Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sharper Image Bankruptcy Renews My Faith in Basic Consumer Intelligence

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

well, if they were really sharp, they would not be going bankrupt, now would they?

It’s likely old news to everyone by now that electronic oddity store The Sharper Image is going bankrupt. You may have heard about it on the news or from a friend. Or perhaps you found out the hard way when you tried to use a Sharper Image gift card in the store only to have it refused. That’s right, as it flaps around like a fish out of sound fiscal waters, The Sharper Image will no longer take its own gift cards.

While I could easily talk at length about how wrong it is for a store to stop accepting its own gift cards, I have to say I’m quite amused by this situation. You see, The Sharper Image is the most perfect example of a store that needed to go bankrupt. I can think of no store, not even my arch-nemesis Wal-Mart, for which financial collapse is a more fitting fate. My anti-Sharper Image stance can be traced to the three characteristics of The Sharper Image that led to its demise:

  1. The Sharper Image sells nothing but crap that nobody needs.
  2. That crap is overpriced.
  3. Despite the fact that Americans like to buy useless, overpriced crap, The Sharper Image couldn’t figure out how to sell their own useless, overpriced crap.

The fact that The Sharper Image is going under has slightly renewed my faith in the American shopping public. I’m shocked they were around for as long as they were selling dinosaur robots and other technological amusements that are about as fun as stabbing oneself in the face with the broken shards of a Chia Pet. Even I, someone who is easily amused by every latest shiny blinking contraption (fortunately I possess just enough financial restraint to keep myself from buying them… usually), have no problem passing by The Sharper Image every time I encounter one of their stores.

I think the best indication of just how worthless The Sharper Image is (was?) is the fact that some credit card issuers have reward programs that let you trade in one dollar worth of reward points for roughly $8,000 in The Sharper Image gift cards which is roughly enough value to get you one pack of used Sharper Image-brand AA batteries (batteries not included).

Now that I think about it, there is the possibility that The Sharper Image will emerge from its bankruptcy somewhat intact, still taking up shopping mall units that would otherwise turn into emergency backup Starbucks in case the mall’s primary or secondary Starbucks location ever had an espresso machine failure. If The Sharper Image does manage to return from the abyss, please… I implore you, don’t fall for its shiny blinking subterfuge. Stay far away from those robotic dinosaurs and roll-up piano keyboards like in that one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and hopefully The Sharper Image won’t make it very long into Round Two.

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