Last month, I flew to Tampa to visit my best friend and his family…which is really my second family in just about every way possible.
There was one thing I noticed was missing on the flight: there were no SkyMall catalogs.
Since I had a connecting flight both ways, I assumed, on the first plane, that the missing catalog must have been an oversight, and that on my connecting flight, there’d surely be a copy waiting for me. There wasn’t.
Same story on both legs of my return.
I’ve never purchased anything from SkyMall, but I’ll quickly admit I enjoyed browsing its catalog looking at some of the cool gadgets I wouldn’t mind having and the outlandish things some other people apparently really want. The latter, incidentally, always far outweighs the former.
News that SkyMall has filed for bankruptcy may explain the missing catalogs last month.
According to The Wall Street Journal, SkyMall’s CEO blamed the problem on changing FAA rules that allow people more time on their personal devices like cell phones, tablets and laptops. That tech time, they say, keeps people occupied when they might otherwise be perusing the SkyMall catalog.
That’s probably a fair diagnosis…of at least part of the problem.
I suspect it’s a bit more than that, however.
After all, when is the last time you purchased something from a paper catalog? Even a paper catalog that was delivered straight to your front door so you could thumb through it and make your shopping list from the comfort of your own living room?
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s been years.
And then there’s this obvious point: all those people who are surfing the web? Given the right incentive — like coupons handed out by flight attendants prior to take off through partnerships with airlines — SkyMall.com could be a destination for people who are not only curious to shop but ready to spend.
It’s the 21st century, after all. No one’s going to mail in an order when they are a few clicks away from the “Purchase” button.
I hope SkyMall finds a solution for its financial problems. I’ll miss seeing the crazy things people will buy, alongside the things I really want but had no idea even existed!