When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.
I could buy a fur coat, but not a real fur coat, because that’s cruel.*
Or I could buy the 20-foot animatronic triceratops from Hammacher Schlemmer and still have $650,000 left.
Receiving the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog always gives me pause. For example, on the same page that lists the triceratops, they list the hand fitness trainer ($29.95), the under seat rolling carry on ($99.95), and the cat’s phantom mouse teaser ($29.95), among other items. It just makes me wonder what they’re thinking, not just about the products — although I have to wonder, what’s wrong with a squeezy ball, a backpack, and a piece of string, respectively — but about why they put these things together on a page towards the middle of the catalog. Is there some secret internal logic to the product organization and display that I’m just not fathoming? This will keep me up at night, you know.
In fact, the entire catalog makes me wonder. First of all, who dreams up products like the specialized potted plant hand truck, the phototherapy hairbrush, the elliptical machine office desk, the extremely ugly remote controlled rolling beverage cooler, the two story inflatable black cat, or — honestly — any of the other products listed? (Sorry for so many links; it’s really hard to single out just a few of these amazing products.) Why does H-S think it’s a good idea to sell this stuff? And most of all: Who buys these things, and what are they thinking??
I will say, though, that in a future life I hope to write copy for Hammacher Schlemmer. For example, what could you say about the posture improving saddle seat (which looks, frankly, like guaranteed misery for every second of the victim’s seated experience)? Here’s an excerpt of what some talented ad copy writer dreamed up:
This saddle seat helps you replicate an equestrian’s healthy posture to reduce back fatigue and discomfort while seated. Its gentle forward slope shifts the pelvis forward and raises the buttocks above the knees, resulting in semi-standing posture that discourages slouching. [My thought: I imagine so! It would also discourage sitting.] … Unlike traditional chairs that can restrict blood circulation in the legs, the saddle seat does not exert contact pressure on the back of the legs, reducing muscle fatigue. [It sure looks like it’d exert uncomfortable pressure other places! I’d rather have pressure on the back of my legs, thanks very much. Also, reduce fatigue? WTF?]
It would take some true genius to come up with anything to say about most of these products, and yet each one has its own detailed, superlative-laden copy. Amazing.
I will leave you with this final product call-out. Without cheating and looking at the link, what would you say this is for, and how much does it cost?
*If you haven’t heard the live version of BNL with Weird Al on the accordion for that song, check it out now. No, the video isn’t great, but it’s what I could find.