Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Junk mail round up Vol 3 - SkyMall Edition

Domestic air travel in America is great. I mean REALLY great. They have hundreds of different airlines all offering different prices at different times of the day, which means you never know if you're getting the best price or being completely ripped off - it's all very exciting. Buying an airline ticket in America is just like gambling, except instead of betting $200 on black with a 50 per cent chance of return, you're putting it all on an aisle seat from New York to Boston which may or may not return due to bad weather. On the plane things get even better - firstly they make you wait in your seat, sometimes up to an hour or even MORE if you're lucky, because flights are ALWAYS delayed in America (I think it's part of their constitution, right after the bit about the right to bear arms.) When you finally take off they throw packets of weird sugary, salty peanuts and pretzels at you and then every second person in the plane reclines their seat to the absolute maximum and traps you in your seat for the rest of the flight (I think this is in the constitution too). This also means you won't be able to put your tray table down when the meal comes out, but they will have run out of the chicken by the time they get to you anyway so that's ok. Then when you touch down you'll realise the airport you've arrived at is a $70 taxi ride away from the centre of town and your hotel, which is about half what you paid to fly there in the first place.

Yep, us Aussies sure are missing out, with our efficient service, friendly staff and good food. But where Australian air travel REALLY loses out to the yanks is in flight shopping. More particularly, the in flight shopping bible that is SkyMall.

SkyMall is a 300 page chunk of junk mail provided on all United Airlines flights, possibly to distract you from the sugary, salty peanuts and the hour long wait on the tarmac.

It's one of those catalogues that screams things like "They'll never guess it's a hand vacuum!" and "Finally - a radio AND shower organiser all in one!" and features a vast array of items from the genuinely useful to the utterly ridiculous. To wit:


SkyMall claims this item is "perfect for the man who has everything" - I'd suggest it's perfect for the man who has diarrhea, as he's the only one likely to spend enough time in the toilet to get some use out of it. Seriously, how long are you planning on sitting on the can? And do you create a special playlist for the occasion? Maybe a bit of Salt n Pepa's Push It or The Stranglers' Golden Brown? A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall? At any rate, it's a sad day when going to the bog requires entertainment. What, two year old copies of WHO magazine just aren't good enough anymore?

Everything's easier with batteries.

Look - it's the easiest breakfast you'll ever make! See what you do is, you buy this huge piece of plastic crap for $80, then buy the batteries for it, then go out and buy some more batteries for it because you got the wrong size the first time, then take a box of cereal and fill it up, then get out the dustpan and brush because you spilled Cocoa Pops all over the bench, then read the manual and work out how to use it, then press a button and HEY PRESTO! A BOWL OF CEREAL! How much easier is THAT than just opening the box and pouring it straight into your bowl?

SkyMall's art department works overtime.

Check it out - it's a snap-on snowman decoration for your lamppost! Or is it actually a really badly drawn PICTURE of a snap-on snowman decoration done on MS Paint by some intern in the art department? You decide.

A celebration of women's bondage would have made a better sculpture.

This statue claims to be "a celebration of the bond women share and the strength they gain from one another". I thought it was a celebration of conjoined twins and the complicated surgery that can't separate them. I guess it could be either, really. This dull looking sculpture is decidedly celebration-free, in my opinion. If you really want to celebrate women bonding, get a whole lot of them together and open a few cases of champagne. Bonding AND spewing, bonus!

That's no moon...

Apparently this is a 24/7 self cleaning cat litter box. I prefer to think of it as a Kitty Death Star. Let your moggy rule the universe as he spins around the galaxy in his Litter Star, breathing harshly and using Jedi mind tricks to get mice to succumb to his every whim. According to the blurb, this gadget contains a special mechanism that changes the litter tray immediately after the cat leaves - that's if you can convince kitty to get in it in the first place. Reminds me of those electric portaloos councils have taken to installing all over the place to deter junkies and graffitti artists - I wonder if this one also plays 'Little Spanish Flea' while your cat's taking a dump?

Don't bet on it.

Rather optimistically placed under the heading "The Greatest Gift" comes this, the "Relax 'N Nap Pillow", the design of which is supposed to promote better breathing and posture, allowing you to "sleep like a baby". One with SIDS, perhaps. I'd like to think they actually paid a living, breathing model to pose for this photo and didn't just drag someone from the morgue.

What's that? You want MORE crazy pillows? Well ok.

Nup - can't see any problems with this.

Ok, so it'll max out your carry-on allowance, you won't be able to put your tray table down and the person in front of you might be moved to stab you in the eye with their plastic cutlery when they discover they can't recline their seat - but YOU'LL BE COMFORTABLE, RIGHT? Oh, and you'll look like a nob. BUT YOU'LL BE COMFORTABLE.


  1. Ha ha ha. I think that would be an iPoo, though, not an iCrap.

    The kitty death star looks like it might just fire the cat across the room when it's finished its business. Actually, I'd be in favour of that after what I found in the litter tray this morning ~shudder~

  2. Ohh i like the look of that last one. You could use it when you're standing in a check out queue....Well if you made a stand for it, and the person in front of you didn't mind you leaning up against them.

  3. That Kitty Death Star has gotta be one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

  4. I would say comfort is everything, or is that winning... ooh, being comfortable while winning, that would be awesome.

    You should fly through D/FW... lousy layout but rarely any weather delays. I've flown about 60 times out of there (since I live nearby) and have been delayed twice. I've flown to Australia twice and have been delayed once :) (three hours in Auckland on ANZ going to Sydney... now Qantas was ahead of schedule going to and from).

    The biggest problem and the best part of our airlines is the competition. It creates diversity and sometimes a great deal, but it creates the occasional poorly maintained airline and more than a few rip offs.

  5. Hey Jedimerc - you talking Dallas Fort Worth? Which side are you living on? I had the good fortune of getting to visit cowtown and bloody LOVED it! Bought myself some cowgirl boots and a hat and everything.

  6. I do speak of Dallas-Fort Worth. I live in Fort Worth myself, and grew up in the Fort Worth area, though the area is one big conglomeration these days. Cowtown is slightly more laid back than Dallas but traffic is murder in most parts of the region and that keeps a lot of us high strung :) (thankfully, I live right next to one of the few regional train stations that can go to either Dallas or Fort Worth's downtown... we're not really known for our mass transit, but getting better)

    How long ago were you in the area?

  7. Aaah, Skymall.
    I've long been a fan of their online emporium at www.skymall.com .
    How I've lived for so long without a Tiki Head Tissue Box cover is a mystery.

  8. Oh, I want one of those space capusles for my cat!

  9. I thought you weren't allowed to use a digital camera on a plane, PetStarr.

    American Airlines could do with more passengers like you. A friend of mine recently caught an AA flight, and about halfway through the flight, the pilot came on the speaker saying he didn't know whether to finish the flight or turn back, because he was so sick of his job.

  10. I didn't, zzymurgy - I took the mag home with me. I am now the proud owner of a genuine SkyMall catalogue! Hours of fun for everyone.

    PS: I flew United, not American, but I have a feeling the pilots probably feel the same across both airlines.

  11. I love the look of the pillows. In fact, I could do with one now. Either one really. I don't think I would look silly with my head resting on a piece of lap foam in my new office.