The Avocado

Grading items from Sharper Image 2020

Christmas is the time when every single corporate entity clogs up your mailbox with catalogs. You have to sift through them one by one, because there’s a chance that the mailman rolled up a card that was sent to you by your aunt in there. There are the familiar ones sent to you by department stores, meat companies, toy stores… but hold on.

Sharper Image? That still exists. In online form!

Yes, the Sharper Image disappeared from malls… and frankly it was just an excuse to spend five minutes in the massage chair after wandering the malls all Christmas shopping season. Ah, remember those days? When they let you sit on things?

Now without the store we all have to sit on the Starbucks bannisters like a bunch of chumps. But the store retreated to the safety and relatively lower rents of the online space.

The internet needs to thank its lucky stars for this company, as it has reliably proven an easy target to dunk on for decades. At the same time, it’s one of the more interesting catalogues to browse. There is nothing fun about browsing the Macy’s catalog. Sharper Image, on the other hand, is like peering into an alternate reality view of the future… where everything is powered by watch batteries and festooned with LED screens. I imagine every single one of these items end up getting lost in a plastic storage bin after a few months of use.

In the past, we’ve had strange ideas of how to shed the fat away. You had vibrating exercise belts, fat flush drinks, all meat Atkins diets, sensible meal plans, and so on. All fools. The true secret is to put a tiny refrigerator on your tummy and freeze the fat away. I don’t know if it works, but I kinda wish I had this in the summer to cool off when the AC was out. Grade: C.

There are multiple fat freezing items, so it’s got to work, right? I mean, I know that I look like Brad Pitt when I’m outside in subzero weather. Grade: C.

Have you ever rolled around in bed, fumbled on your phone to check the weather, then dropped in on the floor before you could activate the facial recognition to unlock it? There’s got be a better way! Thankfully, Sharper Image has a device that will project today’s weather in a comforting red display above your head. No complications like precipitation or wind speed or air quality or hour by hour forecast. Just a regular old cloud icon that might replicate what you can see by looking out the window. Practical! Grade: B.

Re-enact your favorite Western scene of when the hero has just been rescued from an ambush, is recovering in a cabin somewhere, and as he steadily recovers gets to target practice some old cans. Only… it’s the future so the gun fires infrared lasers! Boom! Mind blown! Grade: B+.

This can’t wait until we get back to the clubhouse? You… need a drink right now? Should… should you really be trying to hit a ball while hammered? No… Al, that’s not the five iron. That’s the drink cooler… Great, it’s everywhere now. How am I going to explain this to Gladys? Grade: B-.

I imagine some vendor was trying to unload a bunch of LED flashlights. The Sharper Image CEO was visibly unimpressed, and in a desperate moment the vendor was like, “Did I mention that… they’re salt and pepper shakers?” Then the CEO was like, “I have heard you pitch some lousy ideas in my time, but then you go an do something like this…. AND YOU TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF! SOLD!” Grade: C+.

You know what’s fantastic about cassettes? the warmth. Oh no, wait, that’s vinyls. Anyway, if for some reason you want to put your cassettes on a USB, and then upload it to the cloud, and then download it back onto your phone so you can listen to it at anytime, Sharper Image has you covered. Because why pay the $1 per song when you already bought that track 30 years ago? Don’t let the music industry bleed you dry, man! Now where’s my 8-track to CD burner, guys. Grade: B.