For Sale items I won't buy

I have friends who have really been enjoying their tandem bicycle. They happened to find a high quality used tandem that was available for sale. The bicycle is in excellent shape and they have been riding it on the George Mickelson Trail. The trail is a converted rail bed that runs north and south through the heart of the Black Hills. If you were to ride the entire trail in one direction, it would are 107 miles, but they are doing it in sections, riding out and back, so when they finish, they will have ridden each section twice. A couple of hundred miles on a tandem bicycle is a good adventure for the fall.

I’ve not ridden a tandem bicycle very much. My brother owned a tandem for a while and I had a couple of rides when visiting him. It was an interesting experience and I can see why riding a tandem is an acquired taste. Only one of the riders gets to steer. The other is there for pedaling. Good communications about starting, route and stopping are essential. But I have ridden enough to see the appeal of the device. Riders can easily talk as they enjoy a pace that really allows you to see the scenery. Still a bicycle is faster than walking, so you can cover quite a bit of ground with a reasonable output of effort. Modern bikes, like the one my friends have are equipped with multiple speeds and effective brakes and are good for a variety of different terrain.

20,000 dolar trike
If you want to take the concept to the extreme, Hammacher Schlemmer sells a seven person tricycle. The advertisement says that the vehicle facilitates close-knit conferencing during joyrides. Each rider has his or her own set of pedals that can bear operated together with the other riders’ pedals to propel the vehicle up to 10 mph. Of course there is only one person with a steering wheel. the other six have to trust that person to stay on the path. And a vehicle that goes 10 mph must have some system of brakes. After all the catalogue lists the price of the tricycle at $20,000 plus $650 for shipping and handling. I don’t plan to order one.

That is pretty much the purpose of me and the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. It is a place I go to look at things that I would never buy. I’m not sure who does buy the items in the catalogue. One presumes that someone might, making the production of the catalogue worthwhile. The company has been in business for 170 years. And they don’t charge you to look at the catalogue, so they must get their income from sales. Then again, I have no idea what the dealer profit is for a seven person tricycle. Maybe you don’t have to sell too many at $20,000 each in order to have a healthy profit.

floating hot tub
If you are not into pedaling, perhaps you’d prefer sitting back and relaxing in the Amstel Hot Tub Tug. It is a wood burning hot tub that is also a tugboat. The tug part is propelled by an electric motor that provides a cruising speed of 3 mph on calm rivers, lakes or ponds. The ad says it can accommodate up to six adult bathers in 475 gallons of water heated by that wood stove. It takes 2 1/2 hours to get the water heated with the woodstove, which gets up to 100 degrees. That’s pretty hot so the craft has two built-in ice chests. The ad says that the device will run up to 8 hours on a single charge of the battery. I think I’ll pass on this $25,000 device as well. I already own more boats than is practical. And my boats keep you dry when you are paddling them.

Another item I noticed is the iceless skating rink. For those who just can’t wait until winter, you can purchase a set of interlocking polymer panels that mimic the slickness of ice, yet rain solid when set up outdoors in warm weather. You could use it indoors if you had a room that was more than 15 by 30 feet. It seems perfect for people who can’t go all summer without strapping on their sakes and don’t want to take the time to visit an indoor rink. In our town you can skate year-round at the Roosevelt Ice Arena. It has the added benefit of refrigeration to keep the real ice solid, so it is a cool place on a hot summer day. Compared to the price of a seven-person tricycle or a floating hot tub, the artificial ice rink is a real bargain, priced at only $4,000 plus $200 for shipping and handling. I’m not a customer for the ice rink. I’ve never even spent a tenth of the purchase price on a bicycle.

Within my price range is a flameless candle lighter. Instead of emitting a flame like a regular lighter, it sends and electronic pulse to a pair of conductive electrodes at the tip of the device that ionize the air between them and generates a 2,012 degree voltaic arc. I don’t know how good the device is at lighting candles, but I have to admit that my mind wondered to more nefarious uses of the device. It might work like a personal taser. It certainly seems like being touched with those electrodes when charged would cause a significant amount of pain. It doesn’t take much thinking on my part to decide that owning a device like that one isn’t a good idea, especially for someone like me whose mind thinks of the wrong ways to use the thing.

I’m not going to order anything from the catalogue. Still, it amused me for a while and I got a journal post from it. I don’t know who buys that things that they sell, but there must be others who read it to look at pictures of things that they would never buy.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!