Just like the ones I used to know

Just like the ones I used to know

After a few months, I finally stopped getting e-mails full of unsolicited job offers for Air Force dentist, primary care physician, and vampire gravedigger.  But a few weeks later, I started getting unsolicited e-mail offering me fantastic deals on the wonderful products available from Hammacher-Schlemmer.

Now, I have never had any contact with the Hammacher-Schlemmer company, beyond hearing their name on TV game shows in my youth.  But apparently, they’ve determined that I’m the perfect consumer for their brand of “consumer” goods.

Finding the right gift for every member of your family can be hard.  So, in the spirit of Christmas, allow me to share with you some of the fine products H-S has decided I should consider.

(Disclaimer: I wouldn’t buy any of this crap on a dare with money I found in the street.  But you can find them all at the Hammacher-Schlemmer website.)

I’ve divided these product offerings into two categories:  the Hammacher Collection of Unnecessary Technology, and the Schlemmer Collection of Insane Product Ideas.  First up:

The Hammacher Collection of Unnecessary Technology

vanity mirror

The Wireless Music Playing Vanity Mirror – $119.95
What’s the biggest hassle women run into while trying to put on makeup?  Silence.  But with this vanity mirror, at the touch of a button anyone can drown out all those annoying questions about whether you’re ready yet!  When paired with a cellphone, the mirror allows you to send and receive voice communications to a similarly-equipped vanity mirror.  Never again be forced to pay attention to what you’re doing while shaving or applying mascara!

robotic vacuum

The Dirt-Detecting Radio Frequency Robotic Vacuum – $699.95
We’re all aware of how annoying robotic vacuums can be.  Sometimes you can’t stand the sight of them, let alone schedule and launch them from the same room.  Using the same technology that allows radios to receive signals from radio stations as far as 25′ away, now you can get your house vacuumed without all the whining and moaning.

Made by iRobot, the Roomba 790 faithfully obeys the Three Laws of Robotic Vacuuming:

  1. A vacuum robot must detect dirt, or through inaction, allow dirt to be detected.
  2. A vacuum robot must clean up to seven times per week, unless it is prompted to spot clean.
  3. A vacuum robot must navigate around furniture and stairs, unless Virtual Wall Lighthouses confine the vacuum to one room.


The Call Me Gloves – $79.95
These touchscreen winter gloves are perfect for the man or woman who wouldn’t be caught dead holding a cellphone, but still craves the inconvenience of having one hand tied up.  Using mime-tested technology, you can make a phone call while simultaneously signaling every guy (or girl) in the bar that they should call you.  The glove provides clear sound even when your left hand is 39′ away from you. And if you’re left-handed, your gloves will still provide ease of use and convenience once you learn to be right-handed.


The iPad to Foosball Table Converter – $79.99

Allows up to four people to stand around a single 12″x7″ tablet and control their four rows of foosballers with elastomeric handles spaced about 2″ apart along each side.


The 16,000 Picture Digital Photo Storage Vault – $99.95
This technological marvel of the 21st Century is definitely not a 16GB flash drive that retails for $10-20!  This device allows you to copy pictures (and only pictures) onto a flash drive-sized, flash drive-shaped memory stick.  You can even specify where to copy the pictures from, and even tell it not to copy the same picture over and over again!  Its 10+ year lifespan and 90 day warranty mean that your picture vault will long outlive the laptop or phone you use to view the pictures.


The R2-D2 USB Cufflinks – $199.95
As clever as their namesake astromech droid, these cufflinks can not only replace the buttons found on every shirt sleeve since 1922, they can also store up to 2GB of death star plans, or a 2GB light saber.  Whether you want to navigate to Dagobah or just stop a garbage disposal from crushing people, these enamel cufflinks have sturdy whale back enclosures made from the back of sturdy whales, and comes in exactly the same rectangular shape that R2-D2 isn’t.

robotic avatar

The iPhone Owner’s Robotic Avatar – $129.95
According to warnings received from the future, someday every human being will be replaced by some sort of Apple product.  This product allows you to download your facial features and voice into the head of a robotic iPhone today!  Since you spend all your time texting and watching Netflix on your iPhone anyway, no one will realize that your face and voice are no longer part of you.  Be the first in your family to outsource those stressful Sunday dinners with the family to your own personal avatar. (Avatar available in 2D or 3D.)


The Gentleman’s Faceless Watch – $99.95
For the man with too much time on his wrist, this watch replaces a clear, easy to read face with hidden LEDs that prevent casual discovery of the current time.  Say goodbye to strangers coming up and asking for the time. Pair this with the iPhone Owner’s Robotic Avatar, and your wrist will be as faceless as you are.

video tie

The Video Recording Necktie – $59.95
For the well-dressed confidential informant, this silk necktie is perfect for recording everything from secret cartel meetings to secret coup planning meetings, while still allowing you to look stiff and suspicious.  After work, use your VR tie to record secret marriage proposals around the home, while confidently telling the world, “No, I’m not secretly recording you with a camera in my necktie!  Why would you think that?”  The tie is woven from fine silk electronics. Store up to 4GB of video on the tie, and up to an additional 8GB on a connected USB flash drive. (Disclaimer: For optimal clandestine effect, do not leave your connected flash drive hanging around your neck.)

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