Is this a Useful Gadget, Gizmo, or Just a Gimmick?

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Is this a useful gadget, gizmo, or just a gimmick?

Is this a useful Gadget, Gizmo, or Gimmick?

Have you ever noticed that when you go buy something, the salesperson starts rattling off all these whiz-bang features?

It can get confusing trying to figure out whether it's a useful gadget, a good gizmo or just a gimmick!

My friend was telling me about his experience of heading off to Bing Lee & Harvey Norman looking for a new oven.

Ovens at Harvey Norman

The salesperson reeled off all the "must-have features”.

  • Pyrolytic Oven...
  • Double Oven...
  • Catalytic Liners...
  • The choice of an Internal Grill Or External Grill?...
  • Do you want 1½ ovens?...
  • Toaster ovens...
  • Light ovens with a halogen lamp...
  • Steam oven or features...

After the salesman sprayed these features out like a fire hose, my friend went home with his head spinning trying to figure out which ones his wife would consider essential and what he's willing to pay for them. And, more importantly, which of these so-called features were just a fad or gimmick.

Now some of these features will help you cook better, while others are only useful for keeping up with the Joneses.

Let's face it, some of these whiz-bang features only serve to crank up the price you pay.

But what are you really paying for?

I have a vague recollection of seeing an ad on TV for some brand of car (clearly it left an indelible impression!). The voiceover claimed with excitement that you could sync your Google Play or iTunes to your car, as well as giving you access to your Facebook. What the heck?

Just what everybody needs, Facebook while driving a car!

This is what I consider to be a lame gimmick. I don't recall anything else about the car itself.

So I would have to say this ad did not give me any compelling reasons for handing over my hard-earned cash for this car. This is probably why most car companies are struggling to sell their cars. They have to make non-benefits into something special to get your attention.

I shake my head when I think of some of the fancy gimmicks masquerading as useful features that are supposed to add value to the user.

Years ago I was a Marketing Manager for a company designing & manufacturing sign-making machines.

They had spent years planning & developing to introduce a new engraving machine to fill a gap in the market. They found there was a dire need for engraved stainless steel instruction panels in the mining & manufacturing industry.

This engraving machine came equipped with the most powerful motor at the time. The cutting spindle could get up to an astonishing 15,000 revolutions per minute, so it just chewed through the hard stainless steel like a hot knife cutting through butter.

Engraving Machine


To say this engraver was blistering fast with grunt was an understatement. It could carve out 2mm deep alphabets in seconds flat, as compared to the old engraving machines which needed to take several passes to get legible characters. This new machine would reduce the engraving time by at least 5 minutes for each panel.

Not only did it have a spinning cutting blade which spun like a hurricane, this new engraving machine had another advantage. It had a much bigger engraving bed.

Engraving Machine

It could do 12 name plates on each sheet of stainless steel. So the operator could knock out more engraved plates before they had to replace it with the next sheet of stainless steel.

The trick was unclamping the 4.5mm stainless steel & sliding in the next sheet while the cutting needle hummed at a casual 1200rpms. Even though the cutting blade jumped out of the way when you swapped the sheets of stainless, it was still spinning above your hands. So you needed to pay attention & be careful to keep your hands out of harm's way. You needed to be mindful & watch the spinning drill.

So you get the picture. As long as the operator keeps his eyes on the spinning bit while they're placing the sheet, then it's an easy and safe process.

So this is where the dumbest feature I've ever seen comes into play.

Ok, are you ready for this?

As this engraving machine was being designed and made in Australia, it needed to comply with the latest legislation.

We were just about to release the engraving machines to Australian manufacturing businesses when we received a letter from some self-important government body, informing us that our engraving machine was in breach of anti-discrimination legislation.

Say what?

So after spending endless days going back and forth with bureaucracy gone mad, we finally received an explanation regarding the issues we had to address to get approval to sell our engraving machine.

They informed us that we had failed to add a Braille operating control panel and clamps which could be operated by visually impaired people.

We tried explaining that this engraving machine was not really practical for a blind operator.

Now before I get attacked for being insensitive to what vision-impaired people can achieve, in our wildest dreams we never considered or even imagined a blind operator using this engraving machine.

So let me explain ... 

Let’s go through the steps in engraving stainless steel name tags.

Engraving is a visual process.

You have to type in the text for engraving. Sure, there are ways to adapt this process for the visually impaired.

After engraving each sheet, it needs to be visually checked to make sure the spelling is correct and the engraving is deep enough, without sharp burrs. Rubbing your hand over hot stainless steel to check for jagged edges is not very wise.

My eyesight may not be perfect, but I can’t say I'd be too excited replacing the stainless steel panels. One false jerky move and your hand could be ripped to pieces by the spinning blade.

So you can see why we had not included Braille on our engraving machine.

So before we could sell this machine we had to redo all the switches and control panel in Braille on the off chance a vision-impaired person wanted to operate this machine.

Our engraving machines were safe & fast. But I wouldn't want to operate them while blindfolded as the risks were high.

Adding a Braille feature to an engraving machine seemed like a bit of a stretch at the time. It's highly unlikely that a blind person would operate this machine, but as the bureaucrat reminded us, if even one visually-impaired person out of a million people wanted to operate this machine then we were required by law to add Braille features.

To us, this was just a gimmick, but for this pencil pusher it made them feel as they were seen to be doing the right thing.

It’s easy to get bamboozled by super-amazing “can’t live without features”.

So if you're running a commercial kitchen, what options & gadgets should you be looking for?

I could list an impressive bunch of features for every piece of equipment we sell.

That may help you, but the real value we offer at Sydney Commercial Kitchens is our experienced sales team. When they make suggestions they are based on experience working in commercial kitchens.

So even though they know every kitchen is different, they understand you want to make profitable, delicious tasting food without the hassles.

We pride ourselves on helping you sort out how to benefit from using these gadgets and gizmos & advising on which gimmicks to watch out for.

Over the last 18 months, you may have noticed we have raved about combi ovens, blast chillers & vacuum sealers. We firmly believe every commercial kitchen needs them.

These are not just some fancy gadgets or gizmos and there is certainly no gimmick here!

To show how valued these tools are, we have organised a 2-hour cooking demo with a professional chef.

Come along and learn how a combi oven, blast chiller and vacuum sealer will change the way you cook food.

Your Commercial Kitchens Trilogy...

Using a Combi Oven, Vacuum Sealer & Blast Chiller Will Change the Way you Cook...

Your Commercial Kitchens Trilogy - Using A Combi Oven, Vacuum Sealer & Blast Chiller Will Change The Way, You Cook...

Here’s What You'll Learn During This Webinar

  • How a combi oven will increase your profits without the headaches..
  • Why a blast chiller is a “Must Have" piece of equipment in your kitchen...
  • How a vacuum sealer will help you keep your food safe & extend your food's shelf life...
  • How combining a combi oven, blast chiller & vacuum sealer will elevate what your team can do in your kitchen...
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