This holiday season, it’s a tower of flowing chocolate, last year it was what? I don’t remember.

Every year at this time, I imagine a bunch of other similarly inclined people sitting down with a glass of wine (or spiked eggnog…yum!) to flip through the Sunday paper in search of the new *in* thing (I just confirmed this exercise with my co-worker Maria whp did the same thing last weekend). What catches my attention every time is one item so ubiquitous (see flyer for any discount retailer), you couldn’t help but notice it; something that causes me to ask “what the?” and “why?”. Now I am not talking about the really cool stuff (like the Xbox this year…is that too self-serving? Sorry). I’ll admit that in 6th grade, I simply could not live without an Atari and a Rubik’s cube. Those were cool (and sadly, I was not). What I’m talking about is that one gadgety thingy that you simply cannot imagine someone else buying. Or you aren’t really sure you want to know the person that does buy it (granted, many are for kids and there aren’t any kids in my household, but I have seen adults buy these things for themselves).


The problem seems to be that the means to market said thingy exceeds the brainpower to develop a thingy worth marketing.  And many of the hot ideas of the past may have looked like real losers on the development table (witness: Pet Rock) and ended up making the company some major bank. So I suspect that companies are willing to roll the dice every so often in hopes that their thingy could be THE thingy this year (witness:  George Forman’s “Lean, mean, fat-reducing, grilling machine”…hello, naming committee?).


But does anyone, anywhere really need a chocolate fountain? Someone please  make it stop!  It’s not just me, is it?


I am sure we will see if this is the thingy this year, and I am sure someone out there is going to tell me they hope they are getting one of these for the holidays (bring it over to my house, but just once, and then let me know in a year of you are keeping it in the garage). But is it really necessary for me to see a flowing stream of chocolate in every single advertisement I look at this season?

Comments (11)

  1. Chocolate fountains–like a dream come true. I need one for my desk. Yum! Now if only I could get chai out of that Keurig coffee maker, I’d be golden.

    Foreman has sold over $1 billion worth of grills, so maybe it is just you…

  2. Mark Tookey says:


    I can confirm it is not just you – chocolate fountains are everywhere. Bed Bad and Beyond had an aisle blocked with one the other week foaming chocolate all over the place, just in case you didn’t get the message from their ad!

    I’m surprised there isn’t a special edition Xbox with attached choclate fountain, or is that due for release Dec. 1??


  3. I agree with you! What’s wrong with a good old fashion fondue pot, or even melting some chocolate in the microwave!

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Richard, the Foreman grill is my example of when one of these crazy products works. I am actually just about to buy a new one because my little old one is past it’s prime.

    Mark-I think the XBox target market might like their chocolate in a simpler form. I don’t see them dipping strawberries into a fountain. : )

    WebtrafficJunki, now I love the fondue pot (I have two).

  5. Tim says:

    One thing my office certainly does not need, is flowing chocolate. And you’re right, those things are everywhere. Wasn’t last year the dawn of the home s’mores maker? (As a brief aside, I heard the makers of the Foreman grill just made the product, then went around looking for a spokesperson. Bang! The George Foreman Grill.)

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tim, I think you guys should just put one by the copy machine and then people can just toss stuff in. I was talking with a co-worker yesterday about it and we also came up with the s’mores maker as last years thing. before I was a home owner, I was probably a good target for some of that stuff (I do have a hot parrafin machine), but now I just think "where will I put it"?

  7. Chris D says:

    The chocolate fountain had me salivating when I saw it in the BB&B flyer. It is odd, but at least you would feel good the once or twice you actually used it…kind of like that Juicemaster machine we all bought for Christmas in 1999.

    The one head-scratcher that I see popping up this year is the plug and play plastic USB Christmas tree (link to one below). Is this the 21st Century version of the snow globe? Are 6" plastic and pipe-cleaner trees too passé? If we need plastic trees on top of our computer, lets go all the way: design some minature christmas decoration lights to run off of the USB port, so that we can "festivize" our monitors. Nothing says Christmas like multi-colored blinking lights wrapped around our (MS) Windows!

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ah Chris, thanks for reminding me about the Juicemaster. I used mine once and then it was off to Goodwill.

    Yikes, the Christmas tree is scary. Well, I guess I can take some solace in the fact that the picture shows it next to a mac. ; )

  9. One Louder says:

    We had day one of our Global HR Summit today (HR folks from around the world fly in to Redmond for the

  10. Jo says:

    Everyone that I have treated to the chocolate fountain wants more of it….I used it for my daughters graduation party from College, again for her engagement party, both times it made a big hit.  I brought it to work as a treat the week before finals for the students at the college I work at and they have asked for it to return for Valentines day…this time they will bring things in that they think will go with the chocolate flow….I can see it being used for an end of semester party at school and my son’s graduation party from High School….my fountain is not in the garage nor is it gathering dust anywhere else in the house.

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Jo – I can understand that. I think most kids like anything that has chocolate in it. Many of us don’t entertain high school or college students though. My tastes have changed a lot since I was that age.