Needful Things was a shop that sold cursed items to unsuspecting customers. The merchandise was sold by informing the buyer of its "positive" effects, never mentioning the ironic curse attached to the object. Mr. Needful never asked for money in return for the items, saying that customers "never pay here... not with money" (implying that the curses are the customers' form of payment).
The shop was successful until Rick, annoyed that Mr. Needful attempted to curse him and secretly jealous of Mr. Needful and Summer's grandfather/granddaughter relationship, decided to ruin Mr. Needful's business. Rick opened Curse Purge Plus! to remove the curses from the items while keeping their benefits using science and technology. Because Needful Things did not charge for its items, the inventory was soon cleared out and the curses removed, driving the shop to bankruptcy. After extensive work and modernizing by Mr. Needful and Summer, Needful Things became n33dful.com.
The negative effects only appear to come into play after an item has been removed from the shop, as Summer is able to use a monkey paw's three wishes without consequence. Other explanations could be that Summer has employee benefits and can get items free, or that she was affected and the effects just haven't kicked in yet.
Some items that the shop sold included:
- Aftershave that would grant the user female attention, in return for impotence. (Rick cured the negative aspect easily with a serum.)
- A golden microscope that reveals secrets beyond comprehension by making the user mentally retarded. (Rick removed the retarded aspect, then using it to create a curse identifying device.)
- A pair of running shoes that make the wearer the fastest in the world, but wearing them results in running nonstop until death. (Rick removed the negative aspect of the shoes.)
- A lifelike doll that threatens the owner. (Modified by Rick to do taxes.)
- A typewriter that writes best-selling murder mysteries, but eventually makes the murders happen in real life.
- A fox Boa that kills and skins the user.
- Beauty cream that makes the wearer beautiful in exchange for their eyesight.
- Boxing gloves that will make the user a boxing champion in 1936, trapping them in the same match for eternity.
- Needful Things is a reference to the Stephen King book by the same name, about a shop owned by the devil.
- Several n33dful.com products can be seen in the Rickstaverse game. Including a tablet, mobile video game, and a hoverboard. This means Mr. Needful's business has become very successful.
- The monkey paw is based off a short story by W. W. Jacobs in which the owner of the paw is granted three wishes. These wishes would come true in horrible, usually fatal ways.
- The typewriter may be a reference to the movie Stranger than Fiction where the author Karen Eiffel writes her books, which features the main character's tragic death at the end, on a typewriter and finds out that one of her characters, Harold Crick, is real and that his life was written out by her.