We should have seen this coming in February when The Sharper Image declared bankruptcy. Capitalism is only as strong as its most frivolous impulses, and The Sharper Image was, in that regard, the pinnacle of our achievement as Americans. Now that they have fallen, however, there is only store where we can compete with the Japanese in terms of capitalism gratia capitalism: Sky Mall.
At first glance, you might think that the Sky Mall catalog is nothing but an attempt to capitalize on the Stockholm Syndrome induced by long term air travel. Do its authors honestly expect us, after six hours with increasingly fewer amenities provided by the airlines, to be so craven from deprivation that we would absolutely have to possess a replica of Harry Potter’s wand? (Are Edward Cullen false teeth far behind?)
Sky Mall is the Wife Swap of shopping. We spend that six hours inventing the kind of insane executive commuter who might be so eager to spend his money that he would be taken in by page after page of useless crap. The Sky Mall catalog provides us with a vital and necessary outlet for the pent up feelings of disgust which flow like the Cuyahoga river once we’ve been forced to spend that much time in close proximity to our fellow man. Rather than focus our disdain on the cattle packed into coach with us, we find comfort in the fact that we would never give in and buy the World’s Largest Crossword puzzle like the overpaid executive in our heads.
The insidious truth is that no one ever really buys anything from Sky Mall, which means that this great humanitarian service is in jeopardy! Where is the bail out for this cornerstone of our economy? Congress has turned a blind eye to the needs of air travelers, saying that no one can afford to travel in the first place. It is up to you to buy that Sasquatch garden statue and save this great nation. If you don’t, the New Great Depressionists have won!