On one of my last road trips to visit family in Texas, the key fob to my brand-new Prius slipped out of my hands somewhere east of El Paso — neatly wedging itself in the dark cavern between my center console and driver’s seat. An hour’s worth of frantic attempts to fish it out only succeeded in pushing the key up and under the floorboard carpeting where I could no longer reach or even see it. I took a deep roadside breath and reminded myself how lucky I was that (1) I was only a half day’s drive away from my final destination, and (2) my car only needs the key fob to be “within range” to start up and drive away.
My extended family had a good laugh at my expense once I arrived‚ but after they, too, tried and failed to extricate my key, it became clear to everyone that it wasn’t going to be removed from its hiding place without professional intervention. One $300 bill from the car dealership later (they actually had to unbolt and remove the driver’s seat), my dad had the bright idea to chop up a hot-pink pool noodle with a steak knife and cram it into the negative space between my seats in order to prevent a repeat occurrence on the trek back to California. It worked like a charm, and I drove around with those pool-noodle chunks wedged between my seats for an entire year — until I accidentally caught a rerun of Shark Tank that featured the inventors of the Drop Stop, a set of two unobtrusive, black neoprene seat-gap fillers.
The Drop Stop fits perfectly and snugly in the space between your car’s seats and center console — and attaches itself firmly to your seat-belt catch through the built-in slot. It moves along with your seat no matter how many times you adjust it, and the dark color renders it practically invisible. The Drop Stop can be squished and stretched to fit into any size car-seat crack, and I only remove mine once every six months or so to toss them into the washing machine. If it weren’t for the fact that they save my phone, keys, French fries, and change for the parking meter from being lost underneath my driver’s seat on a near-daily basis, I wouldn’t even remember that they were there. For those of us without cars who lose snacks or wallets or quarters between couch cushions — the Drop Stop is a godsend, too. I may actually buy a few more to put between my mattress and headboard, my iPhone’s preferred resting spot.