Look Sharp

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Time for a little silliness and a brief walk down memory lane. You’re welcome to come with me.

We set the way back machine to sometime in the 90’s back when we had few cares in the world. Malls were a big thing back then. I guess they still are except that Amazon seems poised to take over the retail world because most people would rather shop from their computer than venture out among people. I’m guessing the ‘rona accelerates that trend.

Our town had the normal selection of malls with the typical anchor stores – most of which no longer exist. And there was one “special” mall which catered more to the people with money. So instead of the normal assortment of stores, you’d get stores that were only at that particular mall. The store mix has changed but it is still mostly true today.

Anyway, among the many, many stores selling overpriced women’s clothing, you had a few specialty stores. One of these was the Sharper Image. I don’t get the name. But they had gadgets and gizmos and all sorts of stuff. Stuff that you didn’t need but looked cool. Stuff that really said you had more money than sense. I’ll admit to spending much time in there looking at things and trying to talk myself into buying something but I’m not sure if I ever did. It was eventually easy to talk myself out of any impulse purchases.

I’m not sure when but I guess enough people were like me that the store went out of business. Now it exists only in catalog form and I just got one of their catalogs yesterday. Some people hate catalogs. I don’t. I know I said I prefer the personal touch when I want to buy something but the beauty of a catalog is you can just gaze at the items without a clerk coming up to ask if you need help. I always hate saying “no I’m just looking” because you can almost feel them wanting you to leave the store as soon as possible to make room for someone who might actually buy something.

So what kind of stuff can you find? Well let’s talk about what caught my eye.

Solar powered neon yard stakes. I’m not going to lie – I’ve owned neon colored stuff before. Yes, it speaks to me. And you have a green hummingbird, a blue butterfly or a pink flower. All three for the low, low price of $119.99. See this is my problem – I see cool stuff but I’m not going to spend that much for it. So I’ll pass. (Alright, they are probably more tacky than cool)

A wireless phone charging station with UV sanitizer. Never let a pandemic go to waste. Of course they can’t tell you that it eliminates the ‘rona because they don’t know. So they just say it kills bacteria and hope you’ll just infer that it is good for everything. A bargain at $99.99. Does it really work to keep the price under $100. Do people really make a decision at an even number. Like $100 is too much but $99.99 is OK? Just curious. I know phones get disgusting but there are cheaper ways to clean. Pass.

The fat burning and toning belt which uses LED light therapy and electronic muscle stimulation to reduce fat cells and tone muscle in just 15 minutes a day. It states that it is FDA cleared. I did find an FDA clearance for a similar device but it doesn’t mention fat burning. But they construct the text very carefully to make sure they aren’t saying that. Probably has some benefits but not likely to be the ones they claim. Only $299.99. Nah – just buy yourself some exercise equipment. There are no shortcuts.

The ionic car air purifier and dual USB charger. Because in the future, everything will have a USB charger – until the tech geniuses come up with another way to charge everything. It says it generates negative ions to remove dust, dander, pollen, odors and more (what else is there?). But if it removes it, where does it go? Matter can’t be destroyed. Seems like it just moves the dust somewhere else. This one is a real bargain at $69.99 (Again with the .99). I have a feeling it needs to be cleaned frequently. I suppose if you want extra USB ports and maybe something else then it might be worth it. But I doubt it.

The Smart Diffuser – allows you to program aromatherapy times right from your phone. And you can even change the fragrance (although they only give you two options). Having too many “smart” things is just a sign that you have way too much money and time on your hands. This one is just $79.99. Or you can probably buy a reed diffuser for far less. Not smart but still functional.

The big ticket items are the massage chairs. I remember those from the store. Back in the day, we didn’t worry about viruses so you’d jump in right after someone jumped out. Today, they’d probably spend more time disinfecting them. And you sometimes had people who would just camp out in them. They might feel good but they just look ugly and bulky. Plus, you buy something electronic and it is going to break and then you’ve just got an ugly chair that does nothing.

There’s plenty more but I’ll stop here. Now I wonder why I spent so much time in that place. I mean the stuff looks cool at first glance but nothing I could ever really spend money on.

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