Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to Save Sharper Image

Dear Friends,

   I was saddened to learn that The Sharper Image shut down all of its retail stores last year. Perhaps their product line was simply too innovative. Or perhaps the customers that could benefit most from the Sleeve Lengthener or the GPS-ready Water Wings are already dead.
   The Hard Taco song for February, "Let's Play Pretend," is only a little innovative, so it might be just thing that The Sharper Image needs to reconnect with consumers.
   Okay, Sharper Image, now that we’ve entered into this partnership, let's take a look at your competition. There used to be a catalog called Hammacher Schlemmer that sold a lot of similar gadgets. Well, when Hammacher Schlemmer came to America, its name was offhandedly changed by an anglophile Ellis Island immigration official. On paper, the company must now go by "Hamburglar.”
    The real giant in the innovative products industry is Sky Mall. They have identified a willing niche: airborne consumers with at least one hand. Their only competition for the attention of these consumers is a half-finished crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine. I suggest that The Sharper Image change their name to "Mallwings" or “Shopping While High” to help capture a share of this market, and kick off their new product line with the following moderately innovative offerings:

Lawn Sodoku - A delightful square 20' x 20' Soduku board, easy to install. One use, medium difficulty. $39

Thiesman Fracture Replica - Have your own 1:1 scale replica of Joe Thiesman's gruesome compound tibial fracture. $119.
Meter-Aid Parking Alarm - The Meter-Aid uses smart technology to predict when your meter is about to expire. It then drops additional quarters directly onto your windshield. When the parking cops arrive to ticket you, they will be safely bribed while you continue your errands. $279

Shoeprint Stencils - Wouldn't it be great to do the Shim-Sham-Shimmy in your own kitchen? But who can remember the moves?! With our new shoeprint stencils and some black spray paint, you can commemorate your favorite dance moves wherever you want. These stencils are also helpful for more mature customers who don’t remember how to get to their own bathrooms. $49
Chinese Burr Garden - Ancient Chinese horticulturalists knew that burrs could be arranged in a bed of sand to channel positive energy. While wild burrs are very difficult to capture and dangerous to handle, modern Chinese horticulturists believe that the same affect can be attained by arranging small pieces of Velcro. $69

Engraved Gummi Worm – Have your initials (or favorite three letter word) commemorated forever on a gummi worm. Maximum order: 1. $25

Showers of the World – What would it feel like to shower at the bottom of Lake Ontario or the shores of the Panama Canal? The Showers of the World satellite system continuously updates your shower experience to match the real time temperature and turbidity of any body of water in the world. $499

AccentID - Accents are caused by subtle changes in the shape of someone's palate and tongue. Now you can identify even the most obscure accents. Simply take a plastic/plaster mold of the foreign person saying "em," "voo," unh," and "beef." AccentID will analyze the molds and tell you the origin of the accent from its library of >10000 languages and dialects.

iPod Popcorn Adapter - iPods are great for watching small movies, but it's not truly a miniature theater experience without a single kernel of freshly popped buttered popcorn. Includes 20 individually wrapped kernels with adapter wiring. $49

Handsie Pajamas - We all remember pajamas with hands, but until now they were not available in adult sizes. Hurry, because this fad won’t last long. $69

Baby Jesus Monitor - Now parents can keep close tabs on Baby Jesus, even when they are up to 100 feet outside of the manger. $50

With warmest regards,