Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Wonderful Things Nobody Needs

There you are, trapped at 20,000 feet with nothing to do. Your book is read and all of your batteries are dead ...what do you do? Did I mention that the inflight movie is playing, but the audio comes through the left ear in English and the right ear in Spanish? Well, it does.

What I tend to do in these situations is to raid the seat pocket for any viable form of entertainment. Aside from an airsick bag and the safety placard there is the inflight magazine, which is full of destinations that I'm not interested in, people that I've never heard of and a crossword puzzle half filled in by someone who wasn't very good at crossword puzzles.

There is the another periodical that can often be found on U.S. flights: SkyMall. If you aren't familiar with SkyMall I'll try to explain it briefly. It's a mail order catalog full of all kinds of strange things that almost no one could possibly need. Brownie pans that are all edges, pendants designed to hold the ashes of a loved one and industrially designed adult pogo sticks are just the beginning for SkyMall.

Flipping through this catalog is usually good for a few of laughs. Recently I snagged a copy off a flight, went through it and picked my top 5 items that nobody needs. Keep in mind that these are actual products, and I haven't made any of these up.

5. Flashlight Slippers
This item is actually borderline clever. A weight sensor triggers a flashlight in each slipper so that bumping into things in the middle of the night will be a thing of the past.

4. End Table Aquarium
I just have a hard time imagining a room that would benefit from an aquarium end table. I do know of a bar that is built on top of an aquarium, so it's not that big of a stretch.

3. Gravity Defying Shoes
I can't recall an issue of SkyMall that didn't have a 2 page spread for the miracle gravity defying shoes. What's the miracle? There are springs in the 2 inch tall heals. I actually met someone, a frequent traveler, who purchased these, and he said it was the best money he ever spent on travel gear; I remain unimpressed.

2. Hot Dog Toaster
This is a toaster specifically designed to toast 2 hotdogs with buns. You'd have to eat a lot of hot dogs for this kitchen device to make sense. You'd be better off with a multi-function piece of kitchen equipment, such as a cast iron skillet.

1. Singing/Talking Elvis Bust
I can't really say a lot about this item beyond what you can gather from the name. Personally I think that it's beyond creepy, but I'm not one to judge people. Oddly enough this item has received 2 reviews, both which were very positive.

There are my top 5, though I'm sure they will change as new and wacky things are added into SkyMall. What are your most memorable things that you recall seeing in an airplane catalog?

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  1. Graham, great post! These products made me laugh out loud!

  2. Sonya, I'm glad that I could bring a little laughter to you. I'm always amazed by what gets into this catalog. There are things that most people would have never thought of, and that someone probably shouldn't have.

    There's a giant, inflatable, floating hamster ball for humans that they feature in the summer. I could never figure that one out.