Capitalizing on our paranoia

May 6, 2014

Disaster-capitalism-speakThe thing about capitalism is that entrepreneurs can and will monetize just about everything.
Including our paranoia.  That’s the beauty of our system.

The Skymall catalog is my favorite part of flying, because I’m bound to find a WTF moment that distracts me from the fact that I might disappear over the Indian Ocean. Or land on some deserted island as part of a secret terrorist mission.  My last flight did not disappoint, because I found THIS:

Let me introduce you to Skysafe


A backpack-sized device you can strap on to help you escape from a high-rise building in the event of a fire or other disaster.

skysafe escape skymall ad

No need to rappel — or jump off a building — simply lower yourself down the side of a high-rise tower safely.

skysafe skymall ad

Use it for up to 250 feet of descent!

I must confess: in the height of the Sept. 11 paranoia instigated by that horrible Dick Cheney I bought a gas mask. I did. Super expensive, it was.  I also bought a good supply of duct tape.  All of those preparations look pretty stupid today, but at the time, enterprising companies smart enough to capitalize on the country’s rampant paranoia raked it in.This time, though, I think I’ll pass. Even though I think this is a brilliant idea and there should be a supply on every floor of a high-rise building.  But, here’s something: the Client Testimonials tab on their website has no entries. I wonder what that means.

So how about you? You buying one?

27 comments on “Capitalizing on our paranoia
  1. I try not to pay much attention to stuff like that, having finally learned the media strategy of making us always feel the need to buy something.
    As for disasters? When my time comes it comes. I am fortunate enough not to live in a flood prone or earthquake prone place…though we did have an earthquake a year or two ago. I have a flashlight and some matches. And, a big stick.

  2. Like you’d have time to strap that thing on in an emergency. Pffft.

  3. Karen @BakingInATornado says:

    When my kids were little we used to love going through that Sky Mall magazine and laugh at all the absurd products. And if the products weren’t funny, the prices sure were!

  4. Skymall catalogue always makes me go WTF. I do want one of those zombies for my garden though…. you know, the one that looks like it is coming out of the ground? xo

  5. Haralee says:

    How did I miss the SkySaver? I always think of the Dustin Hoffman character in RainMan, on these kind of products! My company was approached by a pr firm and one of their selling points was they could get my product into the Sky Mall magazine. I passed.

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    LOL, that is hilarious! And I hadn’t thought about the duct tape and gas mask hysteria in a while. Geez. What were we thinking?

  7. Oh my goodness—we are birds of a feather! I wrote one post on SkyMall items and one of the creators of one of the “products” started following me. I just flew yesterday and took the catalog so I could do another post!!! There are always some very interesting items for sale and someone must buy them, right? I love the SkySaver!!! Not. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I may have to include a link to your post here when I write my next one!!! Thanks for the giggle!

  8. admin says:

    I know exactly which one. Don’t do it, Sissy!

  9. I wouldn’t want to need one, but I kind of want one.

  10. Karen says:

    I dunno, Carol. I think the ability to rappel down the sides of tall buildings could come in handy, disaster or not. I mean, what if the elevator breaks down? Or you’re in a really boring meeting on the 25th floor, and the only way to get out is by faking insanity, giving everyone the finger, then leaping out the nearest window, and safely lowering yourself to street level, while clutching a martini and singing the theme from Goldfinger? I just think it could come in handy, you know?

  11. Mooshki says:

    A huge chunk of our economy is based on fear. Fear of aging, fear of not fitting in with our peers… This is just a very literal example. 🙂

  12. Mooshki says:

    p.s. LOL, Karen!

  13. I love SkyMall! As for this backpack–I’m amusing myself trying to imagine the sort of guy (of course, a guy) who needs to be that prepared. Obviously one who was toilet trained too early…and is more than a tad paranoid. Oh yeah, the whole cast of Preppers!

  14. My gosh, I do think I need one of those items. And it’s total pocket change so once more I say, I do think I need one of those.

  15. You are too funny. I have honestly never looked at that catalog and now I know why! Hahahahaha!

  16. Well…that’s one I hadn’t seen yet. I wonder how their sales are going? Seems like using it might not be as easy as it looks.

    My husband read through SkyMall a few years ago and ordered us a garden zombie. Which I prefer to skysafe even though it’s much less practical.

  17. Denise Gabbard says:

    I am SO disappointed— when I saw the pic, I thought it was going to be one of those jetpacks like they had on Lost in Space! I would absolutely shell out $500 for one of those. I like the 160 and 260 numbers, too…I see that those are the height of the building, but I wonder if weight makes a difference, as I imagine a 260 pound person would drop faster.

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