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From A Frequent Flier To SkyMall, Thanks For The Memory Foams

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Where am I going to get a Bigfoot garden yeti statue, or a Grillbot automatic grill-cleaning robot, or a strike-a-pose zen yoga frog statue? This week, the company that publishes the SkyMall in-flight catalog filed for bankruptcy. Now, you may wonder - how can a company that sells Boise State Bronco or Purdue Boilermaker pet beds for $90 dollars or Chicago hot dog-scented T-shirts for $28 go bankrupt? Well, it may not be the goods, but the tech.

With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, chief executive Scott Wiley said in court papers, fewer people browse the SkyMall in-flight catalog. And he added that more airline in-flight Wi-Fi, quote, "resulted in additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers." I don't know, I never had a problem paging through SkyMall instead of - I don't know, what are they - yeah, the New York Times - that's it.

SkyMall had sales of about $33 million in 2013, which fell to only 15.8 million through the end of September last year. Mr. Wiley said he hopes a new buyer might run SkyMall as a scaled-down enterprise. SkyMall will be auctioned in March, so this might be a propitious time to stock up on Brew-to-Go Beer Sippy Cups or T-shirts that proclaim - I came, I mowed, I kicked grass. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.