I don’t fly nearly as much as I used to and THANK GOD for that. Between the crazy skyrocketing airline prices, the TSA, the cancelled flights and having to put all your carefully measured liquids and semi-solids in those little baggies, I couldn’t handle regular/constant business travel like I used to do. There is one thing I miss though. I recently took a flight for a business trip and had a chance to re-familiarize myself with the weirdness that is the SkyMall. For those of you not familiar, SkyMall is a catalog company that specializes in travel related items, items that appeal to the business traveller and obscure crap that Brookstone is too embarrassed to stock. The SkyMall catalog is neatly tucked into the seat pocket of every airline seat along with the Airline’s rag of a mag, safety instructions for your flying can of death and the obligatory barf bag. Good company, eh? I would love to be a fly on the wall of your typical SkyMall planning meeting. I would imagine they all start pretty much the same way – with lower level administrative assistants wheeling in giant hay-bails of marijuana and reams of acid blotter sheets. Then all the execs get good and ripped and start discussing the upcoming book. How else can you possibly explain the life-size Sasquatch lawn ornament? Or how about the life-like, roaring T-Rex Wall Sculpture? And SkyMall is also the place for all your uber-nerdy Lord Of The Rings Bric-a-Brac – “One ring to look like a total asshat ordering this crap-ola on the airphone!”
I must admit, there are several SkyMall items I’ve stumbled across that have struck my fancy. At the top of my personal SkyMall wish-list is the pop-up Hot Dog maker. It heats two dogs and toasts two buns simultaneously. Now that’s handy. SkyMall has seized upon a particularly effective consumer situation and they’ve done it in a brilliant way. They cater to a completely captive audience who presumably has some level of expendable income because they can afford to fly. For every personal flyer who scrimped and saved and bargain-hunted to get the lowest possible price for their seat there has got to be one or two swingin’ dicks on expense accounts. And now they got ya! You are literally captive, strapped to your seat for the next 4,5, 6 or more hours. What are you going to do? Sure, I’ll flip through the SkyMall book and see what’s shakin’. Further, by this point, your mind is numb. You are now in the proper frame of mind and have the free time to truly consider the merits and uses for the College Logo Barbecue Iron or the Carnival-At-Home Cotton Candy Spinner. Why yes, an animated golf lamp would be just the thing to bring that level of personality to my otherwise drab office! Of course, the Sumo Wrestler lawn jockey would be the perfect accent piece for my suburban home. I will concede that SkyMall does actually carry several items that appear to be extremely handy little solutions for things like back fatigue and the pesky need to wind your watch. And one would have to drive all over the city to locate a Neck traction device that you hang from your door frame AND an authentic King Tiki carved table. With SkyMall, they are both just a phone call away. In fact, I may just consider the SkyMall when it comes to my Christmas list this year. One call and I can get my wife that combination sweater/blanket she’s had her eye on AND I can get Mookie the Latitude/Longitude Doormat that declares your exact location on the globe. Shhhhh – don’t give away my secret – only 196 shopping days left!