So it’s a long flight. Your laptop battery died over Indianapolis and a whale of a storm knocked out the DirecTV feed back around Canton. San Diego never seemed so far away.
Good thing you’ve got the latest edition of SkyMall on hand. Just reach into the back seat pocket compromising your legroom and browse through the latest edition of the infamous in-flight magazine. Within SkyMall’s pages, you will find solutions to problems you never knew you had, and ingenious inventions that make you wish you had those problems. Just take your complimentary copy with you and be sure to place your order(s) in baggage claim. Problems solved.
Then again, drivers might not find everything they need from the automotive accessories section. The Cat Lady Handheld Mirror ($19.95) or the Moose Hand Towel Holder ($99.95) from the bathroom department … well, we get why you might want to purchase those essentials, but there are a few misses in the auto sector.
Sadly, however, SkyMall has reportedly filed for bankruptcy having failed to sell enough plastic garden zombies or NapAnywhere pillows to keep it afloat — and on its 25th anniversary, no less. And so, in loving memory, here are 10 of the worst automotive accessories once available in SkyMall’s beloved magazines.
These stickers are the equivalent of pasting an arrow on your windshield or writing “Road Here” in magic marker. Sure, everyone wants to know where the car you’re driving is headed, but that part is usually taken care of by the driver’s eyes. If you need an Align-N-Drive sticker ($6.95) to tell you you’re on the right track, we suggest following the magic guide to your nearest eye doctor.
Twistep Pet Step for SUVs
We love it when Rover has an easy path inside the back of our Suburban. We didn’t know it had to cost $249.95 (before tax and shipping costs) to get the big boy up there. In the Twistep Pet Step, your dog books secure passage to the back of your truck. The step slides onto the trailer hitch, which (according to SkyMall) also gives you a platform to grab stuff off the roof or “as a temporary seat to lace up your hiking boots.” And you thought the near-$300 total was extravagant.
We hate it when our tires get stuck in the dirt or — worse yet — snow and ice. Hopping out of the warm cockpit on a Monday morning (it only happens on Mondays), a fellow is forced to grab a hand shovel out of the back and dislodge said wheel. But what if the BajaBuster were in our possession? In a combination car jack and shovel, the BajaBuster (boo-yah!) takes two things everyone has, combines them into one, then puts a sticker price of $49.95 on the package. Do yourself a favor and find the nearest Army surplus store instead.
No Blind Spot Rearview Mirror
We hate it when grandma gets into a high-speed chase on the interstate and doesn’t see the red-and-blue lights flashing — whimpering — from four lanes back and to her right. Sure, it’s a minor inconvenience, but the No Blind Spot Rearview Mirror ($59.95) would give her the ability to dust the law and enjoy the disappearance of each vehicle left behind. For those of us who don’t need race-car accessories or help with a multitude of blind spots (refer back to our advice about the eye doctor), we believe the standard rearview mirror works well enough — not to mention the valuable windshield real estate that’s eaten up when this thing is implemented.
HitchMate Soft Hitch Guard
Bonus points for creativity on this one. Take something everyone has done once in a lifetime — stub a toe on the corner of a table, bang a knee on a bookcase — and create an industry around protecting against it. (Why not sell crash helmets to anyone who’s ever bumped his head on a cupboard?) Regardless, SkyMall wants you to know the solution to banging your shin on a trailer hitch is in stock. We like the unusually low price of $14.95, but we feel like buying one is giving up on some level.
CarLashes & Eyeliner
Friends don’t let friends do CarLashes. These have never, ever, looked good on anything, and we’re comfortable saying that about the eyeliner as well as standard options ($29.95). CarLashes.com is happy to showcase its products via user photos on everything from a Dodge Nitro to a cute little Bimmer like the one pictured here. SkyMall raves about the auto accessory that will “ensure that your car is turning heads everywhere you go.” That’s true. We’re just worried they turned to point and make fun of the car to their friends.
Auto Air Freshening Scent Fan
Talk about a pretty product tie-in for SkyMall. This little airplane ($11.95) does the double duty of freshening and circulating with its mini airplane propellers. Then again, if your car smells so bad that you need an air freshener plus a fan to fight off the stench, it’s time to take it in for a little detailing — something probably died in there. We’re gonna call foul on the claim that freshener and fan combo will “get rid of the unpleasant stench,” as SkyMall’s copy notes. Aren’t air fresheners by definition coverups?
Portable Pet Staircase/Ramp
If doggy didn’t take to the trailer hitch step platform ($249.95), perhaps it’s time to invest in the portable stairway to
heaven the back of your SUV ($169.95). This pricey assist doubles as a ramp if Lassie doesn’t like going step-aerobic for the two-foot trip. If the price point doesn’t offend you, perhaps complaints about dogs slipping off the steps (on the SkyMall site, no less) will serve as the red flag necessary to just say no.
Hitchmate Tire Step
We know, finally there is a device that will allow you to avoid stepping on a vehicle’s running board. This problem has filled automotive experiences with dread for decades. Fortunately, a solution for $49.99 plus applicable taxes and shipping costs now exists on SkyMall. Heck, if you are on vacation and have a rental waiting, you might want to order one rushed to your hotel so you can access the full benefits of a Hitchmate Tire Step before you even get home.
Glove Compartment Organizer
When an officer pulls you over for going 78 in a 35 mile-per-hour zone, you definitely do not want to pull out your registration and insurance card from a plastic holder or (God forbid) straight out of the glove box. They may double fines in some jurisdictions for such an offense. Here’s the good news: the “Genuine Leather” Glove Compartment Organizer ($66.00) is available on SkyMall to impress passengers and cops alike. Now that’s one suave accessory, and undoubtedly useful, but we’ll go out on a limb and say it’s far from essential.