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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 08
Jun
2007

Buying Crap

What Max Reckons You can buy paper made from elephant feces. It’s called Poo Poo Paper. I know this because I saw it mentioned in DailyCandy, which is “the ultimate insider’s guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered.” At first I thought DailyCandy might be scraping the bottom of the hot, new, and undiscovered barrel when they reached for the Poo Poo paper, but then I read more and discovered a profound insight into modern consumerism. Here:

Kid 1: Wow. Look at that elephant. He really thinks his sh*t don’t stink.

Kid 2: Actually, it doesn’t always smell bad. Just yesterday I was trying out my new Crayolas on paper made from elephant poop.

Kid 1: Cootie alert.

Kid 2: No, no. It’s totally clean.

Kid 1: Keep talking.

Kid 2: So these people collect the dung, dry it out, and wash it, leaving fibers from the grass, bamboo, and fruits the little guy’s ingested.

Kid 1: Grody. To the max.

Kid 2: I’m not done yet. Then they boil the fibers so they’re super clean, add banana tree and pineapple fibers to thicken the paper, and dry it in the sun. You’d never even know it was made from caca.

Kid 1: Okay. Kinda rad.

You see the genius. Regular non-hot, un-new, and already-discovered people might think that paper made from elephant crap is kind of disgusting. But for that very reason, ultimate insiders find it hot. The selling point is the repulsiveness.

I think marketers worldwide will find this a pleasing development. Until now, they’ve been hamstrung by the need to make their products useful, or at least non-awful. But if leading-edge shoppers are willing to buy the opposite—and not just willing; already eagerly seeking such products out—then the doors are wide open. For example:

Consumer 1: Hey look, shoes made of razor blades. They actually inflict injury on you while you walk. What a stupid idea.

Consumer 2: Actually, some of the hippest Hollywood celebs are wearing these now.

Consumer 1: Keep talking.

Consumer 2: According to Variety magazine, there’s nothing hotter than leaving a little trail of blood spots from your mangled feet. The pain is what makes it outrageous.

Consumer 1: Okay. Kinda rad.

Incidentally, I noticed the slogan on the Poo Poo Paper web site: “WE TAKE THE ‘OO’ OUT OF POO!”. Following that is: “TM”. Someone actually came up with that phrase, then thought: “Gee, that’s some gold right there. I’d better officially register that before anyone steals it.”

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: "www.caffeinatedmuslim.com"
Posted: 4459 days ago

Shouldn't their trademarked phrase be something like "We put the 'OO' in POO?" That would make more sense to me because otherwise, if you take the 'OO' out of POO, you're left with 'P.'

Joel Kelly (#1517)

Location: Canada
Quote: "www.ingenioustries.com"
Posted: 4459 days ago

Okay, umm, hmmm... Total hypothetical here. Were one to, you know... well, *eat* the paper... could you then, maybe, make more paper out of that person's feces?

Because as of right now, my feces are pretty useless. Just seems wasteful to flush it all away, you know?

No, you probably don't. Never mind.

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 4459 days ago

10 bucks says this'll be the new Hot Topic import of the hipster teen scene. They ruined my favorite childhood film, next they'll take all the fun out of elephant excrement!

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: "www.MidwestRockLobster.blogspot.com"
Posted: 4459 days ago

It makes me wonder, who looks at elephant dung and thinks, 'if only it didn't have to go to waste...'?

Machine Man subscriber Michael Crider (#3054)

Location: Colorado, United States
Posted: 4459 days ago

Well, if you're going to make anything out of feces, elephant feces is the poo for you. Their digestive systems are remarkably inefficient for an animal that size, and leave large chunks of undigested plant material in them. Some smaller animals actual feed on the stuff. Babar crap is in fact so good 'n clumpy that some African children have dung fights - think Calvin & Hobbes, and you're not far off.

Ah, PBS. The memories.

kitty (#1326)

Location: Upstate NY
Quote: "sweet"
Posted: 4458 days ago

"Grody. To the max."

How 80s. What's next, neo maxi zoom dweebie? :~)

...

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 4458 days ago

You know, they talk about recycling, but this is rediculous.

Yoyodyn (#2480)

Location: TN, USA
Quote: "Yay though I walk through the valley of Gates, I shall fear no Windows."
Posted: 4458 days ago

Actually, this is not a new idea. Some wood companies have toyed with the idea of using cow feces to make wood and fiber board products. There was also a segment of "Dirty Jobs" (Discovery channel) where a farmer was making flower pots out of cow "left overs", they were biodegradable and actually provided nutrients for the plants, so you could just plant the whole pot.

Spencer (#2936)

Location: BYU
Quote: "I'm an X, Y-ing your Z!"
Posted: 4458 days ago

Elephant poo… that's totally AWESOME!!I need to get some of that for sure.
Thanks to max, I now have my life's calling: either to take the 'rap' out of crap, or the 'ee' out of pee. Although that wouldn't make sense; after I take the 'ee' out, I’m still left with 'p', so I'll have to work on that one. Maybe my slogan could be: "we take the 'ee' out of pee and add a 'w' at the front. WEE!”
I better work fast before my ideas are stolen. Thanks for the inspiring post!!

Burnt Toast (#3141)

Location: U.S.
Quote: "Who Burnt The Toast?!?!?!"
Posted: 4458 days ago

well, I have a crazy idea about advertising...Helmet corporations should try to make it rebellious to wear a helmet. Example, "Stick it to the man, wear a helmet (It makes it more dangerous to ride a bike)." whats sad is that would probably work

Farley (#2933)

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Quote: "YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!...thanks, that's all I wanted"
Posted: 4457 days ago

I think I'll buy some of this poo poo paper and print my resume on it. Yes, that's a good idea. So when the interviewer says Farley, I'm sorry your resume is crap, I can laugh and laugh. And later on, I can use it for my wedding invitations. They should make christmas wrapping paper out of the stuff. Someone send a latter to Santa. Wouldn't it be efficient using all that reindeer excrement for something? There are so many untapped business ideas in here.

Machine Man subscriber Marleen (#2741)

Location: Berlin, Germany
Quote: "I want more expensive shoes in one place than I've ever seen in my whole life."
Posted: 4457 days ago

Why are plant fibres that have not been digested by an elephant (but been THROUGH the elephant) better than polant fibres that have not been digested by an elephant (and NOT been through the elephant)? I don't see the point in using poo when you wash the oo out of it before you use the P(lant fibre) by itself...

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 4456 days ago

lol rad? I mean seriously Max? lol We take the oo out of poo. I did love the shoes made out of razor blades. How sad is it they truly would become popular if it was possible for a celeb to endorse it. And to answer Marleen. You can't have Poo Poo Paper with out the Poo Poo. Therefore you must follow the elephant around and collect his poo or else you'd just have plant fiber paper and who really cares about that? lol.

Sven B. (#2792)

Location: Paris, FR
Quote: "If you did not make it, don't try to fix it."
Posted: 4455 days ago

I think I'll stick with old-fashioned non-digested, by elephants or otherwise, paper.

As to aswer Marleen's concern, maybe the um... "harvesting" and processing costs of elephant dung are really lower than the processing costs of regular plant-fiber ? I don't know.

I really don't know. But, somehow, I'd rather have this idea originating from a profit-driven reflexion, than from some random guy idly watching elephants pooping on TV suddenly thinking : "Hey, man, look at that pile of shit ! If one were to tuen it into money, they'd be filthy rich ! Wait, this just gave me an idea..."

jakub_zulczyk (#3158)

Posted: 4450 days ago

hi im 24 yo writer from poland. the situation you had with the show heroes and the 'mind control power' it's very funny, because i had very similar experience too. im writing my second novel now, and one of the main characters is this very tall girl called Hope; i just fell out of my chair, when in one episodes of 'Heroes' Nakamura comes across a very tall Vegas strip-teaser, called - you guess it - Hope. I Hope they will forget about her soon too.

Peter Larkins (#2811)

Location: Sydney
Quote: "Never let logic get in the way of a good MKTG idea ..."
Posted: 4441 days ago

Heeey ... razor-blade shoes ... there's an idea ... I'm sure Paris or Lindsay would do it for a free 'line' or two ;)

Boris (#3047)

Location: Maryland, USA
Quote: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. Ia! Ia!"
Posted: 4437 days ago

Actually the idea seems very environmentally friendly...

Max, I just want you to know that you are amazingly funny.

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