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Travel RobeIf you’ve followed my coverage of SkyMall over the years (my work in the field predates SkyMall Tuesday), you know that I can’t always pretend to shower praise on every product that I feature. Sometimes, things just don’t hit the mark. What kind of SkyMall expert would I be if I just hid those duds in the closet and pretended that they don’t exist? As such, this week, we must all suffer through a perplexing failure that just doesn’t make sense. We do this so that we can all continue to appreciate the greatness of the SkyMall products that truly do hold value. How can we appreciate the Garden Yeti (now available in medium, large, and life-size) and Carlashes unless we come to understand that they are truly miracles of invention? It’s easy to take SkyMall for granted until you realize that it, too, is capable of disappointing us. That’s why, this week, I point my finger scornfully at SkyMall and demand to know why anyone would ever require this abomination. I give you the Lightweight Travel Robe.

You might be wondering what has me so riled up. After all, it’s just a robe. Well, that’s the thing. It’s just a robe! It’s not self-heating. It’s not also a hot dog cooker (which would help make it self-heating). It doesn’t even have internet connectivity. It’s just a robe! And a travel robe at that. Why do you need to pack a robe? You don’t need a robe. It just takes up space in your luggage. Besides, your hotel room will probably have robes. Monogrammed robes (which, if your last name is Radisson, you should totally steal). You could also use the towels that your hotel provides. Or, you could just be naked (but don’t lay down on the bedspread nude because you’ll probably contract full-body syphilis).


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Think that packing your own robe is more sanitary? Believe that having your own robe will prevent homesickness? Well, while you unpack your Justin Bieber Travel Kit to make room for your robe, we’ll be reading the product description:


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Only from Hammacher Schlemmer, this is the travel robe rated “Best Overall” by The Wall Street Journal. The robe weighs just 1 lb. and fits unobtrusively in your suitcase; its polyester microfleece construction provides comfort and warmth that rivals wool or cashmere.

Shockingly, this claim is true. Lauren Lipton, the “Catalog Critic” at The Wall Street Journal, did declare this robe the “Best Overall.” She said plenty more than that, though. “Our Best Overall, from Hammacher Schlemmer, isn’t perfect — its polyester microfleece requires a fair amount of suitcase space when folded,” she noted. She went on to add that “[f]olded, it’s still three inches thick, and it weighed in at a little over 1 1/2 pounds. It didn’t live up to its “won’t wrinkle” claims. (The company suggests ironing it on low — just how we like to spend our vacation.)”

It’s apparently not difficult to be named “Best Overall” in the travel robe market since travel robes are, in their very existence, lame. It’s the equivalent of naming Taco Bell’s Beefy 5-Layer Burrito the “Best Overall” travel diarrhea instigator.

They can’t all be winners, folks. However, this will help us grow. We’ll all be better off for having experienced this disappointment. Live. Love. Learn.

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