Everything you find at your local supermarket goes through rigorous testing to make sure it's tuned perfectly to make your tastebuds quiver. Sometimes, though, even really successful products find that they could be better. The latest example is Hot Pockets® brand sandwiches, the pseudo-calzones that filled your belly and warmed your heart after a long day at school. Now that you're grown up, Hot Pockets have grown up with you thanks to an extensive redevelopment process that brought in a better crust and higher quality ingredients. The final product may be ready to go, but we here at Funny or Die are more interested in the genius that didn't make it into the box. Introducing Funny or Die's Rejected Improvements, a new series that explores all of the ideas that didn't quite make the cut.
Hot Pockets Pockets
What's better than Hot Pockets? More Hot Pockets. Or at least that's what the Hot Pockets Product Development Team thought. They created Hot Pockets Pockets, which are just Hot Pockets filled with tons of mini-Hot Pockets. Early taste-testers described them as “way too chewy,” “absolutely ridiculous,” and “a waste of everybody's time.” While the flavors were spot-on, the addition of up to 100 mini-pockets per pocket proved to be pocket overload.
Thinking outside the pocket involves all kinds of crazy suggestions, but this one was terrible. Cold Pockets are just essentially Hot Pockets that you don't heat up. The pitch was based around the idea that everybody likes cold pizza, but the results were exactly what you'd expect: a mouthful of cold sauce and unmelted cheese doesn't please anybody. This one was scrapped after roughly eight minutes of debate, although they did hire Robin Thicke to create a catchy new jingle which became Blurred Lines. “I know you want it... Want a Cold Pocket...”
100 points for ingenuity here and -100 points for stupidity. Insta-Hot Pockets were supposed to be a new version of the sandwich that allowed you to crack a little packet in order to heat your whole Hot Pocket in seconds. It harnessed the technology that makes those quick-crack hand warmers work, but the food scientists couldn't figure out how to make those packets food-safe. Instead, they were just going to put a label on the box that says “Do Not Eat Heating Packet.” After several testers ingested the packets, the plan was immediately scuttled – although the packets were said to be both “tasty” and “toxic.”
Hot Pockets To-Go
As part of a Facebook contest, Hot Pockets put out the call for their biggest fans to submit their own improvements and the winner was the “Hot Pocket To-Go,” which was essentially a Hot Pocket on a chain. You attach the chain anywhere on your person and you've got yourself a portable Hot Pocket. The problem was, the port-a-pockets ended up attracting a lot of dogs while testers were wearing them out in the real world. Based on possible future insurance claims alone, the To-Go edition to-went away.
Would you eat a Hot Pocket if you didn't know what was inside? The majority of people said no, and that's why Mystery Pockets never made it to your grocer's freezer. It didn't help that the mystery flavors had nothing to do with the standard HP flavor-rotation. Shrimp and grits, kimchi fried rice, and Alabama Critter Pie were all on the menu and they did not go over well at all. The real mystery is who came up with such a terrible idea.
Fortune Hot Pockets
As you can probably imagine, Fortune Hot Pockets were just like fortune cookies with a witty paper fortune embedded right in the middle of the sandwich. Unfortunately, the paper just can't stand up to the rigors of acidic sauces and, by the time they were heated up, the fortunes just dissolved into the pocket. “You will come up with a much better idea very soon...”
Gucci. Louis Vuitton. Coach. Besides being globally-recognized fashion brands, what else do these companies have in common? They were all approached to make patterns for the outer dough of Hot Pockets. They all said no. In fact, out of 22 brands approached, only Karl Kani said yes. Look for Karl Kani-branded Haute Pockets® hitting stores in winter 1996.
Hot Pockets Institutional Edition
Intended for schools and prisons, these low-end versions of Hot Pockets went the other way from the new and improved Hot Pockets that you may be enjoying right now. Instead of better taste and better ingredients, they took advantage of federal dietary guidelines for prisoners and school children and filled those pockets with super low-cost ingredients like industrial beef trimmings and synthesized tomato essence. The cheese was made from hydrogenated wood pulp. The prisoners loved them. The kids did not. Hot Pockets Institutional Edition are currently incarcerated in a refrigerated warehouse far, far away.