Scott Simon reported for NPR's Weekend Edition about an Iowa company called "Doug Be'net" that sold only descriptions of items, rather than physical items. Customers dialed a toll-free number and chose from 24 monthly selections ranging from under $16 to nearly $40.
Simon reported, "All that exists of the items are those words. Doug Be'net is an inventory of ideas and adjectives rather than products. The company stocks no actual merchandise, and therefore, spends no money on manufacturing, consumer warranties or product maintenance." The company was said to have made $1.5 million in sales the previous year. Its primary market was "the same professionals who rent art movie videos and get gourmet food to go. Consumers with limited time but expansive tastes."
NPR subsequently received numerous calls from listeners interested in contacting the company, including one from a Federal Trade Commission employee who wasn't sure if it was a joke and wanted more information. The president of NPR at the time was Douglas J. Bennet.
The British childrens show Going Live told its viewers about a revolutionary new portable music player called "The Chippy" that would soon be sold in stores. Host Phillip Schofield said that it was no bigger than a credit card but could store hundreds of songs. And soon, Schofield said, such a device might be able to hold an artist's entire back catalogue. Plus, it could play back any song instantly. It achieved this by storing all the songs on a computer chip. Thus, the name. (The name had a double meaning, since in British slang a "chippy" refers to a fish-and-chips shop.)
Schofield invited viewers to call in and request a song for "The Chippy" to play, and thousands phoned the station. Toward the end of the show, he revealed that The Chippy was an April Fool joke.
BMW Canada ran an ad in the Globe and Mail announcing a new addition to its luxury cars: road warmers. Pivoting convex lasers mounted in front of each wheel would melt ice and snow on the road as the car was being driven. Turbo fans would then remove excess moisture from the road. According to BMW's press release, this invention would "virtually eliminate the need to clear your driveway during winter." The advertisement assured readers that road warmers would eventually become standard on all new BMWs, but until then dealers would install them on older models free of charge.
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