Have you ever bought something that turned out to be useless? It can be disappointing, can’t it? Well, have you ever thought about deliberately buying something that you know upfront will be useless? Would you pay money for that?

Your decision would probably depend on many factors. How about a thing which is so useless that its uselessness becomes funny? Some people might describe it as stupid, nonsense or rubbish, while others might see it as a form of stress relief.

We are talking about a useless box. It works on two batteries. If you turn on its switch, it starts producing a soft noise, then a little door opens. A plastic stick is then ejected, which turns off the switch. The plastic stick is pulled in, the little door closes, and the useless box returns to its calm state and its eternal uselessness.

Once you remove the batteries from the useless box, it becomes even more useless because its switch stops working completely. Surprising, isn’t it?

The useless box behaves like some people, those who enjoy the status quo and are not big fans of change. You move their stuff from one desk to another, and they put it back on the desk you moved it from. Some animals also behave like the useless box. You throw a stick and your dog fetches it, then brings it back for you to throw again. It’s the same act over and over, just like the useless box. You can play with the useless box for hours, increasing or decreasing the frequency with which you flip the switch. You might find that it helps relieve your stress. If you do, this proves that the useless box is not in fact completely useless, because it is helping you. Anyone who feels useless might think about this–if you are helping others in some way—for example, talking to a lonely person, taking care of an abandoned animal, or just saying hello to your depressed neighbour—you are not useless.