Excessive, Extravagant, and Downright Gaudy

by Ron Haynes

Anyone who’s spent much time in a commercial airliner knows about Skymall. It’s the over-the-top catalog that graces the seatback pocket on every commercial flight I’ve ever been on. Leafing through it on my last flight made me wonder if anyone’s learned any frugality at all during this recession. If people are actually buying some of these items, the answer is No. In fact, some of the items in it are beyond extravagant. Here are a few that stood out to me:

Tan your feet?

If you wonder if people are staring at your feet because of their “unsightly” tan lines that appear when you wear your golf shoes, tan your feet with the Solafeet Foot Tanner. It looks like a $27 foot massager at Amazon but the Solafeet Foot Tanner retails for a whopping $299.99!

batmancowl Look like Batman?

If you have an extra $395 lying around, you could buy that Batman cowl you’ve wanted since Michael Keaton went from Mr. Mom to the Dark Knight. Scare your friends .. once or twice, then become really annoying or a candidate for the funny farm when everyone wants you to stop. Seriously. Does anyone really need a Batman cowl? If the answer is yes, I just gotta ask, “Why?” Oh yeah, you could also pick up those nifty Superman cuff links ($129.99).

kingtut Sarcophagus anyone?

Coming in at over 6 feet tall, the King Tut replica sarcophagus does have a dual use – it also doubles as a storage unit with its handy 14 inner shelves. I just don’t know, should I spend $850 for a fancy CD rack made from solid wood and “hand painted in a regal palette of jewel tones,” or should I pass? I think you know my answer.

Leave no wine behind?

Imagine the tragedy: you have to travel to some forlorn area of the world and you fear not having your preferred choice vino with you. Spend $499 on the Aluminum Wine Safe and you can take it with you. FAA approved no less as a carry on! Not only that, but this little silver box maintains the perfect temperature for your bottles while it keeps them safe and secure. It also prevents “label abrasion” and breakage!

Are all these video recorders legal?

Skymall has shirt pocket spy cameras the size of a pack of gum ($149.95), video recording sunglasses – I’m assuming for the beach? ($199.95), shirt-pocket underwater camcorders ($199.95), and a ball point pen that is a video and audio recorder ($149.99). Are people flying on airplanes really that paranoid? If you need to record every meeting, I’m thinking you need to brush up on your interview skills and polish up that resume.

Best of the rest

There are iPhone products galore, ridiculous lawn ornamentations, tons of products “guaranteed” to re-grow hair, more overpriced luggage options than I can mention, watch accessories I never knew existed, products to REALLY pamper your pets, interior decorations to make the HGTV crowd swoon, far too many exercise and massage products and enough sleeping aids to make you wonder if those pilots got enough rest last night. Why else would they be featured so prominently? And why is it all so expensive?

I summed it up this way: 10,000 products I’ve lived my life without – and never missed any of them.

But then again for me, that’s just about everything in the regular mall too!

Photo credits:

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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I agree with you. Many of the products offered on SkyMall are pretty useless. But I got the funny feeling that some people must be buying enough of the stuff to keep the magazine on airplanes. Besides, there is somebody out there who thought that making one of these products was a great idea. So, it is quite possible that somebody else thought it was a good idea to buy that very same product, right?

Credit Girl

So true. The items are extremely overpriced…but I guess people may give in when they’re on a long international flight and are not thinking entirely straight. After all, if they didn’t make any sells, they probably wouldn’t have money to offer those catalogs.


I’ve thought of writing a similar post on several occasions, but always ditched the idea because I wasn’t sure of the angle to take. Looks like you did a good job so I won’t have to do it now. But I will link to it from a complimentary article soon. :)

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