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- The World War 2-era Blackburn Botha torpedo/patrol bomber, of which the government test-pilot's assessment began with the words: "Entry into this aircraft is difficult. It ought to be made impossible." The rest of his report consists of tearing multiple aspects of the design a new one in his efforts to show why.
- Nor was it just the Botha. Blackburn in general had had a long history of producing what one aviation writer called "damned awful to fly aircraft" which were also aesthetic horrors, and to the very end of the war it continued to miss the mark, turning out aircraft which were either lemons (not least the Roc, which was a slow, unwieldy fighter plane that could only shoot backwards) or which would have been astoundingly good if only they'd been ready three or four years earlier. It took until the 1950s for Blackburn to finally turn out an aircraft that was a winner in every way, but the Buccaneer had to wait until it was almost ready for retirement to show its mettle on the battlefield (in Iraq, 1991). Although given that its original design mission had been delivery of nuclear bombs onto Soviet naval strike groups and high-value shore targets, this is probably just as well.
- Perhaps the biggest of Blackburn's engineering catastrophe was the TB. Designed as a dedicated zeppelin killer, troubles finding a suitable engine lead to a plane that was slow, unarmed (beside the two canisters of incendiary darts it carried), and most gallingly, could not climb to the average crusing height of the zeppelins it was supposed to destroy. Only 9 TB were produced, all of them scrapped before seeing combat.
- The Christmas Bullet, brainchild of "Doctor" William Whitney Christmas. Famous for having wings that flapped like a bird (in 1918), however a bird's wings don't fall off. It cost the Army not one, but two prototype engines and killed its own pilots. To top it all off, "Dr" Christmas got Congress and the Army to pay for it. Christmas was a con artist and "the kind of man they write songs about" according to one author.
- Unlike the Karma Houdini above, the Brewster Buffalo and the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation did get what was coming to them. The Buffalo was slow and underpowered compared to the Japanese A6M "Zero". While the Finnish Air Force got the plane to perform, in the Pacific it was a Curb-Stomp Battle. To top it off, the CEO of Brewster Aeronautical was forced out due to mismanagement and the US Navy took the company over. He tried to get back in, only to be sued for his mismanagement. This was during World War II. The company ended its days making the F-4U Corsair under license.
- This happened a lot during WWI, with many planes designed with the gun right behind the propeller, causing the propeller to be destroyed by the aircraft's gunfire. Later designs would time the gunshots to pass through the propeller blades without damaging them.
- The Soviet VTOL fighter Yak-38 is considered so awful (unlike the Harrier it had two extra reactors used just for VTOL capacity that were dead weight once in normal flight, limited payload and troubles during hot conditions...) that it's said that when the Indians were planning to buy some of them for their naval aviation, the own Soviets suggested them to instead buy the Harrier. Also, that pilots pulled sickies to avoid flying the thing.
- The Bachem Ba 349 was basically nothing more than a wooden glider with rockets attached, launched off a tower in a manner similar to the Space Shuttle. Its only armament consisted of, yes, more rockets, though it's unclear what good they would do aside from bombing one's own base. The idea behind it was to create an aircraft that would be cheap to produce and required minimal training to fly, as by this point in WW2, the Nazis were becoming increasingly desperate as it became abundantly clear that they would lose the war. The only manned flight of the Ba 349 ended disastrously when the test pilot, Lothar Sieber, died trying to eject at near-sonic velocities. Despite the setback, the Nazis nevertheless commissioned 36 more units for use in wartime. After the war ended, most of them were destroyed, but a few remained preserved as museum specimens.
Computers and Smartphones
- The Apple III, released in 1980, was a disaster from the outset. Steve Jobs, insisting the computer should run silently, stipulated it could not have a cooling fan; the designers tried to achieve this by building the computer in an aluminum shell to act as a heatsink, but the long lead times on production of the shells meant they had to go into production before the motherboard was finalized, and they later discovered there wasn't enough space inside to cram in all the components. The excess heat that built up inside the computer would warp the boards, melt floppy disks and pop microchips out of their sockets. Apple's technical support actually recommended customers experiencing difficulties pick up the computer and drop it onto their desk from a height of six inches to jolt the chips back into their sockets. Apple eventually had to recall and replace the first 14,000 machines produced. Steve Jobs later said Apple lost "infinite, incalculable amounts" of money on the Apple III.
- The Coleco Adam, a 1983 computer based on the fairly successful ColecoVision console, suffered from a host of problems and baffling design decisions. Among the faults were the use of a proprietary tape drive which was prone to failure, locating the whole system's power supply in the printer of all places (meaning the very limited daisy-wheel printer couldn't be replaced, and if it broke down or was absent, the whole computer was rendered unusable), and poor electromagnetic shielding which could lead to tapes and disks being erased at startup. Even after revised models ironed out the worst bugs, the system was discontinued after less than 2 years and sales of 100,000 units.
- The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, released in August 2016 and discontinued just two months later. On the surface, it was a great cell phone that competed with any number of comparable phablets. The problem? It was rushed to market to beat Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 (which came out the following month), and this left it with a serious problem: namely, that it had a habit of spontaneously combusting. Samsung hastily recalled the phone in September once it started causing dozens of fires (to the point where aviation safety authorities were telling people not to bring them onto planes), and gave buyers replacements with batteries from a different supplier. When those phones started catching fire as well, it became obvious that the problems had nothing to do with quality control and ran to the heart of the phone's design. By the time that Samsung discontinued the Galaxy Note 7, it had already become the Ford Pinto of smartphones and a worldwide joke, with every major wireless carrier in the US having already pulled them from sale. Samsung especially doesn't want to be reminded of it, to the point that they ordered YouTube to take down any video showing a mod for Grand Theft Auto V that reskins the Sticky Bombs into the Galaxy Note 7.
In conventions, there are pros and cons. And then there's these, which are nothing but cons.
- DashCon was a convention organized in 2014 by and for community members and artists on Tumblr. The convention was first conceived the previous year after successfully raising $4,000 in donations. Approximately 1,000 attendees were present on the first day, only to see the convention descend into farce. Right off the bat, several high-profile guests cancelled their appearances due to not receiving their fees. This limited the highlights of the convention to include a 'ball pit' — a blue kiddy pool filled with colorful balls (pay for an extra hour in the ball pit) — and a bounce house in a large, mostly empty room. Even more outrageous is the emergency donation the convention had to hold in order to avoid being thrown out of their hosting hotel on the very first night. They successfully raised the $17,000 needed to keep it going, but it also led to speculation that the entire convention was a quick money-making scam (an assumption not helped by the hefty $65 weekend pass cost).
- Later, the organizers offered refunds to everyone who'd helped raise the $17,000, but it's unclear how many (if any) people actually got a refund. See, many of the people who helped raise money gave it in cash at the convention, and got no written proof of donating. At one point the arrangers said they'd just trust people to be honest and refund everyone who claimed to have donated, but as to whether they did it, that's a different story. Or to sum the refund question up: Now, over a year later, it's still impossible to find somebody who actually got a refund.
- The failures of DashCon have been chronicled on various websites, including KnowYourMeme and Daily Dot. To top the disaster off, there were rumors that somebody urinated in the aforementioned ball pit or people contracted crabs (genital lice) from being in the ball pit.
- You know a convention is a huge disaster when a) the restaurant Denny's makes fun of DashCon and b) people start cosplaying AS DashCon◊.
- In the Other sub-page in our Troubled Production trope page are some of the sordid details on how this disaster of event came to be and how badly it evolved.
- Las Pegasus UniCon, a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic convention, was organized in Las Vegas in February 2013. It promised to be a huge event with over twenty-two special guests from the show, including John de Lancie, Tara Strong, and several of the show's writers and musicians, and promised dealer room and artist alley vendors a crowd of over 2000 attendees. Held at the Riviera, one of the older and dumpier hotels on the Vegas Strip best known for its nude showgirl revues, it quickly became infamous for its overworked and underprepared staff, low attendance (estimated between 600 and 1200 attendees), lack of respect for the special guests (Tara Strong was served food she was allergic to and Nicole Oliver was forgotten at the airport), and cheaply made, error-filled convention programs (visible in all its glory here). On Sunday the convention collapsed totally from lack of funds, resulting in neither the hotel nor the special guests being paid for their efforts, vendors and artists losing money, funds earmarked to go to charity missing, and some ticket holders getting double-charged for rooms they thought they were getting for free. Organizers of other major brony conventions had to be called in to clean up the mess, and a fundraiser was held to reimburse the special guests so as not to burn bridges between the fandom and Hasbro. The event quickly became memetic, and not in a good way, and it pretty much killed any chance of there being another brony convention in Las Vegas. A more detailed account of the fiasco can be read here, with a first-person account from an artist alley vendor available here.
- Artist alley patrons were ripped off as they were offered to use the fictional currency Pony Bits. Eerily mirroring the scene from The Simpsons where Homer bought Itchy and Scratchy money because it was "more fun", people found out that they can't trade Pony Bits for real money because the organizers already left.
- BotCon has been the world's largest Transformers con for decades. BotCon 1996 was the first and only BotCon overseen by Men In Black Productions. Despite initial plans (and advertisements of) an abandoned Pulp Fiction theme, there was no official theme. There was, however, a celebration of the 10th birthday of Transformers: The Movie, including a screening on a TV and cake... but the VHS copy of the movie didn't work. And the cake had no forks, and the only drink was water. Attendees didn't get any lanyards or anything, identification was done with generic "Hi My Name Is..." stickers. These were of course easy to forge, but even that would be unnecessary since Men In Black managed to run out, leading to people being able to walk in from the street. TFWiki.net has more information here.
- RainFurrest is one of the most popular furry conventions on the west coast, based out of Seattle. However, the 2015 iteration deserves mention here. The convention was plagued from the get-go with characters too unsavory to realistically be described here, openly wearing all forms of fetish gear they were into, with one (in)famous person proclaiming "RainFurrest is a fetish con" to anyone who asked about it. It spiraled down from there, with plumbers on constant call due to "Used Objects" being flushed down, the hot tub closed off halfway through the con, and the fire department being called twice. And someone even tried to remove the smoke detector in his room, nearly getting the entire con booted halfway through.
The entire mess resulted in the Hilton that played host to the con to demand that all attendees leave by a certain time on Monday, and told con staff they were no longer welcome, and with the cancellation of the 2016 con left the fate of RainFurrest up in the air, possibly making this the last year for the northwestern furry convention.
- Haribo released a sugar-free version of their famous Gummy Bears, but despite the warnings on the packaging, people still had horrible experiences with it. The product either caused heavy diarrhea or flatulence, sometimes even Potty Failure, due to it containing maltitol, a sugar substitute that the human body cannot digest properly. If some of the reviews are true, then it even caused hospitalization. The only positive thing is that it works as an impressive colon cleanser and weight loss treatment. You can watch professional stunt eater L.A. Beast eat an entire 5-pound bag of it to predictable results here. It also led to many hilarious Amazon reviews.
- In 1996, the FDA approved selling food made with Olestra, a fake-fat ingredient that could completely replace the fats and oils in many foods. Unfortunately, the idea soon proved too good to be true. Olestra has a nasty habit of depriving the body of its ability to absorb vitamins and other vital components. It also came with a host of unwanted side effects, including abdominal cramping, gas, and loose bowel movements. Olestra is not approved for use in several countries including Canada and the U.K., but despite this, it remains on the FDA's approved list, and the initial warning labels were even removed in 2003. TIME magazine included Olestra in its list of the 50 worst inventions. It did eventually find another market though... as a firearms lubricant.
- In 2013, after the success of Blackout Haunted House due to its Refuge in Audacity and expansion to Los Angeles, a man named Russ McKamey organized an "extreme haunt" of his own named McKamey Manor, whose focus was to have its patrons "experience a real horror movie". Like Blackout, guests had to sign a waiver releasing the house of legal liability- except there was a huge difference. Whereas Blackout, while being physical and often having themes of sexual assault, at least showed concern for the patrons' safety, McKamey Manor hyper-focused on extremity to the point where very few people have experienced the whole haunt. For one, guests are in the haunt for four to seven hours, meaning they have to endure four to seven hours of extreme violence performed on them. They are also not allowed to leave at their own free will,note and are completely at the mercy of the staff until the latter decides to end the tour. People are often seen with bruises and cuts on them upon leaving, and even medical problems and injuries have been caused by the experience. When the trailer premiered on YouTube in 2013, it recieved almost near-universal negative reception, and reception from its patrons certainly hasn't been any better, with several people accusing it of "legal torture", not made better by McKamey's lack of concern. Despite this, the house still runs, yet its reception has only gotten worse. There are a plethora of sites against it and several petitions set up to close it down. You know it's bad when Blackout, which itself is far from a picnic, is seen as heavenly by comparison.
When we watch infomercials, we're never sure if the products are as good as they claim to be without a second opinion. While there are in fact several products which are quite useful and worth the price, these... aren't. Here are a few examples.
- The Infinity Razor claims to be a razor which never requires replacement or sharpening. In reality, it's an overpriced disposable razor that dulls quickly.
- The Steam Buddy is intended to dewrinkle clothes easily, and looks to be a cross between an iron and lint roller. If you like getting your garments wet and still leaving them wrinkled, then by all means, get one now.
- The MXZ Pocket Saw is an "An Seen on TV!" product that claimed to be able to cut through anything, including brick, glass, tile, and drywall. To its credit, it can... provided you have the strength and endurance of a dozen men and don't mind working at it for a long time. The commercial for it was deceptive to the point of false advertising: a careful eye could spot that several of the items it was supposedly sawing through had already been cut. As Attack of the Show demonstrates, it's not even useful for cutting through a lamb's head.
- The Package Shark is a tool claimed to be able to cut open clamshell packages. However, many reviewers say it doesn't work and they describe it as an overpriced razor blade. You know something's bad when it comes in the same kind of package it's supposed to open.
- Lampshaded on the packaging of the similar as-seen-on-TV product the Open-X, which really does work quite well.
- The Emery Cat is a cat toy that is basically a rest with an emery board on it and filled with catnip, advertised to prevent owners from having to clip their cats' nails all the time. A great idea... that's very poorly executed. The board is VERY flimsy and is easily breakable, the emery board isn't scratchable enough, a strong kitten can break off the "playful toy" mounted on the side and carry it triumphantly away, and the whole thing can just flip over very easily.
- Smooth Away is a hair removal system where the user takes a pink buffing oval thingy and rubs it against needed areas. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. The buffing system can remove dead skin cells, but not hairs, the whole thing can irritate, or even SWELL certain areas (such as lips), and the whole "exofilating skin" effect is actually done by leftover crystals from the buffer.
- HeadOn, which is known for ads being deliberately unclear about its purpose but considers itself a homeopathic medicine, is almost entirely paraffin wax. You would literally get the same result applying a candle directly to your forehead.
- The Pocket Hose claims to be an innovative water hose that is very long and compresses back into a smaller size once shut off. A novel concept that sadly has a wide variety of issues. The construction of the hose is made of cloth webbing and plastic, which means despite the retractable aspect, it's not as durable as a regular hose and it can easily burst open, develop holes, and/or leak a lot. Even worse is the fact that it's attached to two plastic levers. After a flood of negative reviews on Amazon, Telebrands responded by making a "3x stronger" version... which gained just as negative reviews. They then made another version which replaced the plastic connectors with brass. It still didn't change a thing.
- The Infinity Gauntlet oven mitt by LootCrate is a poorly-designed oven mitt that could burn one's skin. While stated to be resistant to temperatures up to 500 degrees, in reality attempting to use said mitt at 425 degrees will destroy the mitt and burn your hand, as stated in this example here. Thankfully, LootCrate is now recalling them due to these major safety flaws.
- The Italian Pokťmon-themed magazine Pokémon World in the years passed many iterations, many name changes and a Dork Age (which details are found in Video Games) that spanned for four years, but in recent times had issues twice:
- First, the last issue of the original iteration (which was renamed Pokémon Mania at the time). While the actual last issue of the magazine is the March 2014 issue, after that the entire team behind it was fired for no reason from the publisher which made a final "issue" with no experience on the matter whatsoever: All the multi-parter articles that were still going on from last issue were stopped and replaced with stuff blatantly copypasted from the web (including an article leaving in a "click here and wait for the image to load" line), the belief that "Flash Fire" is not the name of an ability but the new name for the Fire Pokémon type (as in, "Vulpix is a Flashfire type Pokémon"), a third of the magazine being occupied by a bunch of super easy trivia questions written in a large font in order to fill more pages than it should (to say, trivia quizzes like that occupied half a page when they appeared in the classic issues) and generally half-assed everything.
- After the accident described above, they made a two-issues comeback from a different publisher named Pokémon Mag in 2015, and later they came back in full strength as Pika Mania in 2016, under yet another publisher. But then, the Pokémon Mag publisher decided to revive its iteration of the magazine... and it's very bad. Not only it suffers the same issues as the April 2014 issue of Pokémon Mania described above, but gets even worse: they give news that are already old like they were the latest thing (the September 2016 issue explained how Pokéstops work two months after Go's release and talked about Solgaleo and Lunala as a brand new thing shown here for the first time, four months after they were unveiled) and the magazine also suffers of GIS Syndrome (many pictures found in the magazine either don't match the article - such as DVD covers in articles about the Trading Card Game - or are thumbnail previews taken from Youtube videos, not to mention that they keep using fanart taken from Deviantart, including fanmade Mega Evolutions and alternate forms being used in every issue, passing them off as real stuff). Also they keep giving aids on how to cheat at Pokémon GO, basically helping kids to get banned from the game as soon as possible.
- Maxim's 100 Cable Channels We Don't Want, for essentially the same reasons as AOL Radio's "100 Worst Songs Ever" list (see the horrible music subpage). Each channel's passage about it is completely uninformative and nondescript (i.e. The CW's passage reads "Name five CW shows. (This is a trick question. Your ability to answer will greatly affect your chances of being invited to our basketball picnic.)"), but it goes even further on its qualifications for being SBIH, as the passages are uninformative and nondescript if the channel has a passage at all; none of the channels between TBS ("Good for Seinfeld and Family Guy reruns. That's it.") and BBC America ("Doctor Who isnít very good. Everyone is lying to you. Trust us.") have any passage whatsoever, not even elitist nonsense (and no, the "joke" for HBO Signature doesn't count, since that wasn't formatted in the same way as the passages), and the last passage is for the entry after BBC America, Showtime 2 (never mind that except for the most insane cable providers, Signature and Showtime 2, along with the Plex and Encore sub-channels always come free with the main networks). Since these were the only ones after the 30th entry, that leaves 67 entries - approximately two thirds of the list - without a passage, and towards the end they call foreign language networks 'useless', when fans of those channels and natives of said foreign areas would definitely argue otherwise. At least the aforementioned AOL Radio list actually put uninformative nonsense next to every entry instead of giving up after the 30th entry. The entire article reads more or less like the author originally wrote it as "30 Cable Channels We Don't Want" but was contractually obligated to list 100, and as such pulled the other 70 entries of out of their ass. There are also numerous other flaws that are worth mentioning, such as how lazy the list is and how the "jokes" sometimes come off as elitist remarks (like SoapNet's passage, which says "Soap operas are perfect for people who donít know the Internet exists and/or canít afford a hobby."), but listing all the problems would practically warrant a page of its own.
- The U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares reached almost memetic status when it featured Amy's Baking Company, a bistro in Scottsdale, Arizona. The restaurant is a perfect example of how not to run a business in nearly every way possible. The owners are spiteful egomaniacs who believe everyone is conspiring against them and have no respect for their staff or customers. They've picked fights with customers who complained about the awful service they received, to the point where the police had to be called in. Over 100 staff members have been hired and fired since the restaurant's opening, many of whom were culinary school graduates who had more cooking experience than the owner. One girl was fired in front of the camera because she dared to question Amy (she was actually asking Amy to confirm the table the meal was suppose to go to). Sammy tried to defuse the situation by telling her that she isn't fired (which makes it the only nice thing he did in the episode).
They've also employed deceptive tactics such as stealing pictures of food off the internet to put in their menus and filling their shelves with desserts bought from other bakeries. Husband Sammy even confessed to pocketing every tip meant for the waitresses, an action that is illegal in the U.S. To top it all off, Amy herself is an incredibly incompetent chef, taking hours to poorly cook a meal for a single customer. To date, it remains the only episode in the history of the US version where Gordon Ramsay called it quits and left before he could even begin to fix the place. If you're wondering how they manage to get customers at all, it's because they are right next to a movie theater.
Since the episode aired, some customers have come curious if it's actually that bad. It is. In fact, due to the nearly memetic response, the show went back to the bakery at the start of the following season. Keep in mind that they dedicated an entire episode to revisiting Amy; this has never happened before as revisit episodes feature multiple restaurants. In this case, however, Ramsay did not come along, which was probably for the best... because it looks like nothing changed at all. In July 2015, Amy's finally closed, but the owners intend to go into other cooking-related ventures...