For some odd reason, the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer seem to think my household is the ideal market for their catalog. We’re not sure why, but I look forward to the excellent insanity that arrives each year, and this year my friends at Hammacher Schlemmer have simply outdone themselves.
First, we have their ridiculous standby: overpriced robes. You have an embarrassment of riches here, ranging from “The Genuine Irish Flannel Robe” [$99.95], “The Genuine Turkish Bathrobe” [$129.95], and if you don’t need a full robe but need a towel with pockets, there are “The Turkish Shower Wraps” [$49.95-59.95]. Word of advice: if you’re planning on spending $100 a pop on a robe, hit up Expedia and just steal the robe from the Hilton while enjoying some room service.
I also enjoy seeing what weird, overpriced, slightly off the mark tech Hammacher Schlemmer has up their Turkish robe sleeves. This year’s contenders for worst include “The Fastest iPhone Flash Drive” [$99.95-199.95], “The Sing Along iPad Microphone” [$109.95], and their crowning achievement, “The Photo and Video Smart Watch” [$199.95]. Yes, for significantly more than their non-Hammacher Schlemmer counterparts, you can own weird off-brand versions of actual tech gifts.
Of course, no Hammacher Schlemmer catalog is complete without questionable medical devices, and this year they have them in spades. Not one, but TWO hand treatment devices, “The LED Hand Pain Reliever” [$179.95] AND “The Hand Reflexology Massager” [$129.95]. There’s also “The Tinnitus Relief Wand” [$89.95]; hey, it’s less than the copay for your ENT! And it wouldn’t be a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog without hair removal, like “The Best Nose Hair Trimmer” [$19.95]. As an added bonus, you can get the experience of hospital compression wraps at home with “The Circulation Improving Leg Wraps” [$199.95]
But the real stars of any Hammacher Schlemmer catalog are the products that make you do a triple take, then possibly recoil in horror and shock. Take, for example, “The Genuine Copper River Smoked Salmon” [$39.95]. It’s pricey like all mail-order food, but it’s just randomly sitting in the middle of page along with ornaments, a fort building set, and a blind spot mirror. As best as I can tell, the selection and order of items in this catalog is determined by tossing them all in the air and seeing where they land. I’m also partial to “The Santa Claus Tree” [$299.95]. It’s not cheap, but can you really put a price on the horror of Santa’s decapitated head sitting above what looks at first glance like a bloody tree sporting T-Rex hands?
Still, this year the catalog went above and beyond. It looked like a normal catalog, but below fighting robots (or in H-S terms, “The Robotic Pugilists”), sandwiched between “The world’s Smallest Quadcopter” and “The Christmas Cracker Orchestra”, is the single weirdest item I have ever seen in any mail order catalog…”The 23 Acre Wild West Town Amusement Park” [$7,000,000]. Sadly, the live actors at the amusement park are not included, but Hammacher Schlemmer does indicate this is ideal for children between 3 and 11.
So who’s doing their holiday shopping at Hammacher Schlemmer this year? There’s something for everyone, from Grandpa’s unsightly nose hair to your chance to finally scare your neighbors into moving (see “The 15′ Inflatable Rudolph [$399.95] or “The 15 ft Inflatable Bumble The Snow Monster” [$399.95])! If you’re not as lucky as we are to receive this catalog in the mail, you can always head to Hammacher.com for all your gifting needs. Just give your bank a heads up if you have your eye on that amusement park.