Metro-East News

Mail order catalog piques the imagination

We retired folk have a lot of time to pay attention to things that working people might ignore.

Take mail order catalogs, for instance. We get a lot of catalogs from a lot of different companies. Many have to do with women’s clothing.

Even though most come with warnings that if I don’t buy something, this is my last issue, but they seem to keep coming. Most are personally addressed, although the labels usually include the instruction to mail carriers, “or deliver to current resident.”

Clothes, meat, chocolate, nuts, books, garden tools and all sorts of other items are at my fingertips for my perusal. It’s like being on the Internet except you don’t have to pay for it, search for anything or put up with annoying pop-up ads.

And when you are done you simply recycle the paper.

You do, however, have to turn pages. I know that is terribly 20th century but it can be fun as you find all sorts of things you didn’t even know you wanted until you knew about them.

That was the case as I was paging through my recently arrived copy of the Hammacher Schlemmer Gift Preview 2015. “Offering the Best, the Only and the Unexpected for 167 years,” it promised me.

They were dead-on with the unexpected. This catalog was like going to an auction. I am having a hard time resisting buying something.

Right there on page 3, next to the $70 mistletoe drone that flies the mistletoe over whomever you really want to kiss, was the $150, 8-foot inflatable Elsa, the character from the movie “Frozen.”

This catalog was like going to an auction. I am having a hard time resisting buying something.

Actually the prices were $69.95 and $149.95 but I am rounding all the prices up five cents because it is so annoying to keep typing .95 all the time.

It made for entertaining reading. The catalog says about the R2-D2 Humidifier, which is 12 inches tall and only $100, “Stealthily quiet, this astromech droid employs ultrasonic technology to dispense a gentle soothing mist rather than the loud fans of lesser civilizations that can be heard far, far away.”

And if you get Elsa, you need the 8-foot Inflatable Olaf, the snowman from the same movie. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Anna, the movie’s other main character.

To add to that grouping, you wouldn’t need the inflatable 15-foot gingerbread house, with 9-foot walk-through archway for $500, the 15-foot abominable snowman, Bumble, from the animated classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” for $400, and the 16-foot inflatable Christmas Darth Vader, complete with candy cane light saber for $400.

If you’re not willing to spend that much but you’re still a big fan of the evil Sith Lord, you can get a Darth Vader toaster for $50.

The catalog just kept showing me must-have stuff like the “personalized to look like you” fantasy sports caricature bobblehead for $130. Or The Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock for $200. Or an indoor flameless marshmallow roaster for $70.

For older guys like me there is a special boar bristle brush to pamper thinning hair for only $80 or a hair rejuvenator helmet with low level laser therapy for $700.

The oversized coffee mug with attached backboard and basket lets you shoot marshmallows into your hot chocolate or oyster crackers into your soup. A bargain at just $25.

And who doesn’t need a snowball launcher that can hurl the icy projectiles up to 80 feet for $35 or a Stanley Cup popcorn maker for $100?

There is so much more, 88 pages to be exact, of such things as personal oxygen bars, reconnaissance robots, tiny drones and Star Wars slippers (Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Yoda.)

But the award-winning slingshot nutcracker, only $25, looks frightening. I think the less said, the better.

For the more technical savvy of you, of course, the catalog is online.