A Fool And His Money.

This year I’m asking Santa for a job writing copy for the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. Too many entries begin with “This is the…” Come on, writers, you can be more creative than that. Then again items like the submarine sports car, a bargain at $2,000,000, sell themselves. You don’t need a lot of description beyond that to know you want it.

Other items do require a little more creative finesse. Take, for example, the Urban Poultry Palace. From Hammacher Schlemmer I’d expect something a little more creative than a few stacked boxes, but I guess for $399.95 you get what you pay for. What it needs is more of a personal touch: “As I looked at my homemade chicken coop I realized my feathered family needed more…”

And speaking of needing more, “My den had everything I could want, but there was something missing–an empty space I realized could only be filled by the Handcrafted Hippopotamine Sofa (just $95,000!)”

I'm not ashamed to admit I really love this. Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

Can I get that in midnight blue?
Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

“My children were fascinated by dinosaurs, so what better way to spend $100,000 than a life-size Tyrannosaurus Skeleton?”

Some things are a harder sell. For instance there’s the Prestidigitator’s Wallet, but the only trick it performs is making $39.95 disappear or the Kangaroo Money Clip that will hold tightly to whatever money you have left over after spending $49.95 on a piece of folded leather. And for $35,500 I would expect the 24th Century Time Machine to be, you know, an actual time machine and not a clock that looks like a ripoff of Deep Space Nine.

Cardassian design, Ferengi price.

Cardassian design, Ferengi price.

It especially pales in comparison to this year’s hottest item: a life size model of the solar system. May cause localized gravitational distortion.

Price available on request.

solarsystem

17 Comments

  1. Chuck Baudelaire

    Have ordered two of each of these. Not sure what your problem is…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m not sure what my problem is either. Would you mind using the time machine to go back to before I wrote this and tell me to get a grip?

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    I’m hoping Santa doesn’t get you that job. Otherwise, I’ll be spending all my hard-earned money on stuff I don’t have room for.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s always room for the Hippopotamine Sofa. It easily converts into a modest apartment.

      Reply
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  4. Gina W.

    Oh man, I hate to be crude, but I could barely read the words of your story because the Hippo face is so disturbing. Or rather, the lower half. Use your imagination and crop everything else out. All I could see was giant, shaven saggy balls that have suffered a puncture accident. :/

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I like hippos because I think they have funny faces. AT LEAST I DID. Now I’ll never be able to look at hippopotami the same way again. Although the good thing about that sofa if you never see that end when you’re sitting on it.

      Reply
  5. Margot

    You should absolutely apply for a job at HS. And, yes, please do your best to make them stop beginning each description with “This is the”—it drives me crazy. You really could do a much better job. In fact, this post alone made me blow about an hour this morning looking at the items you highlighted and many more on their website. Unlike Gina, who sees male genitalia in just about everything she comes across, I was not distracted by the hippo sofa and found your writing to be fabulous.

    Instead of the submarine sports car I’d like the Aquatic Thrusters (don’t go there, Gina!) I’m also very interested in the life size model of the solar system, though I don’t think I have room for it in my house. How much is it?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I feel like they owe me something for throwing so much business, or at least traffic, their way. This could be my application. I would write a short story for every item and that would be their biggest selling point. “Private detective Franz Spanzen had been thrown overboard by his nemesis Lupo ‘The Eyebrow’ Codfish. How had he been so foolish to turn his back? He’d been swimming for hours. His legs ached. His lungs burned. The shoreline was a tiny strip in the distance. He didn’t think he could go on. Then he remembered he happened to be wearing his Aquatic Thrusters under his Armani suit. The lithium ion battery would propel him at a speed of three and a half knots for up to two miles, leaving his legs free to steer. Tomorrow night, he thought grimly, I shall dine on codfish.”
      I’ll find some way to work Gina’s eye phallic visions in there as well. That might be a challenge with some items like the Bratwurst Burrito though.
      And the solar system model is pretty pricey and definitely wouldn’t fit in your house. It does have an exact life-size replica of your house, though.

      Reply
      1. Margot

        This write-up is fantastic! It made me envision myself with a much more exciting and glamorous life than I actually have, which seems to be the hallmark of great advertising.

        Reply
  6. Gilly Maddison

    Ha Ha – I’m with Gina W – except I thought it was a ball sack that looked a bit like a hippo. I may order one for each room as they are SO exceptionally attractive. Life-size model of the solar system? May have to shift a few things around to accommodate that.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The one thing I would change about the hippo sofa is the color. For that price you should be able to get one that’ll match your room’s decor. And the beauty of the life-size model of the solar system is you don’t have to shift a thing. Once you’ve put it together you can just move into it.

      Reply
  7. Sandra

    Oddly, I’m drawn to the hippo couch…?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s nothing odd about that. I’m drawn to it too–no kidding. Considering what others see in it though that’s starting to worry me.

      Reply
  8. Sean

    Wow this is great! I was just complaining about how much I miss SkyMall and now I have a hippo couch to fill that void.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes! What better place to sit and thumb through your Hammacher-Schlemmer catalogue? Also I’m pretty sure if you put wings on the hippo couch it’ll fly.

      Reply
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