SKYMALL!Posted: September 30, 2011
The 2011 Skymall Catalog Awards
(I hope you have all had the pleasure of perusing a SkyMall catalog. If not, please look it up online. I’m sure they have an online store. These awards will make a lot more sense if you have a sense of what kind of retail establishment they are.)
Most Eye-Roll-Inducing Item: Golf visor with fake, spiked hair. The ad promised me that I would be spreading smiles as I traversed the golf course, but we all know that all I would be spreading are eye injuries caused by violent, involuntary eye rolls, among populations who are not accustomed to them (namely: 35-65 year old country club members who take themselves and others way too seriously to have rolled their eyes in years). (Among pre-teens and teenagers, this sight would indeed cause eye rolls, but no injuries, as their eyes are in excellent rolling condition.)
Most Useless AND Ugly Item: (Note: this category had to be limited to the single most useless and ugly item because there were so many contenders for each category individually.) The Bashful Bigfoot Sasquatch Tree StatueTM I can’t really convey the awkward ugliness of this statue of Bigfoot peeking out from behind whatever unhappy tree you choose to afflict it upon. And the mind-numbing unnecessarity of it. (Even the word unnecessarity serves more of a purpose and is less ugly than this statue.)
Most Commonly-Used and Ineffective Selling Point: “Conversation starter.” From reading SkyMall, one would think that the world is largely silent, filled with people waiting desperately for the sight of some gag gift, “cute” statue, or “innovative” gadget to spur them into speech. My experience is that (1) people talk a lot without desperately jump starting conversations with gag gifts, (2) the kind of people who remark on your clever blanket that has a pocket for a remote control, a smoothie-blender attachment, and a hair trimmer that smells like lavender*, will find things to say no matter what. Take my Papa, for instance. He finds something to say to every single person, and people love it. I have a lot to learn from him about friendliness and taking notice of people, but I don’t think anyone’s knick-knacks are going to help me with that.
*not a real item. barely.
[I just got a really sad/funny/pathetic mental image of an awkward guy who is terrified of running out of things to say on a date and so buys a ton of the SkyMall trinkets and gadgets and ‘art,’ to protect himself from ever lacking a conversation starter. Sad guy. I want to give him a hug. ]
[I have a really active imagination, if you didn’t know that.]
Lest you think I’m unfairly picking on SkyMall, here’s a final two awards that might moderate my tone somewhat:
Actually Coolest Item: I might be in disagreement with a lot of folks, but I think the movie memorabilia, like replicas of one of the elven broaches from the Lord of the Rings, is really cool. More expensive than I would ever consider, but pretty cool, nonetheless.
Most Entertaining Free Magazine on Flights: SkyMall. The magazine that airlines provide that actually has articles and interviews and stuff is WAY less interesting and entertaining than SkyMall. So props to SkyMall for being the most awesome, kitschy, and fun (if a bit perplexing and ridiculous) magazine in the sky just by being itself.