At the time, I think it was circa 1999, Mark picked up one of the seatback phones and dialed SkyMall's phone number to place an order. Those otherwise extraordinarily expensive phone calls were free, as long as you were calling SkyMall. Anyway, Mark tried to tell the customer service representative which item he wanted. The rep couldn't hear him and asked Mark to repeat the item by name, louder. Embarrassed, Mark did as she asked, but the rep still didn't understand him. Please say it again, she asked, and this time, even louder.
"I want to buy your nasal hair trimmers!" Mark finally was forced to blurt out, for all to hear.
I think of Mark every time I spot the SkyMall catalog beckoning from the seatback pocket, that bastion of bacteria and the occasional baby iguana. In those moments during takeoff and landing when my iPad must be put away, I can't resist opening up the catalog and, once again, being amazed at the superfluous and silly products being paraded before my disbelieving eyes.
On a flight yesterday, here are a few things I saw in the current SkyMall catalog. And all of these were in just the first few pages, mind you.
A $500 "luxury pet residence," aka, a cage for your pooch. It's made of "solid hardwood with integrated roller shades" and a "plush foam mattress." A Tempur-Pedic mattress for your terrier, in other words. And get this: Assembly is required. Seriously? I pay you $500 for a dog cage and I still have to build the thing?
|Does this luxury residence come with a doorman?|
First of all, the marketing copy sounds a bit judge-y. How dare they assume all moles are ugly and unwanted? Haven't they ever heard of "beauty moles," like Anne Francis used to wear?
|Anne Francis and her mole. Did she and Peggy Lee get them from the same supplier?|
Then there's Thundershirt, a "rugby" style shirt costing $40 to $45 that's designed to calm a dog's anxiety. I realize dogs, like people, get anxious. But honestly, that's what Xanax and cosmopolitans are for.
Anyhow, the Thundershirt's "gentle, constant pressure has a profound calming effect for most dogs when anxious, fearful, or over-excited. It is similar to swaddling an infant or to people with autism using pressure to relieve persistent anxiety." The shirt is supposed to calm dogs during thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety, general fearfulness, barking, jumping, and more. Oddly, there's no mention of coyotes or bears. I mean, if I were a dog and suddenly encountered a hungry coyote, I don't think a pressurized rugby shirt would relax me.
Have you ever bought something wacky from SkyMall? If so, did it do what it promised to do? Or did it leave you wondering where life went wrong?