Top Ten LOUSY Product Designs & other nutsy things

Doesn’t Anybody TEST Anymore?
(or maybe they don’t use their own stuff?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Top Ten Series

TEN of my [least] Favorite Things

A drawing of a woman surrounded by stuff - a rocking horse, a floor lamp, a trunk, a bowl & pitcher, a painting - wearing a hat with a price tag still attached
Life is frustrating enough for those of us with Alphabet Disorders (ADD / EFD / TBI / OCD / etc)

It’s adding insult to injury to expect us to PAY for lousy design that makes things harder still.

We can’t even boycott most of the time, because there are so few alternatives.  Whatever happened to “Form follows FUNCTION????”

Hate to be a hater, but . . .

COME ON! It simply can’t be the GOAL to frustrate the @#$& out of one’s customer base, or can it?

Scroll on down to check out what makes ME crazy (er!) — and I know I’m not the only one.  Let’s all get together and hang the perpetrators in effigy.

JUST in case you are starting to think I am getting grumpy in my old age, you can always jump over to my list of Top Ten Products I wouldn’t want to live without.  (I also say nice things in MORE Top Ten Products)

Down below – in the comments section – add your own “favorite” hatefuls – after you’ve primed your pump by reading about ten of mine.

Be sure to checkout the sidebar for how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>


And NOW for MY list of hatefuls
(time marches on, and my life needs help!)

1. Freezer on the TOP refrigerators

These had to be designed by somebody who has never opened a ‘fridge in a rush to cook dinner, and has CLEARLY never been the one who has to put away the groceries.  (Unless, of course, the Lollipop Guild  is in charge of product design and testing — or maybe ladies who live on smoothies and don’t believe in ice machines!)

Why is the FREEZER at eye level? 

Seriously. I grab things out of the freezer occasionally — I’m squatting in front of the refrigerator to locate something on one of the bottom two shelves almost every single day!  (Since the freezer part is generally smaller — make it a drawer, please — and DUMP all the ‘fridges that give us housemaid’s knee.)

2. Look-alike shampoos & conditioners labeled in teeny-tiny type

SURELY I am not the only human being in America who washes her hair IN the tub or shower.  (Pop Quiz: where is the one place on earth we can practically guarantee your customer won’t be wearing glasses?)

After washing my hair in “creme rinse” for a solid week (years ago – I’m a boomer!), wondering why my hair was suddenly getting “greasy” by mid-afternoon, I learned to take a big thick BLACK permanent marker and mark the bottles with a HUGE “S” or “C” — defacing your loverly design sensibilities in favor of my ugly functional imperatives.  Help me out here, please.

3. Jeans that stop just above the crotch

I would have hated them when I had an 18-year-old hottie body — now that I am (let’s just say, older than 18) you’ve GOT to be kidding!!  My motto is, “If you can’t move without exposing your butt crack, boycott the jeans!”

4. Pockets that aren’t really

What’s with the pockets that are so small that about the only thing you can put inside is the midget size of Burt’s Bees?? (For those who don’t know Burt, I’m talking about his lip balm — great product, btw).  At the VERY least, I need a place to keep my cellphone.

As for those pockets that are totally FAKE – may you be forced to keep track of a purse every single place you go for the rest of your LIFE!

While I’m at it, let’s similarly curse designers who don’t believe that women deserve the convenience known to the male half of the populace since the dawn of mass-produced clothing — the designers who omit them altogether.  There are more important things in life than looking two pounds thinner!  How vapid do you think we ARE?

5. Perforated notebook paper that is nothing but a tease

Why bother at all if I can’t tear a sheet of paper out of your notebook cleanly and neatly in under five minutes!?  Enough said.

6. Product packaging designed to fool me into thinking I get more

Cosmetic companies are the major offenders here.  Looking through the cellophane window into a cardboard box so large it is shamefully wasteful, I see a decent-size tub of product.

Once I get it home, it turns out to be a dab of product in a smaller tub suspended within the one that can ONLY be designed to trick me.

Yeah, I know the FDA or somebody forces them to tell us how much actual product is within their evil packaging, but COME ON!  (I know they know that most of us don’t know how much .33 grams is equal to in wrinkle cream!!)

7. MAGAZINE typographry

An impassioned plea to ALL graphic designers . . .

I realize that you are probably 19 years old and have eyes that can count the angels dancing on the head of a pin.  I’m pretty sure you just graduated from some hotsy-totsy design school at the top of your class, and that you have no idea that your elders on staff are too embarrassed to admit they can’t read what you come up with either.

Listen up! NOBODY else can read teeny yellow type over a photo that is, essentially, dark and cluttered – and few of us enjoy being forced to read a magazine holding a magnifying glass in our teeth, at-the-ready in case we get a wild hair to see what the caption says (see #4).

I am one of your many weirdo consumers who believes that being able to READ the captions is the prime directive — not how well your design imperatives conform to the latest School of Art and Design thinking.

I am ALSO someone who buys a lot of magazines (but that will change if a former relaxation treat continues to frustrate the be-jeezis out of me!!!)

8. Really stupid “helpful hints”

The ones about how to shelve books drive me particularly crazy. Those of us who actually READ have quite a few books on our shelves.  We want to be able to locate any particular one of them, easily and at will. Why shelve a book at all if it becomes an Easter Egg hunt to find it again?

We don’t care that top designers believe it’s prettier to shelve them by height – or color – or WORSE (really, I actually read this in two different magazines) — to cover them all in nice “quiet” book covers so they all look alike, match the decor and fade into the background.

Do these dingbats plan to ever READ those books?

Yet the magazines keep printing these dumb tips — don’t they read what they print?  Or maybe they don’t read anything BUT magazines!

To reprise something from The Top 10 “useless” things I’ll never get rid of

Far be it for me to pooh-pooh any idea that might reduce distraction, but whenever I read yet another dumb “tip” from yet another interior decorator suggesting shelving books so that they LOOK better, I want to send a letter to the editor saying,

Here’s a Tip for YOU:
Why don’t you just put ‘
Not a Reader’ signs on the bookshelves
in loverly frames, and decorate with something ELSE?!!”

Consider it sent!

9. Single-ply toilet paper

Really? What were you thinking?

If you insist on continuing to produce the hateful stuff, do us all a favor and put **LOOK SHARP – SINGLE PLY!** in huge bold type.  (Do I have to explain why?)

10. Headache tablets in containers with child-proof caps

We already have a headache or we wouldn’t have reached for your product in the first place!  Do you have to make it worse?

I once took a meat-saw to a bottle of aspirin when the cap refused to budge. Next time, I’m going after the maker of the caps!

(I know – those of you with kids are likely to object strenuously, but please take pity on those of us who do not have children in the house — couldn’t we at least have a CHOICE?)


YOU PLAY TOO: What gets YOUR shorts in a knot? (I am especially curious to hear from some of my MALE readers)

Once you’ve read “About the Top Tens,” (or even if you haven’t!), use the comments section below to keep adding to this list. Make sure you ADD your take on it – don’t simply type “ditto” — and don’t invalidate anyone else’s world view, please. ALSO, don’t get hooked on the “TOP” Ten part – whatever pops into your brain probably qualifies.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

23 Responses to Top Ten LOUSY Product Designs & other nutsy things

  1. Pam Augspurger says:

    Wrinkle free sheets that AREN’T! Even if I grab them out of the dryer right when it finishes, THEY ARE WRINKLED! Especially along the top hem. It doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little I pay for them, they all still wrinkle. If they would just not tell me they are wrinkle free, I probably wouldn’t care!


    • I feel your pain, Pam, and totally agree with your observation. Similar expectations mismatches drive me crazy – whatever happened to the idea of truth in advertising? In fact, if they did NOT say they were wrinkle-free, all they’d have to do is beat the others and we’d probably be pleased — and do their advertising FOR them.

      What really gets to me is when the sheet itself is smooth but the entire top border is a mess that no amount of hand smoothing – even hot from the dryer – can de-wrinkle. That’s the part you SEE – and it’s right next to your face.

      I paid retail for a pricey set of pristine white sheets with a beautiful (and deep) kind-of embroidered cut-work top border I thought would be stunning folded back over a burgundy blanket I had been gifted.

      And it truly was — SO worth the price for the pleasure of the look, I thought, UNTIL the first time I washed them.

      To keep from annoying myself awake at night forevermore (because I do NOT iron!), right up to the day I tossed them in the donate bin, I put them on “flipped,” tucking the mess under the foot of the mattress. Which also meant ::grrrrrrrr:: they ended up looking like a budget sheet from any big-box store.

      Thanks for taking the time to add to the ever-growing hatefuls list. Misery loves company



  2. Plastic packaging (electronics are the biggest offenders) that are sealed so tight you have to bust out the scissors and try to hack your way in without jamming a blade into your hand and heading to the ER for a tetanus shot. I read a good tip that suggested you use a hand-cranked can opener to neatly open these, but I’m afraid of destroying the can opener on that hard horrible plastic! Great post!!!! -Kate


  3. 1WriteWay says:

    Thank you for the ping-back and I love your list!! I agree with you on every single item, but the two that really stand out for me is #1 and #9. Recently we bought a bottom freezer refrigerator after years and years of threatening back pain from having to squat and stoop when using the old refrigerator. I love the bottom freezer. I open it maybe once a day whereas I open the frig several times that. When we first got it, sometimes we just opened the frig for the mere joy of it. And I hate single-ply! My hubby and I actually buy our TP separately because he likes Scott’s single-ply. I don’t see how it’s a savings when you essentially have to use twice as much to get the same … hmmm … support as you would from two-ply.

    One of my pet peeves is how so many products are black. If the inside of my bag is black and my cell phone is black and my wallet is black and my sunglasses case is black, I need a flashlight to find what I’m looking for. I try really hard to buy cases and covers in bright colors so they can be easily found, but sometimes there is no choice, at least now locally.

    Well, that brings me to another pet peeve. I try to buy locally but often wind up ordering items online because our so-called big box stores don’t stock what I’m looking for or don’t keep enough stock. I feel guilty adding to our carbon footprint, but maybe this is what I get for living where I do.

    Anyway, great blog you have here, Madelyn, and thanks again!


    • be right back – I’m losing comments, so I’m going to another screen to respond. If you see only this, I’m still typing
      Oh my – as I said on my reply to another comment (Kate and Britt) – a “worst-hateful” blog tour is clearly in the making. They responded affirmatively (you heard it here first!) WAIT – an eBOOK! Maybe a SERIES of eBooks: sort of a Chicken Soup for the frazzled and frustrated.

      I’m jealous of your ‘fridge — as a renter, I’m basically stuck with landlord specials. I did buy myself a small freezer, back when I lived in Manhattan. Since I cook once, eat many times, I never have enough freezer space. But of course, at half-size, it’s like a dorm-fridge. On my knees again (sung to the tune of that country ditty about the road — doo, doot-du, du-du-du — with a scowl on my face).

      Single ply – when one’s dominant hand is broken and one is snowed in, it’s especially unfortunate when some idiot stock-clerk mixed the single in with the double and the wrong kind jumped in your cart. (You try it with your non-dominant hand!)

      Moving right along to BLACKs. My favorite color, but for the insides of purses and bags? SILVER is the only acceptable color for linings. My friends used to refer to my giant shoulder bag cum tote as “the black hole” (although my tendency to “borrow a light” followed by absent-mindedly throwing it in my purse might have been their reference, come to think of it.)

      I’m not sure where you live, but I’m in a relatively large “mid-size” city in the US, and there isn’t enough gas in the WORLD to make “buying locally” good for the planet. I used to call first, but “press 1 for . . .” sends me right over the sanity edge every time.

      Speaking of edges – why-oh-WHY do the voice-mailbots make you listen to all the choices that might as well be “if you want to translate into Cantonese press seventeen” before they FINALLY tell you how to SEND the darn message at the v-e-r-y end of the list. Isn’t that what people really want most? (“Just hang up” used to be universal, but alas, no longer – do you think, perhaps, they are trying to keep us on the line long enough to trace the call?)

      Thanks for stopping by – and adding to my list! *** Give me advanced warning if you “Top-10-Tuesday” folk do a top-ten hateful. *** I will definitely want to play – we could start a movement!

      However, with all of my ongoing accountabilities, combined with the fact that I am now 3-months behind, thanks to the heartless gang of probable crack-heads who mugged me and stole everything, along with an ACTUAL tote with datebook and journal, as well as the aforementioned black hole with wallet (the one with the SILVER lining, more’s the pity), I have to work in dribs and drabs, build posts in advance and auto-post. So much, still, to put back in place, now that the cast is off.

      Thanks again for your contribution here – and for the blog-praise. (I’ll bet you say that to ALL the nice blogs 🙂 )

      Keep me in your loop, btw — I don’t always have time to make the rounds, so if you post something that fits with a post you see here, leave me a link in the comments and I’ll move it up (only 1 live link per comment, or my aggressive spam filter will trash you and I’ll never see it – I really don’t have time to sift thru the trash.)

      Have you SEEN the counter near the top of the right sidebar? Over a quarter of a million link-spam hits in the 2 years I’ve had Akismet enabled! (here’s a list – the top 10 grissly things we want done to each and every one of those who spam!)



  4. I’m the type who has never “fit in”…nor do I want to. What I hate is that everything is manufactured for appeal to the most common denominator. Anyone with a slightly different or discerning taste is just left out in the marketing cold.


    • I used to fit in, clothes-wise – back when I had to wear “corporate drag” and also when I was in sho-biz. Now that I work at home? Not so much. If it’s comfortable, it’s ugly.

      If it’s not ugly, I could never sit in front of my computer in my squeezed-in-a-portion-of-my-living-room office without wanting to change back into pjs. (And I do NOT want to have to change clothes first if I need to run out suddenly.)

      I’m not sure what common denominator they are attempting to appeal to (oops! to which they are attempting to appeal) — but I’m fairly certain I have little in common with most of them.

      Product-wise, I generally prefer to shop the junque stores – the ones that take old stuff and funk it up a bit. Better hunting there.

      I guess I’m lucky that the apartment I currently rent is one room too small for me – there’s not much more I could squeeze in here anyway.

      (I see a move in my future — but WHERE? I’m done with Cincinnati!)

      Thanks for ringing in – and “liking” the post.


  5. My newest one is everything that insists on a water filter. I bought a $50 humidifier and it required filters. The $20 filters need replaced every two weeks. This on a device that’s sole purpose is to produce steam. Now I use a teapot.


    • NO way! (and speaking of filters) – have you ever had one of those blimps that attach to the kitchen faucet to filter out all the beasties that will make you sick?

      Have you ever tried to wash your dishes in said blimp-enabled sink? I mean BIG dishes – pots and pans, etc., not just saucers and cups and silverware? IMPOSSIBLE!

      Now I am aware that some lucky dogs have room in their kitchens for a dishwasher, but still you have to rinse occasionally — and what if the dishwasher’s full? or something won’t fit? Good luck!

      What about the beasties on the poorly washed dishes?

      AND, as you so aptly pointed out – the filters need to be changed regularly. (I feel a llst of “10 MORE lousy products” percolated in my brain).

      Thanks for stopping by – and especially for leaving a comment and following. Back atcha’



      • It was a fun post. I follow fun people. My refrigerator has a filter that needs regular replacement too. It’s a $60 filter. I’m happy with tap water, I really don’t care about how it makes ice. I think Sears is more concerned about my $60 than whether my water is filtered.


        • LOL. As long as there IS ice, I could care less whether it is cloudy! Ya’ know, ONLY since I’ve finally had the good sense to live alone has the “go for ice only to find empty trays” recurring nightmare stopped.

          I lust after those amazing kitchens in the shelter-mags with ice-makers and other appliances that practically make your bed and deliver coffee on a tray.

          Alas, however, I am not of the top 1% here in the good-ole’ US-of-A who could afford even the kitchen-designer fees, but a girl can lust.

          btw- I do TRY to make my posts fun, but a great many of them attempt to explain the neuroscience of neurodiversity, so it’s a challenge. Fairly fascinating stuff, at least to those of us who are of the neuro-geek persuasion, but not exactly side-splittingly humorous — thus my T-10 breakouts every once in a while! I need more comic relief than anthropormorphic brain-parts can provide.



  6. Reblogged this on Illicit By Nature and commented:
    A funny read! Had to share it 🙂
    “If you can’t move without exposing your butt crack, boycott the jeans!”


    • I’m THRILLED! I’m never sure how my sense of humor translates (or whether ADDandSoMuchMore readers are ready for anything different from me).

      But there’s only so much science writing I can take before I have to let my wacky take on the world out of it’s box.

      I used to use my ADDerWorld blog for the crazier stuff, but the past 18 months or so have been so challenging, keeping up with ADDasmm is almost more than I can handle already. The other blogs have languished – and probably will have to be patient for a few more months. I’m dancing as fast as I can!

      Thanks again!


  7. Really enjoyed reading this 🙂 got me giggling! I HATE the child safety caps as well. The last thing when you have a headache is a medicine that is only going to give you a second headache before recovery.

    xx Louise


    • I’m not kidding about the meat-saw — I LOST it! Except for allergy/sinus nonsense, I *rarely* get headaches, so I am a big baby about it when I do (and I actually mean another word that starts with “b”)

      After I slashed the container in two, I had to find a new one –once my headache was gone and I calmed down, that is. (THEN I had to find a permanent marker so I would remember what the pills were, and that set me off again!)

      When I pick up my meds I always open the package at the window and request a cap change. They ALWAYS put kiddie-proof tops on scheduled meds, but they do have the other kind and will swap if you remember to ask (yeah, that’s the tricky part).

      Over the counter I’m stuck with what they sell, and I can rarely open the darned things sans agita.

      I’m extremely patient with people – THINGS should work!! (and you know I rarely use the “s” word)

      THANKS for the reblog, btw. You da’ BEST!


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