SkyMall: When Bankruptcy is Hilarious

Coming as a surprise to no one, the mile-high shopping outlet, SkyMall, has officially declared bankruptcy today, producing mostly LOLs from the business world and ROTFLOLs from the internet. Apparently, SkyMall’s parent company now owes several major airlines like a bajillion dollars because exactly no one in the history of ever was stupid enough and rich enough to by any of their crap. Seriously, who did they think was going to order a remote controlled tarantula or a heated cat shelter (I didn’t make these up) while flying somewhere over the Atlantic? (I am contented to make do with my manually controlled tarantula and I cruelly force my cats to rough it in unheated cat beds inside of a room temperature house.)

The real loss here is the void this bankruptcy leaves in our list of companies deserving of mockery. The SkyMall catalog was such fertile ground for the seeds of a quick witted culture jam: What will we parody now?  My favorite was Kaspar Hauser’s SkyMaul, which is featured in one of my classroom textbooks, and includes products like the "Llama-cycle" a half-llama half-bicycle that is clearly the next big thing in rural transportation. Although business sources are citing the rise in smart phone and tablet use on airplanes as the reason for SkyMall’s decline, I argue that customers couldn’t tell the difference between the parodies of the catalog and the actual catalog itself. People had been ordering llama-cycles rather than zombie-themed garden gnomes and were frustrated when their items never arrived.

In summation, if you're going to have a company that makes useless garbage for useless rich people, at least make it distinct enough from the made-up crap to keep your company afloat.