Friday, March 5, 2010

Comical Catalog

So, I ordered my nephew an education toy called Snap Circuits Jr for Christmas. It uses units that snap together to create a closed circuit and teach basic concepts of electricity.  I ordered it through Amazon Marketplace from a company called American Science & Surplus.  Yesterday, I received their catalog by mail.

And it is the best catalog I have ever seen.

Seriously, this thing is so odd and funny, I have to share some of their products.  It's not just the products they sell, it's also their sense of humor. Whoever writes copy for them must really have a good time. Matt and I were reading it aloud together.

At first glance, their wares are exactly what you'd expect: microscopes, rock polishing kits, those novelty plasma globes, mugs with the periodic table on them, etc. It even makes sense that they're selling ballpoint pens in bulk (after all "surplus" in their name). But then, as you peruse the catalog, some things start to stand out. Like this little gem in the "Adult & Kid Toys" section, which was the first thing that told me this is not your average catalog:

"Squirrel Briefs: For squirrelly lawyers? No, that would be stupid." But underpants for squirrels totally makes sense, apparently. How exactly is that a toy? And what's more, what company is out there manufacturing squirrel panties?

My next find was in the Office Supplies section.  The item is way less weird but the delivery is great:

"Illegal Pads: On account of legal pads are 8-1/3" x 14" and these are your basic 8-1/2" x 11"." Like I said, this guy (or gal) is definitely having fun.

This lamp falls under the "Military Surplus" Category:

The MASH reference is great. I also like the idea that someone might be into "bunker themed decorating."

These are a little macabre, but I kind of appreciate them:

The title is incredibly punny, and I appreciate that they managed to work in the word "obfuscation" in the item description.

I'm not sure which made me laugh more, the rodent unmentionables or this stuffed horse's head:

As soon as I saw it, I thought, "Please reference The Godfather." And they did. The entry is incredibly absurd and the (potential) buyer is again left wondering why this item even exists. Further, like the squirrel briefs, this is also categorized as "Adult & Kid Toys."  It seems pretty twisted to give a kid a stuffed horse's head instead of a stuffed horse. "No Daddy, I wanted the whole pony." Tears ensue.

Is it weird that I want to order from them again just so they'll keep me on the mailing list?


  1. How do I get on this mailing list? That seems like something my father would read aloud at the dinner table.

  2. You can request a printed catalog from their website:

    I was thinking to myself how dangerous it would be to let my mom see this, because she would end up ordering all sorts of weird stuff in bulk and then she'd basically be Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout only with oddities instead of garbage.