Opinion: Give the gift of … plastic grills and gummies?


During the past several years, I have saved my Hammacher Schlemmer catalogs and poked fun at their products. Here are a few of my favorites.

World’s Largest Gummy Bear: This gummy bear is 1,000 times larger than your average fruit bear (say that in Yogi Bear’s voice and it’s a lot 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.

Fish-Catching RC Boat: The perfect gift for the absolute laziest person in your life. It’s a pint-sized boat that fishes for you. Yes, it trolls the lake, sets the hook when the fish strikes and then brings the fish back to shore. It’s $69.95, and for an extra six bucks you can get a sign to put on your front door: Home fishing.

The Smart Brella:  An umbrella that has a smartphone attached to the handle. While walking in the rain, you can hit the button and make a call. People thought you were crazy talking to yourself with that Bluetooth gizmo in your ear. Now, the whole neighborhood thinks you are having a conversation with an inanimate object. Here’s my prediction for what people will say about you when they see you using this contraption: “Mostly funny, with only a slight chance of sane.”

The Reading Time Clock: This is the dumbest gadget ever. Instead of numbers on a round clock, it has real words that come up on a screen. So, it might say:  it’s eight thirty. However, the clock doesn’t actually say it—you have to read it. A minute later we see: it’s eight thirty-one. Who would want this as a gift? Maybe it’s for people who are literate (they know all the letters) but just never learned numbers?

The Children’s Weber Grill:  For kids who already have iPhones and computers and high-tech video games. What fun, to have a fake plastic grill so you can pretend you are cooking a plastic hot dog on pretend coals.  Learn to be just like Dad, who in 17 years behind the barbecue still can’t figure out medium-rare.

More favorites next week….

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