Opinion: Gifts you shouldn’t give
This is part two of my highlights of the newest Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog. Just in time for Father’s Day, it includes some items that might make dad wish you’d gotten him a tie.
Insect Blunderbuss: This is a rifle-type weapon that when loaded with salt can be used like a shotgun to pulverize flying insects. It offers a great lesson to pests about the dangers of a high sodium diet.
The Selfie Toaster: Here’s how it works. You upload a photo of yourself to the manufacturer and they send you a customized heating insert that imbeds your likeness onto the toasted bread. Many women returned the item, claiming they looked old and wrinkled, so now the company is recommending against using English muffins.
The Tech Jacket: This lightweight garment contains more than 24 pockets that can hold your smart phone, iPad, wallet, glasses, water bottle, digital camera, keys, a USB port and passport. That still leaves 15 more empty slots, making it an ideal time to stock up on canned goods. Oh, good luck at airport security.
Un-kinkable Hose: The maker claims this hose cannot tangle. HS prides itself on being a family magazine, so this product is rated as the least kinky gift in the entire catalog. The most kinky? Probably the plantar fasciitis high heel shoes.
The Dental Hygiene System: This toothbrush has an accelerometer and a magnetometer embedded in the handle, which sounds to me like something you shouldn’t put in your mouth after you just ran it under water. Once you download the app to your cellular device, you can see graphs and charts showing how successful your tooth-brushing has been. And you can monitor the kids’ progress, as well. Friends might ask you, “Do you have a photo of your grandson on your phone?” “No, but take a look at his plaque report.”
Rechargeable Personal Air Purifier: This tiny device hangs around your neck and eliminates airborne germs in your personal space. It’s not clear whether it’s your germs or someone else’s they’re worried about. The manufacturer claims the gadget emits two million negative ions a second, which doesn’t sound like the ideal way to make new friends and meet new people.
Discouraging TV Mimic: This contraption simulates the room lighting when a TV is on and projects it on your curtains so someone lurking in your yard at night will think you are home and decide not to ransack your house. The unit plugs into the wall just like your television, so it’s not clear why for $149.95 you don’t just leave the set on when you’re at Olive Garden.
World’s Largest Gummy Bear: Still in the catalog from last year when I first reported on it, this gummy bear is 1,000 times larger than your average fruit bear. (Say that like Yogi Bear and it sounds funnier.) HS advises that it tastes best when kept in the fridge and then sliced into cutlets, which is a term that should really be left for veal. The giant gummy bear is cherry-flavored and serves 12 kids. Or 106 adults.
That’s the Father’s Day edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Stay tuned for the 2015 Christmas edition, out in just two weeks.