If you’re having a rotten day, you could possibly cheer yourself up by laughing at the epic failures of some of the world’s most popular companies. Here are some products whose existence can only be explained as “epic failures” or “very bad drinking binges.”
Frito-Lay Invents Healthier Potato Chips That Destroy Your Digestive System
While obesity is rampant, the mere prospect of not being able to freely gargle junk food is enough to kill our spirits much faster. In 1998, Frito-Lay attempted to provide a solution to this dilemma with WOW Chips, fat-free versions of its Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles, and Tostitos brands. The healthier formula was achieved with a fat substitute called Olestra, which added no calories, cholesterol, or fat to the products. However, while Olestra did leave the inside of your body without a trace, it left the inside of your underpants with plenty.
The WOW Chips came with potential side effects like explosive diarrhea, abdominal pains, and straight-up butt leakage. As hundreds of snack enthusiasts found out to their rectal dismay, eating WOW Chips was a literal crapshoot. One media frenzy, fast-plummeting sales, and an FDA-mandated warning label later, Frito-Lay quietly discontinued the WOW brand and buried their quest for a fat-free snack experience under various “Light” labels. After all, whoever buys and eats a bag of Doritos Light already hates themselves so much that pooping out their soul is probably a welcome respite.
Somewhere in the Frito-Lay headquarters, there’s a dark basement room where the executives in charge of the WOW chip project now reside. In every wall of that room plays the rest of that ad, which shows the guy rapidly disappearing into the horizon to the sounds of jet-engine farting and screams of agony. Once every hour, a large man enters the room and screams in the executives’ ears: “Not like this. Never like this.” And they understand their punishment perfectly.
Xybernaut Creates A Wearable PC That’s Like Wearing Your Actual PC
The start of the 21st century was a weird time in the field of portable tech. We already had modestly decent laptops and PDAs (remember those?), but even the most advanced mobile phones still looked like props from a 1960s sci-fi show. Everyone was clamoring for the next big thing in pocket-sized and/or wearable computer chicanery. Since the first iPhone was still years away, things got pretty weird for a while.
A company called Xybernaut introduced what should’ve been a game-changer in 2002: Poma, the first wearable PC. The Poma cost around $1,500, which was pretty steep, but still only about half the price of a high-end laptop of the era. Unlike the “smart” phones of the time, it was a real computer with a real computer’s capacities.
It actually did look pretty cool. That’s difficult to pull off with wearable tech. Even Google Glass made you look awful, and that was over ten years later! So why isn’t Xybernaut ruling our collective consciousness along with Apple and the other tech giants?
Well, they might’ve omitted a few tiny things from their puff pieces and promo shots. The base model of the device is a book-sized CPU unit, a head-mounted “monitor,” and a weird pointer thingy that you used in lieu of a mouse. As such, you could only really use it for rudimentary email reading and casual online browsing. To use it as a computer, you needed to include stuff like a wireless modem, a portable hard drive, and/or a special keyboard gauntlet, at which point you’re significantly less of a “portable computer person” and more of a “sad husk who has inexplicably strapped an entire computer to their body.”
Add that to the fact that the Poma ran slowly, even for a 2002 gadget, and its head-mounted display made it really difficult to keep track of what’s going around you. It’s probably no surprise that the product failed to make an impact. Xybernaut itself didn’t last too many years, seeing as its owners’ other business plans largely revolved around securities fraud and money laundering.