It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not snow, though that’s exciting, or holidays with relatives, which might be nice or might be fodder for your next passive-aggressive Facebook status. No, it’s time for Hammacher Schlemmer to pretend you can afford the finer things in life, like a $350 cat bed or a nose hair trimmer as a stocking stuffer!
I used to love getting the H-S catalog, but either they don’t send them anymore or I fell off their mailing list during one of my moves. Luckily, they still have a website, and they’ve helpfully broken it down into multiple categories, so let’s dive into the many ways a fool and his money can be parted — courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer.
Stocking Stuffers: There’s such a treasure trove of options here! In addition to the aforementioned nose hair trimmer, you can also find a handheld pac-man machine (or dig dug if that’s more your speed.) These aren’t that weird, except for the price. At $39.99, they’re easily $15-$20 more than you can find them at other retailers, so maybe shop around. However, if you’re looking to make travel more fun, you need to gift your friends and family a hands-free luggage drink holder. Literally, you can give someone a cupholder for their luggage. Never spill your Starbucks while rushing around self-importantly through the airport! Also, apparently H-S is not immune to the “pink tax”, because what appears to be the same 12-piece grooming set costs $99.95 for men and $129.95 for women. First of all, for $100 you can pay someone to do a VERY nice job on your nails, but second, why does it cost $30 more for the “women’s” version???
Under “Gifts for Him”: Again, I had such a hard time deciding what we should showcase here. The hypnotic jellyfish oceanarium just makes me think of teeth now, but if you don’t associate it with dental procedures, H-S suggests it for an office or a child’s bedroom, all for only $249.95. Or maybe you need a classier gift, like this $69.95 whiskey water dropper, which is another one of those “neat idea, lots cheaper at places that aren’t Hammacher Schlemmer”. Continuing with the grooming theme we have going with nose hair trimmers and grooming sets, there’s also something called a “genuine Solingen manicure set“, which is a 7 piece manicure set for $199.95 — yes, it’s much pricier than, say, the $3.99 you spent at Walgreens, but these are surgical steel, so you can, I guess, do some unauthorized surgery with them? Finally, two of the most stereotypically manly items I’ve ever seen are listed here, showing that H-S truly knows their audience: pour a beer in your genuine horn mug ($89.95), and enjoy it while playing with a remote-controlled tank ($279.95) that claims to be a 1:16 scale of a real military tank, complete with working pellet gun. No neighbor would dare argue about the property lines if you greet him with a horn mug while shooting pellets at his ankles from a tank!
Under “Gifts for Her”: Nothing here as good as a remote-controlled tank, but there are a few fun ones. First of all, I’d like to suggest Hammacher Schlemmer reconsider the name of the “Any Surface Full Body Massage Pad” because that sort of sounds like an offer from a massage place offering happy endings. Then there’s the cookbook that is just classically Hammacher Schlemmer — taking something vaguely trendy and missing the point entirely. To that end, they’re selling “Food Lover’s Infographic Guide“, which appears to literally be the history of food and cooking in infographic form, all for only $69.95! Perfect if you have someone who’s really nostalgic for the halcyon days of infographics and listicles I guess! Of course, if you’re really looking for useless nostalgia, there’s always the Inchophone, a $149.95 record player that only plays 3-inch vinyl. Finally, since this a list “for her”, there’s a delightful assortment of expensive cashmere items, so I assume there’s a rather large flock of naked cashmere goats thanks to the insatiable appetite of Hammacher Schlemmer.
The “Unexpected”: This, this is the good stuff, the reason Hammacher Schlemmer is my favorite place on the internet besides Gear Diary. Sure, you can purchase manicuring kits and cashmere robes and weird massage pads and a freaking remote-controlled tank, but you can also outfit your home like a Bond villain, a cross fitter who hit the lottery, and/or Elon Musk. If playing regular music on a regular stereo system is too plebeian for you, there’s a $1,700 “All Media Jukebox“, which is the same as a stereo with a CD player and an aux cable but looks WAY cooler. Maybe your neighbor has a boat, but does he have a floating hot tub tugboat, all for only $25,000? And make sure you’ve got your tugboat hot tub body this summer by spending only $9,950 on a “climbing wall treadmill“, which combines the fun of climbing with the nihilism of a treadmill. Once you’ve worked out, cool off with the “Most compact underwater scooter“, which…yeah, it’s not totally clear what the purpose is for this, but damn if it doesn’t look cool, and it’s one of the more affordable ridiculous water devices at only $699.95.
The Greatest Thing Hammacher Schlemmer Has Ever Sold: Finally, we get to why I love H-S so much. So, so much. Only at Hammacher Schlemmer can you buy a PERSONAL SUBMARINE!! It’s a cool $2,000,000, but can you really put a price on your own sub? You can go visit lanternfish in their natural habitat, and also the parts of the ocean where they set all the undersea horror movies, so try not to bring any eldritch monsters back with you.
See, now we’ve covered everything you need for your holiday shopping list! Or, probably not, so stay tuned for the real Gear Diary gift guides in the next few weeks!