Please, take this idea: Traffic Jam and the Push-up Jar

They say you should never shop for groceries when you're hungry. I think the same warning should apply when writing the "Please, Take this Idea" series. Today I have two food-inspired "appetizers" that I'm combining into one idea feast the same way I used to do at Applebee's with buffalo wings and mozzarella cheese sticks.

The first idea is for the millions of Americans who spend a significant amount of their time stuck in traffic. According to recent studies, 14 million Americans spend an hour or more traveling to work. In urban areas, commuters spend 42 hours a year sitting in traffic. Sarah Crow of the site Bestlife crunched the numbers and found that a 42-hour a year pace for 35 working years means 61 days (!) stuck behind the wheel.

Plus, in an unscientific survey conducted by me, I believe 99% of people stuck in traffic aren't happy about it (the other one percent replied, "Eh, I don't mind it. I'm a big audiobook guy.")

Now take these frustration stats and combine them with a hunger stat. It turns out 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day; which means there are a ton of people who are stuck in traffic with a growling stomach.

What can they snack on that would be tasty, healthy, and even relaxing?

Enter "Traffic Jam." This is a jam that you can use for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, dipping crackers, or going full bear style and just putting your paw right in for a scoop. The ingredients include things to mellow you out like blueberries, blackberries, and those things you always hear your smoothie drinking friends bragging about like "Maca" or "Chia seeds."

Fifteen minutes into the commute, Traffic Jam consumers are chill as can be. They're waving people on to change lanes. "Yeah, go ahead and cut me off, no biggie!" They don't even have the radio on. Just smiling, whistling away. They roll down their window and ask the guy next to them, "Hey, what audiobook are you listening to?"

Now, one concern with this product is what if people forget to bring the jar of Traffic Jam out of the fridge and into their car each day. Seems like something people would forget, especially those who are already skipping breakfast. The solution here is to create a product that can just stay out in the cup holder. I mean we are making meatless burgers and chips that taste like cinnamon rolls, there has to be a way to create a jam that doesn't need refrigeration. Or, honestly, seven months of the year in Chicago are spent under 32 degrees so it's really not an issue to keep in the car.

Traffic Jam can start out as a product only available in cold weather cities. Chicago. Milwaukee. Detroit. Build some regional hype first then take things national once you figure out the refrigeration question.

Another potential problem to this idea is I just Googled "Traffic Jam" and it appears that this name is already out there. But it is made by a brand called Amish Wedding, so maybe they'll never see your ads on the internet?

Push-up Jar

img_2277This next idea is for anyone who likes to make a sandwich and part of their process involves throwing on some banana peppers or jalapenos. Or anyone who likes pickles or olives. Any vegetable that can be stored in a jar of its own juices.

The problem with any one of these jarred veggies is once you get to the 50% mark, and definitely by the time you get down toward the end, you have to reach in and submerge your fingers in the juice. It becomes a kitchen carnival game. You grab one of the peppers but for the rest of the day everyone in the office knows you as ol jalapeno hands. You try to be polite, shake someone's hand, but they reply, "Eh, I'm all set."

The Push-up Jar solves this problem by acting similar to a bathtub caulk gun. There's a barrier at the bottom that you can raise with a push of the button so that your peppers/olives/pickles are always right at the top. You could go high-tech too with this product, have an app on your phone that activates the juice-raise and just hope your customers never stop to say, "Wait, why am I paying $300 for a jar of banana peppers?"

As always, both of these ideas are 100 percent free for the taking. If one of them works and becomes the next big thing, write me a check someday that seems fair. If it doesn't, or you face any sort of Amish backlash for Traffic Jam, unfortunately, that's on you to handle.

And if you'd like other business/invention/book/movie ideas, tune in the last Monday of every month. Or browse through some of the previous posts here:


Toothpaste for Breakfast

The Compound Shopper

The Supreme Court of Social Media

Undercover Covers

Search Bar: The Bar

A Few Ideas from Italy

Public Speaking on Airplanes

Medium Rare goes up every Monday morning. Next week I'll have a post either about the best email marketing/sales email I've ever received or one called, "In praise of the innocent prank." Thanks for stopping by and see you next week!


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