31 May 2011

SkyMall: I Must Have Been High When I Bought This

by Raegan Thurlow, Part-Time Fashionista; illustration by Mark Armstrong

Editor’s Note: In-flight magazines deliver captive audiences, of course. When you’re waiting for your plane to take off… and waiting… and waiting… and while you’re at it, waiting some more… and all your electronic devices are supposed to be turned off… and the guy next to you makes Charles Manson look like Gandhi… then your only mental refuge are those media snacks in the seatback pockets. Among them, of course, was the late great SkyMall, the legendary catalog of all things you never knew you needed. Raegan Thurlow usually writes about the fashion scene, but her take on SkyMall is so tasty, I just had to publish it. So please return to an upright position and prepare for take-off…

Before there was internet at 30,000 feet, there was shopping at 30,000 feet.

Apparently there’s something about feeling helpless and frightened that makes it easier to pry your wallet open. What’s $39.95 when you could die at any given moment?

How many times have you found yourself wondering where you should store your 24 watches? If the answer is anything other than “Never! Who am I, Madonna?!” then you need to get yourself a SkyMall catalog so that you can order the Watch Storage Case, a best seller from Gadget Universe. Just $79.95 in Cherrywood!

The SkyMall catalog is enough to make any inventor or consumer salivate.

Much like the impulse buy section at the registers of Bed Bath & Beyond, there’s a solution for everything you didn’t even know was a problem:

  • Sick of watching your handbag strap fall off your chair when you’re eating lunch at a restaurant? You need a magnetic purse holder that clips onto the table!
  • Got a case of the jiggly arms? Get yourself a Shake Weight and watch your fat decrease while your sex appeal increases (insert innuendo about the shaking motion here).
  • Cluttered closet? There are racks for that.
  • Need to store 2,250 CDs? There’s a storage tower for that.

America, the beautiful land of excess, is overflowing with goodies that need to be categorized, organized, and placed in a container that fits conveniently under the bed. SkyMall to the rescue. It’s like Mighty Mouse but without the theme song or the cape.

Meet the Parents introduced us to the idea of potty training a cat. SkyMall sells the Litter Kwitter that makes this dream a reality. Looking for a genuine Turkish bathrobe without the trip to Turkey? Hammacher Schlemmer lets you purchase these babies straight from the SkyMall catalog. Speaking of turkey, you can eat a turkey sandwich on a practically invisible clear placemat guaranteed to protect your marble countertops. And what’s to the left of the countertop? A cabinet? Guess again! It’s a trash chute that only looks like a cabinet!

The possibilities are endless, as are the marketing quips.

Looking through the catalog, one sees such phrases as “Better than Free,” “Turn Stress to Rest,” “Works in 30 Seconds,” “Affordable Luxury” and my personal favorite, “African Gem Cutter Makes $2,689,000 Mistake…Will You?”

Who needs People magazine, the breakup and diet showcase, when the answer to your household clutter, back hair, and arthritis issues can all be found in the SkyMall catalog?

So tune out the crying babies, the bruise caused by the drink cart ramming into your foot, the woman in front of you carrying on about how she should have been upgraded, the couple across the aisle from you on the verge of joining the mile-high-club, and dive head first into the catalog that looks inconvenience in the face and says “not on one of my 24 watches!”

About the illustrator: Mark Armstrong is a designer, cartoonist and illustrator with over 20 years of experience. His work has appeared on numerous book covers and in the pages of Congress Daily, Incentive, and Inside Counsel magazines, to name a few.

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By day, Raegan Thurlow works as a mild-mannered tech executive. At night, she dons a 100% cashmere cape and becomes a fashion writer looking to rip into trends for a living.

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