SkyMall or Chindogu? (The Japanese Art of Un-Useless Inventions)

by Katy on October 10, 2013 · 7 comments

SkyMall. The catalog. The absurdity. With its focus on the truly unnecessary, yet weirdly tempting merchandise, you’d be lying if you said you’d never flipped through its glossy pages without finding that one product that blew your mind.

I’m not sure if they have an official motto, but I would like to suggest:

“Solving the problems of the ever so slightly inconvenienced at 30,000 feet.”

Chindogu. The refined Japanese art of making un-useless inventions. The absurdity.

I present to you the fun new party game of . . .

SkyMall or Chindogu?


The umbrella tie. 

Skymall or Chindogu?

Umbrella tie

Hand Reflexology Massager.

SkyMall or Chindogu?

Hand massager

Or maybe . . . that pain hand box from Dune?


Big butt panties.

SkyMall or Chindogu?

Magic benefit panty

Baby floor cleaner.

SkyMall or Chindogu?

Baby floor swifter

Noodle face guard.

SkyMall or Chindogu?

Noodle face guard


Beer bottle hoodie.

SkyMall or Chindogu?

Beer Pouch Hoodie

Velcro-able stuff hoodie.

SkyMall or Chindogu?


Okay, this one was a trick, as it was created by Patrick Strattner, who needed products to photograph for his professional portfolio. Inspired by SkyMall, he created some ah-mazing faux products that will blow your mind!

All kidding aside though, as I have to give mad props to SkyMall for photographing a boy with a play kitchen:

SkyMall play kitchen

A rarity in the increasingly sexist world of toy design that we currently live in.


Fisher Price kitchen

Still unconvinced about the sexist nature of toy kitchen marketing? I present to you Exhibit A:

Play Kitchen

And Exhibit B:

Play kitchen drudgery

So, how’d you do? Were you able to discern the SkyMall products from the Chindogu? (I’ll give you a clue, which is that the poorly shot photographs of Japanese people are the Chindogu.)

Absurdity. It’s everywhere.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi October 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Katy: I love Chindogu! We had a design museum in our city that had an exhibit of Chindogu done by everyday people. It was great! For weeks afterward we made up our own.


Katy October 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

That would be such a fun exhibit!



nebuchudnessar October 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I love the baby mop, I so would have bought one if my daughter had crawled for more than 2 seconds before walking 😉


Hope :) October 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Now, in fairness, this IS cheap entertainment. I always love perusing the ol’ Skymall while cruising at 30,000 feet! (Remember the old days with the Airfones they used to have in every row of the plane? My family and I used to joke about placing a Skymall order right from the Airfone.)


Rebecca October 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

I kind of like the Baby Floor Cleaner, too. : )


Diane C October 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I Love, Love, Love the baby floor cleaner! Put those useless babies to work, lol!


Rachel October 17, 2013 at 6:00 am

Hahahahaha my boyfriend actually has a beer bottle hoodie. It is not from SkyMall and has a logo of our running and beer drinking club on it… it’s pretty awesome.

The baby floor cleaner is pretty awesome, too. Actually, all of these are hilarious.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: