Hammacher Schlemmer


Ah, those enticing words……”Hammacher Schlemmer”.

I hear them every year, right about this time….those enticing, alluring, enthralling words.  How they draw me in!  I mean, I am a middle aged teacher lady from Massachusetts.  What do I know of world culture?  It is only when I pick up my annual copy of the “Hammacher Schlemmer” catalogue that I am able to catch a glimpse of a richer, more sophisticated, more cultured world.

For years now, I have pictured two men, on German, one Swiss.  They wear coal gray three piece suits and have haircuts that cost more than my family’s annual income.  They sit in 80th floor offices, overlooking the Rhine, or the Danube or something. The post-modern furniture (what does that even mean?) seats ten comfortably.  Beautiful blonds secretaries wander in and out with Gevalia Kaffe and perfect chocolates.

Ah…..I can imagine it now……..

I have always assumed that “Hammacher Schlemmer” is a corporation formed by two Germanic families, long ago. I imagine that the original offerings included Swiss cowbells and lederhosen.  I have always pictured cold, crisp air and mountain scenes.

I guess I always thought that Heidi and her Grandfather once ordered a clock from the famed Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue (which at the time would have been handwritten on old newspaper).

So when our catalogue came this year, I was filled with nostalgic hope for a simpler time.  I opened the glossy pages to peruse the offerings.

Well, gee.

I found “The High Definition Camera Drone” for $299.95.       And “The Best Nose Hair Trimmer” for $19.95.

I also found “The Darth Vader Toaster”, which would allow me, (for a mere fifty dollars) to make my toast in a giant replica of Darth Vader’s Head. It would “transform my innocent slices of bread into sinister breakfast tokens of evil.” Yummy.

As I turned the pages of the glossy magazine, I was enticed by “The Nursery Rhyme Reciting Lamb” for $39.95, an item which I am sure any sane mother would want to drown within an hour of its delivery.  This was followed on the page by “The 12 Foot Inflatable Slumbering Santa”, an inflatable 7 foot santa with a motion activated belly that heaves up and down while he makes audible snoring sounds.  This is for people who don’t know what to do with $200 dollars.

I continued to flip through the pages, figuring that at any moment I’d come across something interesting, nostalgic, innocent and/or celebratory.


I found “The Hands Free Hair Rejuvenator”, an item that looked remarkably like the hat worn by Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future.”  This little device sells for $699.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer.

I also found “The Biofeedback Posture Trainer” for $89.95 and “The Automatic Flameless Candles” at $39.95 for a set of four.

Huh.  Pretty sure that these are the exact same “Automatic Candles” that I got at Stop N’ Shop for 99 cents each.

As I continued to go through the catalogue, I came to an interesting realization.  Not that I mean to be a skeptic, but I am pretty damn sure at this point that “Hammacher” means “useless crap” and “Schlemmer” means “at exorbitant prices”.

Oh, those Germans.  They really think they can pull one over on us!

16 thoughts on “Hammacher Schlemmer

  1. I actually like their pre-lit Christmas trees. I used to get depressed taking our tree out to the curb with its few pathetic pieces of clinging tinsel, even knowing the tree would get recycled. I just felt the tree should have lived longer. We don’t have room on our 6,600 sf foot lot to buy a living potted tree and plant it every year. Now we just fold up the branches and put the thing back in the garage.


  2. Now you’ve done it! That’s Momma Bear’s favorite catalog you’re slamming. She’s only really happy when she gets her bi-weekly, all-new copy of Hammer Slammer in the mail. She carefully goes through it, page by page, thinking that only if she could afford to buy her own dolphin-submarine, she’d be complete.

    One time I took the latest Hamacher Slamacher off the coffee table to see what there was inside that made her so happy to look at, but all I found were silly toys for adults. And most of those were for men, so I still don’t know why she likes this catalog. Maybe it’s her window into the world of men. Yeah, that’s probably it. When she looks at their catalog, she can quietly giggle at how stupid men’s toys are — not sensible stuff like I want, but essentially electronic nose pickers and the world’s best musical toilet paper roller. Give me a new light saber any day!

    I usually enjoy your writing, but now you’re just trying to make my life difficult, aren’t you? I guess I’d better go hide your blog from her ’cause, as everybody knows, if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t NObody happy…


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