SkyMall, once the dream bazaar of the Jet Age, is crashing ingloriously to Earth with a filing for bankruptcy, having flown too close to the sun on wax wings it probably bought from SkyMall. In the company’s filing for Chapter 11 protection, executives for the long-running in-flight shopping catalog blamed the “increased use of electronic devices”—smartphones and tablets, certainly, but possibly also the Tikker Happiness Life Countdown Watch—for why passengers no longer felt the need to browse for other, even more useless electronic devices, or ridiculous carrying cases for them.
With more and more airlines offering in-flight wifi, the filing adds, SkyMall also faces “additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers,” as travelers are no longer limited to browsing the airplane seat back when it comes to buying stupid shit they don’t need. Indeed, an entire world of stupid shit is at their fingertips even as they hurtle through the skies, and often at prices that seem far more reasonable, especially after a Xanax.
Still, there’s something to be said for the glory days when aviation was the pursuit of the noble class, when ladies and gentlemen dressed for air travel in their spiffiest hats and boxiest suits, and winged their way toward the horizon while idly perusing novelty pet toys. The future gleamed once, like a robot litter box.
Back then, one could dream among the clouds, and those dreams would be waiting for us on the ground—wrapped up in a box containing our very own, adult-size Hippity Hop Ball. Once we bounced. Now we iPhone.
Of course—characterized by the optimism that has always colored the catalog that is certain there’s a market for biker gnome sculptures, pierogi-shaped ornaments, and boxes that shout personalized affirmations only at guys named Bob—SkyMall believes there’s still a chance it could sell its greatest, most useless product: itself. The company is currently looking for a buyer who will take on SkyMall and keep it as a going concern. Note: It also makes a great conversation piece! Amuse your friends!