…because not all of us have our Peking ducks in a row

The Fifty Shades of Skymall

A Skymall exclusive: Basho, the Sumo Wrestler Table.  For the sake of argument, let’s just say this is a table in the likeness of a Sumo wrestler with a back problem, trying to find a penny he just dropped on the ground.   For $249.00 it can be yours.  For another $150.00, they’ll throw in his first cousin, Masho, who’s upright on his knees, back arched, with a look of contorted ecstasy on his face.

Factory Manager Jia has been working at our factory in China since he was about 20 years old.  He’s now in his mid-30s.  When I met him for the first time, he took me aside, each hand clutching several rubber chickens with an axes buried in their heads and asked me in baffled earnestness, “Ms. Chang…can you please tell me…please…WHO buys these things that we supply?  WHO??”

skymall - Crystal with laser engraving 1

Made-in-China laser-engraved made-in-Russia Putin.

Millions of factory workers all over China are asking themselves the same question, as they work brain-numbing, assembly-line jobs molding pewter thimbles into the likeness of faeries and world leaders, or fashioning tie-dyed hemp into eco-friendly paw protectors for your pinstriped chinchilla.  From China’s point of view, the “land of opportunity” that is the West is really the “land of opportunity to buy a bunch of crap you don’t need, but are willing to pay through the nose for”.  While buying scoop-necked sweaters in the season’s latest colors is understandable, is it really necessary to pay $99.00 for a shirt that is made up by as many pieces of fabric as one has personalities?

One of a kind shirts, for one of a kind men.All shirts are a piece of art and patterns are never repeated.A One Of A Kind shirt allows you to show that you're an individual, that you're a little different than everyone else and you want them to take notice of who you are. These shirts are great for a night on the town, frat parties, bachelor parties, stag parties or any other time you want to stand out in a crowd.100% cotton, made from 10 different fabrics.Because these shirts are a piece of art, the color and pattern is not revealed until the package is opened.

“Honey, I couldn’t decide which shirt to wear, so I thought I’d put them all on.”

One of a kind shirts for one of a kind men.  All shirts are a piece of art and patterns are never repeated.  A One Of A Kind shirt allows you to show that you’re an ass individual, that you’re probably colorblind and a little different than everyone else and you want them to take notice of who you are, because you’re an exhibitionist with a record of public indecency.

100% cotton, made from 10 different fabrics, all of which we try to incorporate onto one shirt.  And,if we run out of fabric, we’ll substitute crabgrass and mayonnaise, but not necessarily in that order.

Because these shirts are a piece of art, the color and pattern is not revealed until the package is opened.  For this reason, you must obtain a physician’s advice before purchasing our One Of A Kind shirts and you must also sign a waiver not to sue nor kill us for robbing you blind and/or for going blind after receiving your shirt.

Carlashes and optional eyeliner to sexy up your old Volvo.  (http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=204252336&c=10110)

Your old Volvo’s got her eyes on that handsome hunk of a Cadillac Escalade, does she?  Sexy up your car with carlashes and optional bling eyeliner, then watch the sparks of metal on metal fly as other cars plow into you to get a closer look, or to run you off the road.

Since the 1990s, the direct mail-order retailer, Skymall, has been bringing the superfluous to the citizens of the United States, reaching “88% of domestic air travelers”, or 650 million annually. (Source: Wikipedia)  Skymall’s catalogs are found on most U.S. domestic flights and are often read the way one would read a Chinese menu translated into Chinglish – with bemused horror.  But the fact that Skymall’s been around for so long shows that people with an abundance of money and a lack of basic common sense look towards the retailer as the source for gift ideas.

The Hicural, not the Hicultural, Hiccup stick.

Stop annoying hiccups in seconds.

The Hicural Hiccup Stick is the world’s first tool that instantly stops hiccups. Simply place horizontally in the mouth, gently bite down and drink a cup of water. It’s safe and simple to use for adults and children.

Note: Must have the ability to drink 8 ounces of water while biting down on a chopstick shoved horizontally into your hiccuping mouth.

Side effects: Will become one of the only two Asian models on the Skymall website (the first being Basho, the Sumo Wrestler Table).

If you actually purchase this item at a cost of $19.99, then you might like these other gift ideas:

skymall - springflex

Springflex Ub – A great gift for the person who likes to sit half-naked in front of his computer while doing upper-body exercises with the computer turned off.

If you still haven’t learned to drive after receiving your driver’s license, this might help you:

skymall - align and drive

The Align-n-drive Kit: For those who need a little help with things, such as figuring out where the lines on the road are, how to drive within those lines, where to insert the key to start the vehicle, how to tie your shoelaces, and why it’s a bad idea to eat food that’s past its expiration date.  Note: It’s NOT advisable to remove your hands from the steering wheel and put them on the Align-n-drive decal while operating your vehicle, as this picture shows.

Once you have mastered the art of driving with Skymall’s Align-n-drive Kit, you may consider….

skymall - off road commode

The Off Road Commode – Camouflaged for your convenience.  Sorry, folks in Alaska, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii – the Off Road Commode won’t go there.  You’ll just have to go in the bushes and not at the back of your Ford Pinto, like any self-respecting person.  Plastic bucket/bag/receptacle is optional.

Note: (I’m regretful that) I did not compose this write-up:

Bears will wish they had one!

Every sportsman needs his own throne, and the Off-Road Commode fits the bill — with comfort and luxury to boot! Easily attaches to any 2″ receiver hitch and supports up to 500 lbs. The 1-5/16″ dia. steel tube seat is covered with soft, padded camo. A great gift for hunting, fishing and camping buddies!

Not for use when vehicle is in motion. Can get slippery when wet.

iGrow Hair Rejuvenation Laser

iGrow Hair Rejuvenation.  Warning: May cause hilarity and great ridicule when worn in front of normal human beings, or when used in conjunction with the Off Road Commode under wet weather conditions.

A REAL customer review!!!  (Read the real review here.)

By Massive Anxiety, Angst & OCD are the #1 Causes of Hair Loss!!!

“I come from a family of self-loathing Chinese where baldness is hereditary, if not expected.  I was doomed from the beginning, especially when I couldn’t achieve the high grades needed to become a doctor, a computer programmer, a scientist, mathematician, concert violinist/pianist/flugelhorn player or a bad driver.  Being 44 years old, about 8 months, 23 days and 6 hours ago, I noticed my hair starting to fall limp on my head, where it used to stand upright in all directions.  I developed a constant itch in my scalp area – an itch not unlike the one I have in my crotchal region, except there was no accompanying discharge.  I noticed more and more hair in the sink and the tub daily, and my fiance swore it wasn’t our orangutang’s.  My self confidence was gone, along with my memory of the measurements of a girl I’d dated in college.  I figured “this was it” I am going bald, Jackie Chan will never produce my screenplay, Crouching Mother, Hidden Weapon, and there is no lonelier feeling.  I came across this product after flying home in the skymall magazine – a BUDDHASEND!  The results were NOT instantaneous, but I have had results after 12 months, 15 hours and twenty minutes of loyal 7 days per week, twenty-times-a-day, usage.  Number 1 my scalp no longer itches!  Number 2 my hair is fuller than it has been in 5 years.  Number 3 the amount of fallout has been reduced to maybe 7 – 10.5 hairs in the sink (yes I was counting them!), down from 50.75 to 70.01 hairs worth of fallout per day…Number 4 I have tried everything – bacon grease, five years worth of tax returns, a half-eaten doughnut from Krispy Kreme, and conjoined twins – but this is the only product that works!  If you have noticed that your hair isn’t what it used to be, save what hair you have left and get this product! Take care of the hair you have!  Oh one last thing, I have also noticed that any gray hairs I had starting to pop up, are now GONE!  This product will rejuvenate your hair follicles!”

Gender: Male

Age: 41-45

Other items this reviewer has purchased from Skymall: Human Slingshot, Basho the Sumo Wrestler Table, Hicural Hiccup stick (Caucasian edition), Off Road Commode, Carlashes, Springflex Ub, One Of A Kind Shirt (three-pack)
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23 comments on “The Fifty Shades of Skymall

  1. Pingback: Big Mama Chang’s 2014 Forecast (Through Album Covers) | lostnchina

  2. Pingback: Hallmark Holiday Card Rejects | lostnchina

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  4. mightwar
    May 22, 2013

    I’ve never been much of a shopper, but this little post pretty much has me sorted for birthday present ideas for the rest of the year. I almost dislocated my wrist in my rush to reach the order page.

    Thank you for the information – and the laugh.


    • lostnchina
      May 22, 2013

      Happy to help with your gift-giving dilemma. Wait till they do the two for one on the off-road commode.


      • mightwar
        May 22, 2013

        Oh … be still my beating heart. I feel a bounty of generosity coming on!


  5. OperationJA
    April 29, 2013

    When you mentioned about Factory Manager Jia, I can just imagine his expression when he asks you, “Ms. Chang…can you please tell me…please…WHO buys these things that we supply? WHO??”
    Just priceless…. hahahhaha….


    • lostnchina
      April 30, 2013

      You just had to be there, I guess. Thanks for stopping by!


  6. bronxboy55
    April 9, 2013

    I’ve been asking that same question about Chinese factory workers. They must think Americans have more money than they know what to do with. And apparently they do.

    Another great post, Susan.


    • lostnchina
      April 11, 2013

      Thanks, Charles. Someone from our factory told me that almost 20 years ago, a guy came to the factory with the book “The Joy of Sex” and wanted them to duplicate several sexual positions in the book in the form of metal medallions you hang around your neck with gold chains (a la the style of Ron Jeremy). He wanted to sell them at an Adult products convention in Vegas.

      At that time, China was still quite conservative, and the Factory Manager feared this would cause the local government to raid the factory, not to mention ruin the reputation of the factory. Wonder what was going through the factory workers’ minds at THAT time?


      • bronxboy55
        April 25, 2013

        The factory workers probably assumed the medallions were for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Atlanta. They’re always adding new events.


  7. expatlingo
    April 8, 2013

    A few questions spring to mind: (1) Have you come across a SkyMall-equivalent specifically for the East Asian market?; (2) Does it feature either a young Arnold Schwarzenegger or a fluffy kitten holding up the glass table-top? (3) Does it include innovative solutions for keeping mold at bay during the current dank/cool/humid season in Southern China? (I’d shell out for the last one, as I’ve just discovered a stash of shoes growing a fine “peach fuzz” of dark grey mold)


    • lostnchina
      April 9, 2013

      I think most Chinese would love to purchase superfluous things, but they’d balk at the prices they’d have to pay on Skymall ($249 for an Arnold table in a sumo squat position?!) They’ll think of a way to do a knock off at less than half the price. The humidity – don’t they sell those charcoal filter thingies in Hong Kong – you place one in your closet and it sucks the humidity from the air then deposits it in the container below. I used to use them just for fun (ie. In the bathroom). Not sure how effective they really are, since it’s SO humid, but they really do collect water from the atmosphere, it’s quite neat (it could be a science experiment for the kids). I found mine in a Park ‘n Shop in China. Of course, nothing works better than a real dehumidifier. But for the cheap Skymall version, I’d recommend the filters. (Also, don’t leave window’s doors open around this time. In my city, if I leave all day with that the walls will be sweating by the time I get home and he floors will be sopping wet from the moisture outside.)


      • expatlingo
        April 9, 2013

        We have those little boxes. I suppose what I need is a reminder to put them inside of every single little nook and cranny. There always seems to be one obscure cupboard that I forget.

        Hey, now I’ve thought of a cheap potential SkyMall item of highly-questionable effectiveness: dividing rods to help locate hidden reservoirs of humidity and mold around the house.


  8. gingerfightback
    April 8, 2013

    “Supports 500 pounds” a relief to know when I attach the commode to my Mini. Padded too!


    • lostnchina
      April 9, 2013

      I envision Bob on the Pot doing a book tour of the United States on the Off Road Commode. When is his memoir, “Potty Mouth”, due out anyway? Or, the Commode could have been his own personal pope mobile had he actually reached the ranks of pope-dom.


  9. becomingcliche
    April 8, 2013

    Springflex Ub it is, then.


    • lostnchina
      April 9, 2013

      Now, Heather – don’t take this the wrong way…but I’m not sure you should get a contraption that will force you to be in proximity with your computer or any other appliances/objects that will cause you a lot of frustration. Might I interest you in the Human Slingshot as well? You could substitute the various appliances/objects for people.


  10. Emily Cannell
    April 8, 2013

    Your Skymall is better than mine. I want the human sling shot- there are lots of people I need to throw out.


    • lostnchina
      April 9, 2013

      Fortunately, the Human Slingshot just flings people in this large rubber band contraption till they eventually knock each other out, or becomes suffocated underneath the large piece of rubber. Either way, they’ll get what’s coming to them. Thanks for reading!


  11. WSW
    April 8, 2013

    If you’re reading Skymall on a flight, you are just not drinking enough.


    • lostnchina
      April 8, 2013

      Wendie, you’re absolutely right. But funnily enough, alcohol also makes Skymall a lot more bearable.


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