A company threw away thirty-five thousand pairs of shoes, because they were like bi-pedal whoopie cushions:
Customers complained that with every step, their shoes made the sound of someone passing gas.
The problem wasn’t the shoes–the problem was that they accidentally sold them to the wrong customers, who weren’t in the market for that particular feature.
If the numbers here are right, the shoes cost them about six to eight bucks a pair. I simply cannot believe that they wouldn’t have quickly emptied the shelves of them for much more than that had they made a minimal attempt to market them, as gag gifts, or a way to keep track of toddlers, or just for kids (of all ages) to annoy adults. Even without bothering to rebrand, or come up with a clever name (feel free to offer suggestions in comments), they could have gotten their money back with profit just by tossing them up on Ebay as is.
Heck, they might have even ended up with a whole new product line. They could have been partnering with the supplier who screwed up, instead of paying lawyers. It could go down in the history of accidental techological innovation, kind of like vulcanizing rubber.