Or they may figure out that Tidy Cat litter provides outstanding traction for cars stuck in snow. Astounded by their own ingenuity, they write enthusiastic letters to the manufacturers to share their discoveries. In return, they receive polite thank you letters, explaining that the companies plan to continue marketing Worcestershire Sauce as a condiment, Colgate as a toothpaste, and Tidy Cat as a cat box litter. If they're lucky, they'll also get a coupon for fifty cents off their next purchase. The companies do keep all these creative suggestion! s on file, often compiling lists of the alternative uses, which are then filed away, never to see the light of day again. The companies should kiss the ground that their innovative, think-outside-the box customers walk on. After all, polishing silverware uses up a lot more toothpaste than simply brushing your teeth does. Instead, hundreds of amazing uses for well-known products are foolishly kept secret from the American public.
So I contact the companies to obtain these secret lists. To me, it's like opening up the CIA's files. I also lock myself in the library for days at a time to research kitchen remedies, household hints, and folklore medicines. Then I test them all out at home. They're not only fun, but they actually work. The result is -- aside from a wild mess in my garage -- this encyclopedia of hundreds of outrageous, economical, environmental, and convenient uses for the hundreds of products you probably have in your kitchen, bathroom, and workshop right now. It a! ll adds up to a remarkable tribute to American ingenuity -- and my wife's patience.