make millions of dollars from that one product?

I know that I have. One extra stupid commercial for the Bacon Wave got me thinking about some more dumb things that made people rich. I couldn’t resist putting together my own list of 5 dumb ideas that made people extra rich. Enjoy.

  1. The Blanket With Sleeves I have to start with the Snuggie. It’s a cheap, polyester blanket with sleeves worn backwards, that also has the effect of making you look like an extra in a B-movie cult film. The best part is that while the Snuggie might be popular, they copied the idea from a small business owner. We might laugh at the commercials (have you seen the Macarena one?) but the company is laughing all the way to the bank with something like 4-5 million sold. That’s at a price of $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Personally, I think they ripped off Yoda. Let’s not leave your pets out, because there’s a Snuggie for dogs too.
  2. Billy Bob Teeth Halloween is coming and costume stores will be popping up. You might have used Billy Bob Teeth to complete your costume without realizing it. This company makes teeth overlays to make it appear as if you have (usually) bad teeth. I want to slap myself every time I see these things because I know that they probably cost 50 cents to make in China but they sell here start at $9.99 here. Someone is wearing those fake teeth all the way to the cashier window, and it’s not me.
  3. The Pottery That Grows Ch-ch-ch-chia! You’ve seen the commercials. You spread some seeds on the outside of a figure (President Obama head anyone) or sprinkle them in a small pot, water it, and then it magically grows! Chia seeds are actually edible (maybe not the ones that come with your “pet”) and are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. You can find the seeds or chia flour at your local health food stores. A chia pet is about $17.99 at your local drug store. A pound of high quality organic chia seeds is around $15 retail. You get just a few ounces with your “pet” and they pay wholesale. By the way, those chia seeds will grow on just about any surface. Drop some onto a plate, add water and watch them grow. Man, am I in the wrong business.
  4. Slip ‘n Slide If you were a kid in the last three decades, then you know this one. It’s the Slip ‘n Slide. For those of you that have no clue what this is, it’s a long, thin piece of plastic to which you attach your garden hose. Somewhere in the plastic are little holes that allows water to escape and the plastic to get wet. You’re expected to take a running start and leap onto this wet plastic and slide your way to heaven. Well, not you, but your kid is. Now, I think of myself as a smart person, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of putting down a tarp, greasing or soaping it up to make it slippery, then setting my garden hose on it for hours of fun, but someone else did, and now they’re rich. I’m not mad.
  5. Oxiclean I bet that one surprised you, didn’t it? Do you want to know what’s actually in the stuff? It’s made from sodium percarbonate mixed with a bleaching agent called sodium carbonate (washing soda). And here I thought my dual biology and chemistry degrees wouldn’t come in handy. You’re thinking that this must be some magic chemical? Nope. If you own a pool, sodium percarbonate is the stuff that you drop in there to keep the pool clean. You can get bucket loads of it for cheap. When mixed together and dissolved in water, the two chemical form hydrogen peroxide in water. Yes, good ‘ole hydrogen peroxide that you have in your medicine cabinet and sprinkle on cuts. Hydrogen peroxide acts sort of like a bleach because it is a strong oxidizing substance. You can make your own version of this at home with the following recipe:
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup baking soda (or washing soda for really bad stains)
    • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
    • You can find washing soda at your local hardware store. Arm & Hammer a brand carried in Home Depot.

Someone is going to disagree with me for some things on my list, but it’s my list! Can you think of some more dumb things that made someone a heck of a lot of money?

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