Saturday, October 14, 2006

Preposterous Tat

It’s mail-order catalog season again! A few weeks ago, the Harriet Carter catalog showed up in our mailbox. I have no idea how we got on Harriet’s mailing list, as B and I have certainly never ordered anything from Harriet, nor are we in the demographic they are targeting (senior citizens). Nevertheless, we are always delighted to get the Harriet Carter catalog because of the hours of entertainment it provides. Really, ol' Harriet sells some of the most preposterous tat! I’ve gone ahead and categorized some of the best/worst stuff for everyone’s entertainment/convenience.

Most Malicious Gift You wouldn’t possibly give something this hideous to someone you liked, right? Notice that the male and female masks are essentially the same except that the female version is wearing some ghastly lipstick and has couple of limp hanks of grizzled hair. Despite this corner cutting, the masks still go for $22.98 each.

Most Unnecessary Invention The selling point for this thing is that it's too troublesome and time consuming to boil water. Huh? The copywriter makes matters worse by declaring that the hot dog toaster is a real “wiener.” You know how I feel about that!

Most Sexist Gift There is no equivalent “Granddaughter you are the Apple of my eye!” pillow. So I guess we are to assume that nothing a granddaughter could ever do would be good enough to merit one of these $9.98 pillows from granny or gramps. But hang on, if the granny or gramps is so ding-dong proud of his/her grandson wouldn’t you think that the pillow would be a little more personal, like maybe have the kid’s actual name on it? And I have to wonder what kid is going to be pleased to find this thing under the Christmas tree in lieu of a toy? Question: Why is “Apple” capitalized?

Most Disgusting Gift Nose- and ear-hair trimmers are icky enough. No need to amp up the gross-out factor. My sympathies to the model.

Most Annoying Gift Here’s the copy that goes with it: “Farting slippers 'break wind' as you walk. They’re a gas! Present these sound-off slippers to any 'fart'-u-nate old-timer and get ready for 'explosive' laughter.” The copywriter should be executed for writing that.

Gift Least Likely to Deliver What It Promises The catalog is chockful of dubious items and spurious claims, but I think this item is the most flagrantly deceiving. The claim here is that you can “moisten” a pair of trousers that is too small, insert this “extender” device, and—presto—add 5 inches to the waist size. No way is that going to happen. Another unlikely claim: It won’t harm the clothing.

Most Frightening Gift Again, there are a lot of contenders for this category, but I’m thinking that being confronted with this thing during a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom this might cause permanent psychological scarring.

Runner Up for Most Annoying and Most Unnecessary Gift First of all, how much TP do you have to have ready to hand? This mammoth thing holds twenty-freakin’-four rolls! Plus, you know that every time you open or close the bathroom door that thing is going to be flopping around. I’ll bet it falls off on a regular basis as well. Also, it is exceptionally aesthetically displeasing. Beige with a zipper.

It’s actually making me kind of sad to look at all this rubbish and think about who’s being conned into buying it. The senior citizens they're targeting are likely on a fixed income and don't don’t need to be pissing away their savings on this shit.


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