Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
"First, there is the sequence where someone is shown trying to unsuccessfully impale the cap of a normal pen, which suggests not only a lack of familiarity with pens, but also the visual-spatial reasoning ability of a pot-smoking chimp."

There are people in this world who take incompetence to an art form. You know who we're talking about; people who cannot be trusted to use scissors, cut themselves to ribbons when they try to use a potato peeler, and cannot even use a blanket without help. How can such utterly incompetent people make a living in this world?

By appearing in commercials!

You see, for any task X (say, cutting paper), performed previously by using The Old Way (a paper-cutter, or for added angst, scissors), there is someone trying to sell you a new PaperSlicerMax3000 capable of doing the same thing. The new product has to be better than the Old Way if you want to convince an audience to throw out their old tools and buy new ones. All too often, the appearance of improvement is provided by showing the audience someone using the previous tool in a way so incompetent that it defies belief. What better way to advertise a new paper cutter than to show someone trying to use scissors and reducing their paper to modern art? Or, say, some idiot who cannot fold a map, to make GPS navigators look so much more efficient?

A popular format is to have the narrator say "stop wasting your time with conventional blankets", and showing a big red X or "no" slash over an invariably monochrome video of someone apparently having a lot of trouble with it, or someone tossing it down and shaking their heads melodramatically. Bonus points if these conventional products cost thousands less in the long run. Expect Bad Bad Acting to be used to demonstrate frustration.

Might be Truth in Television for some products and some users. In fact, many of these products were invented specifically for the elderly and disabled, people who legitimately could have problems with some of these tasks. The Snuggie, for instance, was originally meant for wheelchair users who often have problems regulating their body temperature - the design allows for the upper body and legs to both be fully covered without a corner getting caught in a wheel and without fabric bunching up in the back (which can cause bedsores). The incompetence factor usually arises when the item is marketed to a general audience and it becomes necessary to convince them that they can't live without these products. (This is frequently necessary in order to simply be able to provide the product to its actual target audience, who usually number too few to make it profitable to manufacture otherwise.)

Compare with The Power of Cheese, which is people acting incredibly stupid due to desire for the product being advertised instead of as a "demonstration" of a competitor. Related to Brand X, Cable-Satellite Mudslinging, and Side by Side Demonstration. May be used to cover up a Never Needs Sharpening flaw. Compare Deceptively Simple Demonstration, where the product is being used in a way that looks harder than it really is.

A Sub-Trope of Strawman Product.

Compare Viewers are Morons.

Examples of Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket include:

Uses In Fiction[edit | hide | hide all]

Film[edit | hide]

  • The acting career of the main character in Hamlet 2 is mostly limited to performing these roles in commercials.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Friends played with this. Character Joey Tribbiani is a struggling actor, and once accepts a role in an infomercial in which he portrays "Kevin", a guy who has trouble with milk cartons that are "flingin'-flangin' hard to open" (he rips one open while trying, spraying milk all over the place). But with the Milk Master 2000, he has no trouble. "Now I can have milk every day!" Later, Joey laments that his fellow cast members in a play tease him about the infomercial by asking him to open milk cartons ... and making fun of him when he can't do it.
  • 30 Rock when Tracy advertises his Meat Machine in order to show bread is bad: a woman picks up a slice of bread and reacts as if it burnt her fingers.
    • "Are you tired of your bread making you angry?"
  • The Snuggie, as well as its commercials, were parodied in iCarly with "The Sack".
    • The Snuggie was also parodied in Dueling Show Sonny With a Chance with the "Blarmie", the blanket with arms.
    • The funny part of iCarly making fun of Snuggies is that Nickelodeon advertised the Snuggie.
    • Even funnier, there's something like "The Sack" that actually exists, albeit with a different purpose. There's something similar that's marketed for people who travel frequently and would prefer a protective barrier between them and filthy hotel sheets.
  • Saturday Night Live gives you the Jar Glove.
  • Parodied and subverted in one episode of The Honeymooners: Ralph and Ed are trying to sell a multi-function kitchen utensil on an infomercial. They only have two apples, so they don't practice coring them. When they're doing the actual commercial, Ed, in full Cloudcuckoolander mode, doesn't bother faking having trouble with the normal corer, and finishes in less than five seconds. Meanwhile, Ralph spends several minutes trying to get the product to work, growing increasingly frazzled.
  • Mr Show
    • One episode featured a series of ads for products combining mayo and mustard in a single jar, like Hellman's Dijonnaise. In the end, a guy is shown missing out on the important moments in his life because the process of spreading mustard then mayonnaise was simply too time consuming.
    • An episode features Janeane Garofalo as a woman who simply can't organize the bags in her kitchen, shouting, "Help me!" at the camera. The solution is "bag hutch," a box to put bags in. The writers had to change the name of the product because "bag box" was already the name of a product that did the exact same thing.
  • Picnicface featured a segment called "Infomercial Plus" - an infomercial actor agency that offers people Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket in real life to make your infomercial even better! Highlights included a literal blanket-operating failure, a man unable to comprehend fruit and another utterly incapable of cracking eggs.
  • The Daily Show featured a segment on New Jersey planning to switch to self-service petrol stations by allowing its citizens to fill their own cars (up until that point having a station attendant do it for you was state-mandated). Ed Helms, in a move satirizing the interviewed labour union leader making some unfortunate statements as to why this switch was a bad thing, attempted to fill his own petrol and ended up strangling himself with the hose.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Parodied by You Don't Know Jack in one of its faux advertisements, which began with "Playing Solitaire on the computer is fun, right? But it's hard to remember all those rules!" The "ad" proceeded to hawk a fictional computer game titled "52-Card Pickup 2000".
  • In Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars, the molotov cocktail preparation minigame at gas stations suggests that Huang Lee would be a great candidate if there was ever an infomercial for people who can't efficiently pour gasoline into their gas tank.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in one of the Troy McClure/Dr. Nick infomercials from the earlier seasons of The Simpsons, which opens with Troy awkwardly squeezing an orange against his forehead for a few seconds before telling his audience that "Until now, this was the only way to get juice from an orange." Immediate cut to Homer who is, of course, in the middle of actually making juice this way.
  • An early episode of Squidbillies features a fake commercial for a fictional baby crib. It starts off with a woman apparently unable to cope with her ventriloquist infant screaming with his mouth closed, insisting with a lip-synch that wouldn't be out of place in a Godzilla movie, "There's got to be a better way!"
    • Another fake advertisement in the same episode starts the same way. This ad is for the Baby Death Trap, which apparently exists solely so the manufacturer can sue people who call the earlier product a "death trap" not for libel but for trademark infringement.
  • Clone High, where Gandhi and Abe advertise their knork by having Abe dress up as an old lady who complained that she could barely walk because of the difficulty of using two utensils at the same time.

Uses In Real Advertising[edit | hide]

  • The Trope Namer comes from the commercials advertising "Snuggie Wearable Blankets", which begin by showing a woman who simply could not make a standard blanket work. As said above, originally the blankets were created for wheelchair users who quite literally couldn't use a regular blanket, at least not safely. However, when able-bodied individuals find their blankets triumphing over them, it becomes logically painful. The best part of the commercial is that the "blanket" she's too incompetent to use is actually a decorative throw - in other words, it's about three feet long. No wonder she can't get warm. This was satirized in this Gag Dub video for the "WTF Blanket".
    • Apparently you can buy them for your dog! The commercial even has a small dog in a snuggie wearing glasses and reading a newspaper. Apparently they're trying to tap that incredibly small Mr. Peabody niche of glasses-wearing anthropomorphic dogs.
  • Cracked.com offers a few more examples in "As Seen on TV: The 10 Most Laughably Misleading Ads". Who'd have thought that capping a normal pen could be so hard? The commercial cheats by using a cap that is so chewed up that it's unusable.
  • Practically every food processor TV spot begins by showing us someone who shouldn't be allowed near a knife trying to use one.
  • "Are you still cleaning the old-fashioned way?" commercials ask, showing us the most haggard housewife in history struggling vainly and ineptly at a splotch on the wall.
  • There have been numerous ads for new ways to peel potatoes that begin showing someone nearly slit their wrists while they hurl inch-thick slices of potato around the room.
    • These commercials, of course, were made by people who had clearly never heard of potato peelers.
  • The spaghetti strainer thing that makes pouring hot water out of a deep pot look like brain surgery. Most spaghetti-cooker ads do this. It's especially ridiculous when they are clearly and deliberately pouring outside the reach of the colander. The best example would be the Pasta Pro.
    • The sad thing is, the Pasta Pro actually seems like a clever idea (one less thing in the kitchen to clean), but the execution fails spectacularly (Wow, it fits gas AND electric stoves? Amazing!). Not only that, according to customer reviews, there are numerous design flaws with it: The locking mechanism sometimes fails, steam can cause the lid to expand and become permanently stuck to the pot, and the red paint can flake off and contaminate the food.
  • The Ove-Glove ads begin with a woman who drops something supposedly because she's using one of those old-fashioned oven mitts, but anyone who's ever used an oven will recognize that she "dropped" the thing because she only used one hand. The commercial is trying to imply that she could have held the item securely with one hand if she'd only been wearing the Ove-Glove, but two normal mitts cost less than a single Ove-Glove. Meanwhile, the fakery extends in the other direction as a woman effortlessly moves hot cookies using her new Ove-Glove, and then one of her children picks up one of these supposedly hot cookies bare-handed and takes a bite! The Ove-Glove is apparently so amazing it also protects your immediate family.
    • One Ove-Glove ad has someone attempting to remove a bowl of hot soup from a microwave, barehanded. And by "remove", we mean "give the bowl three little tugs until it topples over the microwave's edge."
  • An ad for an egg-separator begins by showing the ridiculous difficulty of cracking open an egg without sending the contents everywhere, a skill most folks master by their second egg. The ad also has a woman biting down on a large piece of eggshell in her muffin, something easily picked out of any badly-cracked egg. A piece of eggshell too small to see during the mixing process will usually dissolve during baking, especially in acidic muffin batter.
  • The microwaveable egg container "Egg Wave" has a commercial that may have been the inspiration for the trope image. "Fried in all that grease? What a mess!" The incompetent egg cooker uses a pan filled with what must be a gallon of cooking oil, and upon flipping the eggs, creates a massive greasesplosion in the kitchen. Who cooks eggs in a that much grease?! Apparently, a thin layer of butter in a non-stick pan is just too much work these days. Also, you can microwave eggs in just about any microwave-safe container, all of which would cost much less than an Egg Wave.
  • Talking about eggs, the new Eggies egg boiling cups are designed to avoid the immense challenge presented by peeling hard-boiled eggs. Cut to a woman who's somehow removed half an inch of egg white from every egg she's peeled. The eggs look like Manuel Noriega's skin. The Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ spent several segments discussing the product and found that they were surprisingly difficult to assemble and use. And are you tired of peeling hard-boiled eggs all day? Get Eggies and you can be tired of cracking open your eggs and getting the fluid into the Eggies instead.
    • The really funny issue is that frankly the Eggies look harder to use than a typical egg. If you salt the water you boil the eggs in or immerse the cooked egg in cold water, the shell will usually come off in about three or four big pieces. Trying to pour liquid egg goop into the small opening looks like the more likely possibility to make a huge mess (which might explain why halfway through the ad, they start talking up the ability to add seasoning to your egg, and you start wondering why they can't lead off the commercial with the smart idea)
  • Touch & Brush, in which people point toothpaste tubes at toothbrushes, squash the tubes like they're trying to make pythons choke up the rabbits they ate last week (creating horrific pastey messes in the process), then use completely ineffective methods to get the remnants out of the tube. Who taught these children how toothpaste works?
  • Both Cable and Satellite TV sell their service by using utter incompetence to demonstrate the competitor's equipment. (Never mind that both satellite and cable have only one cable that runs to the back of the TV from the wall, and that the remote controls are virtually identical. The complications arise in hooking up the rest of the peripherals, like DVD players, game consoles, the sound system...)
  • A commercial for a mosquito repellent candle shows a group of friends trying to use a single tiki-torch-style mosquito repellent, huddled around it desperate for protection! Naturally, they use dozens of the advertised brand to protect their party.
  • The person in the Big City Slider commercial trying to make normal burgers simply should not be allowed near a stove. (Fun fact: that's Billy Mays with his sleeves rolled down. Apparently his superhuman abilities were dependent on whether his sleeves were rolled up or not.) Also, note how he goes on and on about how you can actually put stuff on your slider after cooking them with the BCS Machine. Y'know, as if you couldn't already do that with a slider cooked the traditional way. For extra fun, when he says "Clean-up's a breeze!" the magic hands use a paper towel to dab delicately at a BCS Machine that has clearly never been used, ever.
  • An ad for a device to unclog plumbing first shows a person trying to use a plumber's snake by repeatedly ramming it into the sink as though trying to stab the sink to death with it.
  • The commercial for a cordless soldering iron, which shows a man struggling to reach his project with a corded soldering iron, tugging futilely on the cord. He seems oblivious to the five feet of empty, perfectly-usable workbench space between the outlet the tool is plugged into, and the project he's attempting to work on.
  • An ad in which a woman, in an attempt to open plastic packaging, employs a chainsaw. The product in question was a clamshell package opener, which came in a clamshell package. Oh, the irony....
    • In all fairness, clamshell packages are so hard to open that bringing in a chainsaw to defeat those polyethylene forcefields is not that far-fetched.
  • The ads for those little rubber caulk spreader things show someone who doesn't have their product using their finger to spread caulk, because they apparently have no cardboard or tools of any kind; additionally, the caulk already looks like it was applied by a pack of kindergartners offered a prize to the one who could apply the most caulk to the bathroom tiles. Most caulk is in fact supposed to be smoothed out by finger. Even if you don't want to get your hands dirty, you can always use a latex glove.
  • The "Total Transformation Program", a "child behavior modification program" advertised just about everywhere, seems to be aimed at parents who aren't dealing very well with what sound like perfectly normal kids. "Have you tried screaming, punishing, pleading, and negotiating and your child still walks all over you?" Modern science has answers.
  • The "Perfect Brownie pan" commercial opens with a woman who can't seem to use a spatula when trying to remove what one can only imagine are cement brownies from a pan. She has apparently never heard of "greasing the pan".
    • Brownies can be cemented to the pan, in spite of the amount of grease used - which is why cooks usually line brownie pans and cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  • The containers that store inside each other. The commercial shows a woman trying to get a container out of a cabinet and ends up pulling them all down... well, she pulls 2 down and ends up violently pulling the rest down. This woman doesn't need new containers, she needs help.
  • The Covermate commercial shows a woman in an epic struggle with a roll of cling wrap. It then shows her pawing through a box full of lids for the "right" one - but watch carefully: the lid she eventually angrily rejects actually fits the container she's trying to cover.
    • On the other hand, plastic containers and their lids can warp after time. Doesn't make the commercial any less silly, but there's a grain of truth there.
  • The Shoe-dini commercials take this trope possibly as far as it can go; the ad shows people trying and failing spectacularly to put on slip-on shoes; in other words, they're unsuccessfully trying to put on shoes that require absolutely no physical effort to put on, besides moving your feet. They seem to be trying to force the shoes onto their feet without stretching the hole whatsoever; sure enough, the Shoe-dini is designed to stretch the shoe's hole, and said people have absolutely no problem using it.
    • To be fair, though, the Shoe-dini clearly has a specific target audience in mind, elderly people who have limited mobility issues due to chronic back and arthritis pain. As my grandmother can attest, even shoes that are normally easy to slip on and off, like loafers, can be a hassle to put on by yourself when you're not as spry as you were about forty to fifty years ago. And just how many other shoehorns have gripping clips on the back and can be easily extended and retracted as much needed?
    • Up until April 2010-ish the slogan for Shoedini was "It's not just a shoe horn, it's a shoe horn on a stick!" Apparently they realized just how clearly this shed light on their shoe-based incompetency presented in the ad (A great deal of shoe horns are on sticks already...). It has since been changed to "It's not just a shoe horn, it's Shoedini!"
  • Several ads, not all of them for coffee, take place in a Starbucks-alike where the customers are too stupid to read the menu and the baristas either too slow to comprehend orders in normal English or too rude and hostile to fill them.
    • And even a Denny's ad saying "Mr. Chino, I don't like your coffee, but I sure do love your pants!"
    • On the other hand, the Dunkin Donuts ad was for its coffee, and thus one of the many "No habla Starbucks" parodies that competing coffee chains use. Heck, "No habla Starbucks" was an early catch-phrase of Coffee of Doom.
  • AT&T's two phones ad. Using two Verizon phones to surf the web and talk on the phone simultaneously might not be a common task, but you'd think this guy was trying to juggle them, he drops them so often.
    • And the solution to his problem, as shown in the commercial? Is it a new device, or a service? No, it's the smug guy holding the phone for him. Apparently, the 3G deal is that AT&T provides you with a manservant who holds things for you, while Verizon doesn't.
    • The smug guy even admits that AT&T phones won't let you surf and talk at the same time either (not on the same device, at least) but "you just need two phones". And you can't accomplish this with Verizon's phones? Could someone tell me what, if anything, it is AT&T does that is supposed to make them better? "There's just no comparison". I agree, because comparing things usually need some form of distinct difference.
      • To be fair this is a distinct advantage of AT&T they use a modified specification that routes voice and data on to two separate channels, while Verizon (with the exception of their EVDO-Rev A and LTE technology)uses the general specification which has voice and data on the same channel.
  • Some older ads for Apple computers feature testimonials from supposed former Windows users who lack the most basic skills with electronics in general. One woman complained that she couldn't figure out how to turn on her Windows PC.
    • It was actually harder to turn on early Macs - the power switch was hidden at the back of the system, and somewhat difficult to locate and flip. This was later remedied by moving the power button to the keyboard.
  • Commercials for both Bing and text-message-based info service KGB show people who can't figure out Google. "There's sooo many links!"
    • The Bing example is especially silly, since Bing generally has as many links as Google. It even shows a picture of a Bing search with links at the end.
    • The Bing people also don't seem to realize that the point of a search engine is to find information, and not having as many links isn't exactly a selling point.
    • Also note that if you put in the exact name of what you're looking up, what you're looking for will almost always be the first link that comes up, probably over 99% of the time. If it isn't, it'll either be on the first page somewhere (usually toward the top, like the second to fourth) or what you're looking for doesn't exist.
    • And it all becomes even more hilarious now that Google is accusing Bing of stealing its links.
  • There exists a certain exercise device. It's a jump rope...but without the rope. According to the commercial, more people don't jump rope because it's too hard. It acts as if jumping rope takes a lot of skill and coordination. Apparently these people were so sheltered as children that they did not jump rope on the playground at recess. Later in the ad it claims that you only need to bend your knees. Let me recap. This is a jump rope with no rope and you don't need to jump. This abomination should not exist. Ladies and gentlemen...The Jump Snap.
    • This product might be hilarious, but the way it's being marketed on the Jump Snap website borders on the cruel. They're actually suggesting that people buy Jump Snaps in bulk and set up "fitness centers" where they can lead others in using the Jump Snap. Yes, in a recession, when millions are out of work and millions more are living on the brink of poverty, they're making it sound as if there's a huge unexploited market out there for fitness training, and that spending over $1,000 for what is basically a bunch of bicycle handles with Nerf balls attached is a good business plan.
      • Well, it is for whoever makes and markets the Jump Snap. They are selling something that people are willing to buy.
    • Coordination is part of the challenge of jumping rope. Not to mention, can't you jump in place while flapping your arms for free??
      • You can, but you wouldn't get the JUMP COUNTER or CALORIE TRACKER or PERSONAL TRAINER or THE ADJUSTABLE WEIGHT.
      • Zack Ryder was all over this one.
    • Isn't jumping up and down while moving your arms already an exercise called jumping jacks?
      • And if jumping jacks are too complex for you, you can remove the jump part and just bend your knees up and down in a squatting fashion. This revolutionary technique is known by fitness experts as SQUATS.
      • And if that's still too hard for you...
  • A minor example: An ad for Swiffer dusters shows a person using an ordinary feather duster... by pounding it up and down on various surfaces, kicking up an unbelievable cloud of dust. Has any one in history used a feather duster in this fashion? Except to film a stupid commercial or get back at a neat freak?
  • The Brazilian Polishop is infamous when it comes to this trope. We got people who can't use a toothbrush, to people who can't peel a fruit without throwing the fruit through the nearest window, to people who can't PUT A DISH OVER A COMMON TABLE.
  • There's a pic that made the rounds on gaming forums a while back: It was from a Best Buy, where the employees had affixed stickers to all the copies of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for Xbox 360 that cheerfully offered to "Let us install it for you!"
    • Presumably they mean the Xbox 360 itself. A process which involves color matching a trio of cables to your television along with a power cord and Ethernet cable and should take about three minutes, tops. Or if you have an HDMI cable, takes less than thirty seconds, ten of which are spent making sure the cable's the right way.
    • Dear lord, it's spreading.
    • Here's how these things happen according to my retail experience (I never worked for Best Buy though): Someone in marketing/sales came up with the "Let us install it for you!" thing for software to improve sales among the computer-illiterate as well as spread the Geeksquad name around the store, and the bosses thought it was a solid idea. Merchandising printed out a billion of those stickers and the bosses (themselves mostly computer-illiterate) said "Stick these on all your best-selling software." The store managers (generally computer illiterate) pass the order down. The younger kids and gamers who work at Best Buy (the real computer literate ones) would mention how it's a stupid idea to put them on console games, but the manager would reply "Whatever, someone from upper management is coming next week and they want to see stickers."
    • It won't stop. Now they're charging $30 for Play Station 3 firmware updates. For readers who don't own a Play Station 3, the update process is as follows: push left on the controller a few times until you get to the options menu. Select firmware update. Agree to terms and conditions. Wait a few minutes as Play Station 3 automatically updates itself. Apparently this is esoteric enough to be worth $30 if you can do it.
      • It isn't even that complicated. Usually when there is a new update available, the Play Station 3 will ask you to install it as soon as the system turns on, and all you need to do is agree to the terms and conditions.
    • This is actually stupid in a different way. Around the time that Modern Warfare was releases they added in the ability to install games onto the system which was extremely easy.
    • There are, however, some customers who do use the service, as demonstrated by it actually continuing to be offered, although the odds are low that it's due to the incompetence featured by this trope.
    • From a Geek Squad 'Sleeper Agent' (code name for former employees) who very much liked his job and still shops at Best Buy (college job), here's the scoop: Playstation firmware upgrades: Some people, remarkably, *don't* have broadband, or any, internet access, and such people will gladly pay $30 for such a service (some people even live in areas where only dial-up is available). As for the installations, it's quite simple: Some people actually ARE Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket, believe it or not.
      • Similarly, Best Buy's Geek Squad, or any electronic store that has a computer & electronic department, offers customers to do the most basic things like installing software, running virus checks, or just moving files from the hard drive to a flash drive for a pretty penny. Granted, there are people out there who really have no idea how computers work except the basics, but even then...
  • There's a commercial for a set of kitchen containers in which you can use each container as a lid to hold more food. Of course, you have to show that you just DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM in a regular flat-lid container. So they show a woman trying to put spaghetti into a normal container. She has, in complete knowledge that there is not enough room in the container, piled on about a quarter of the container's volume of spaghetti ON TOP of the completely full container, and then acts SURPRISED when it goes everywhere when she puts the flat lid on.
  • One of the lead up ads to the release of D&D 4th edition was to show gamers flummoxed by the current edition's complicated rules... bearing in mind this was an ad targeting current users of a product made by the same people as the new product.
  • Although the infomercial for the Ronco Miracle Blade III set features shots of actors doing exactly what you'd expect knives to do, like cutting a turkey, but the first shot shows an actress stabbing a tomato with an inappropriate knife and apparently hitting the artery.
  • My Li'l Reminder features an establishing clip of someone's senile grandma lost in a parking lot, trying to find her car. Not only does she seem to lack the memory, but also basic problem-solving skills to figure out where her car might be. But have no fear, thanks to this wonder-product, this little old lady too senile to have the faintest idea where she is or what she's doing is now free to drive a... Oh Crap.
    • That is, of course, if the product even works. Several consumer comments have complained that the play-back is so garbled and faint that they nearly have to shove it in their ear to be able to hear anything.
    • So, if people with memory problems remember that they have a Li'l Reminder...
  • The Powerjet commercial features a man who flies into a psychotic rage at the fact his self-serve car wash was cut short by the timer, rather than just putting in more quarters.
    • He could be out of quarters, but since most car washes have change machines for this exact purpose, it makes it appear that the guy shouldn't be driving.
  • Many commercials for fitness equipment show people who can't seem to grasp the concept of even basic moves like push ups and crunches, often with looks on their faces like someone has been torturing them.
    • Obviously those people can't even handle the basic concept of sitting up, considering they're doing it so wrong that it's causing them physical pain. These are people who shouldn't be allowed to handle their own finances, much less be allowed to watch TV unsupervised.
    • As Cracked mentioned in the article toward the top of the examples, the people shown in these commercials are generally the portrayal of how lazy people think they'll look while exercising than how they actually would.
  • An ad for the Wonder File insists that it's impossible to organize your papers, demonstrated by a woman randomly shifting papers about on a desk.
  • Dyson vac commercials actually avert this. When demonstrating the vacuuming pattern with a regular upright, then with the Dyson Ball (the one with the mega huge yellow ball wheel that rounds corners easier), the user of the regular vacuum actually does a good job of using the regular upright.
    • Which actually makes the visual improvement more believable.
  • There's now a new product called "Easy Feet." Apparently, now bending over to wash your feet is a horrifying task even for those lacking a physical problem to impair movement. Too Incompetent to Operate Soap might soon be a new trope namer.
    • The big problem is that the ad is really uneven. Half of the testimonials are marketing it as a spa product (it massages as it cleans and pumices calluses away!), and the others market it as a convenience product (for those who have trouble bending over, like the handicapped or overweight). The testimonials kind of blend and it just makes it sound like everybody is too damn lazy to lean over.
    • Also, they misspelled "heels."
  • And speaking of "Too Incompetent to Operate Soap," behold: Soap Magic!
    • Nowadays, these automatic soap pumps are sold with commercials that claim that people don't want to touch a germy pump. Ya know, the same pump that is filling your other hand with anti-bacterial soap?
  • Ever see a commercial for the automatic can openers? They do bring up the rather appropriate and apt example of an elderly woman with arthritis who'd have difficulty with a manual can opener, but then goes to show a woman in her late twenties, with no indication whatsoever of any joint problems gasping in absolute agony while using a manual. While there are reasons to have a motorized can opener with a magnetic lid catcher, at times it gets ridiculous.
    • Many products clearly developed for the disabled or elderly (stair-lifts, tilting chairs, incontinence pads) are advertised using a young (or certainly not elderly) and clearly perfectly agile actress. An article in 'Ouch!', the BBC's magazine site for people with varied disabilities, features an eloquent and furious article by paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson on seeing aids for wheelchair users advertised using models who are clearly able to walk. (Apparently, when you know these things- as the target market do- it's obvious from their posture and muscle development of their legs)
  • Ads for the new Windows smartphone boast how quickly and easily you can access their features. They compare this by showing us blundering fools messing around with their phones at the worst possible moments, like while coaching a kids' baseball game or dancing with a woman at a club. If you're this kind of person, maybe you have other problems than what phone you're using.
  • The ads for the "slob stopper." It's apparently a bib for adults. The commercial opens with a smiling man in a parked car pouring coffee all over himself, while the voiceover says, "Has this ever happened to you?" The ad goes on the show him wearing the product, then doing it again, sitting in the same parked car, apparently ogling a passing runner. And he never stops smiling. If you have enough of a problem with drinking in a non-moving vehicle, you probably need more than a bib.
    • If you're an adult and a cup is too complicated for you to use without a bib, then you shouldn't be allowed to go off unsupervised, much less drive a car.
    • The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest showcases another driving bib called The Drib, in which the guy is apparently too incompetent to eat period. First, without the Drib, he tries to jam the hotdog into his mouth and fails, pretty much looking like an idiot. With the Drib, he's even worse, flipping it vertical and hitting his Drib-covered chest with the hotdog. There's Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket, and then there's lacking the basic hand-eye coordination of a newborn child.
  • The Billy Mays ad for the Jupiter Jack shows a lady struggling to talk on the phone while driving. She struggles to hold it up to her ear with the shoulder, and drops it so hard that slides all the way across the car.
    • Yet another example of someone who shouldn't be driving, period.
  • As mentioned in the Cracked article, one of the worst offenders is the Tiddy Bear, a little bear-shaped piece of fabric you wrap around a seat belt to prevent chafing. While the product itself might have merit, one woman in the commercial says her seat belt makes it difficult to breathe. This girl doesn't need a Tiddy Bear, she needs a ribcage. Or to stop driving around in a red 1958 Plymouth Fury.
  • This trope is parodied in a commercial for Big Spot.com. It shows a bunch of people struggling with a yo-yo and has a (fake) product that bounces the yo-yo for you. It then cuts to Big Spot.com which is a service where people can get paid to test products.
  • An advertisement for the Pocket Chair includes a woman becoming frustrated with the "complicated devices" of a standard folding chair and throwing it to the ground in anger.
  • An advertisement exists for a brownie sorter or a giant cupcake-cake maker that is treated by the family as something as revolutionary as a cure for cancer, with the old baking trinkets so monotonous and boring they put the entire family to sleep.
    • Said cupcake commercial showed a group of kids trying to share one cupcake.
  • One commercial for Bounty paper towels shows a father and daughter drinking a milkshake and spilling it out of the cup and a woman putting spaghetti on a plate...by tipping the pot over onto the plate.
    • That's probably an intentional joke, since the ad is for the cleaning equipment, not the cup or pot.
  • A commercial featured a man sitting in a pile of twist ties. Only his head and hands were visible, he actually proclaimed "I'm *drowning* in twist ties!". He needs to remember to stand up.
  • Furniture Fix. The guy couldn't even get off of a couch without the product. Though to be fair he was kinda old.
  • There's this commercial for a computer-fixing company that shows this guy clicking his mouse hard for a few seconds before screaming "SON OF A-" and smashing his laptop to bits. Apparently, people are so dumb that they'll give up after clicking for a few seconds.
    • Admittedly this may be what we would LIKE to do regarding a slow computer, but still...
    • Anyone who works computer tech support will confirm this to be Truth in Television.
  • This advert for a cycle computer shows a rival being utterly flumoxed by a Brand X computer, which doesn't have a touchscreen involved. Bear in mind, most of these computers are operated by ONE button (with two or three more for configuration, which you can forget about after installing it).
  • A commercial for Rosetta Stone (A computer program that "teaches" you how to speak a foreign language) features a Japanese-American man who says "Thanks to Rosetta Stone, I can now speak Japanese with my parents". Apparently, this man was unable to learn Japanese from his own Japanese parents who would naturally speak the language fluently and could teach him how to speak it.
    • Two quasi-believable explanations: One, he wanted to learn Japanese to surprise them. Two, his parents live far enough away that trying to learn from them isn't practical (if they live in another city, trying to learn a second language by phone would be astronomically expensive.) The bigger problem is that English and Japanese are so culturally different (different sentence structure, different writing system, etc) it almost necessitates some face to face time with someone fluent, and Rosetta Stone just doesn't allow that.
      • As for why he wouldn't have learned as a child; he could have been adopted and he's trying to speak to his birth parents, or something along those lines. It's kinda silly in the context of the ad but not completely ridiculous.
      • Or they could have intentionally raised him monolingual to aid in his naturalization into American society, with the side effect of isolating him from them and their culture. It is done quite a lot for the supposed benefit of nissei. I believe Chinese immigrant parents do it, too.
      • There's a song about it by a Doris Muramatsu.
  • A commercial for "Slushie Magic" (A product that makes "instant" slushies by shaking a cup filled with juice and a frozen plastic cube) shows the typical shot of someone turning on a blender before the lid is put on. Ya know, something people learn not to do very quickly.
  • Used in the 'no to AV' UK campaign of 2011, showing students being confused by the concept (2:00 onwards), despite it being only marginally more complicated than the current system. Particularly apt that it's being taught to under-18s, who are deemed insufficiently mature to vote - many of the arguments put forward in that segment could be made against any voting system, mixing this in with shades of Hobbes Was Right as well.
  • Commercials for Glade Plug-Ins seem to think that women are too stupid to unplug an air freshener or some other device in order to plug in the device they want to use. Instead, the women wave the cord around with a confused look on their faces. The second situation is even more moronic, as the woman is doing this with a room full of kids who want milkshakes and she can't figure out how to unplug the air freshener or the toaster so she can plug in the blender.
  • This Australian commercial for a microwave cookbook shows a woman pounding at a digital microwave display in frustration.
  • Commercials for Bake Pops showcases people that can't operate cake but somehow can put cake on a stick with no problem.
  • In the ad campaign for Subaru's 2010 Outback, one commercial plays the aforementioned Snuggie commercial... until a man takes a crowbar to the screen and drives off in his Outback, accompanied by the words, "Maybe you should get out more." They eventually created a follow up featuring a Parody Commercial called "Lap 'n Snack", for those who can't ballance a bowl on their knee. It even had its own full commercial and Facebook page!
  • There's a product out there called the Broccoli Wad. Despite its name, it's really a band that you put on your dollars. Why someone would want to use it instead of a wallet or a purse is never quite explained - the only reason given is that it's "easier than a wallet" and that "wise guys don't carry their money in a wallet". Nevermind that you can't carry most stuff with it and that it's basically asking people to take it from you.
  • A commercial for AFN.net showed how convenient it is to use compared to the general internet, since it features conveniently organized information, while the man trying to use the internet in general was distracted and ended up looking at LOL cats. Of course, the man using the general internet might have been more successful had he not been banging his fists randomly on the keyboard...