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The I can shop anywhere challenge: final freaking round

 First of all, I’d like to thank every higher power that has ever been worshipped by anyone, ever that this is over.  Second of all, there are a few catalogues I’ve excluded from competition because they were religion-based, and—as fascinating as they were to peruse (check out the comments on my original post if you’re curious)—I felt like this wasn’t quite the venue. And now, without further ado:


Miles Kimball The Miles Kimball catalogue is actually pretty fun, in exactly the same way the SkyMall catalogue is fun: it’s a paradise of things you never imagined might exist.

Need seasonal costumes for your lawn geese? They’ve got you covered.

And I am being one thousand percent sincere when I say that I’d get a lot of use out of this lap desk.

Unfortunately, however, Miles Kimball doesn’t carry much in the way of apparel or accessories. But they do have a not-small selection of coin pendants that I thought had a certain potential.

Switch out the chain, get rid of the beads, and this is actually quite pretty.


Bonworth: One could not create a venn diagram including both me and the Bonworth catalogue. Absolutely no overlap exists.

So I’m going with this tank top . Because the color is pretty.


As We ChangeAt first I didn’t quite get the connect between the name of this site and its mission. Then I clicked around a bit, and it began to crystallize: As We Change is code for As We Get Older And It All Goes To Hell. All of the jeans are of the tummy and butt-lifting variety; all of the tops come with hidden “slimming panels.” The shapewear selection is expansive and fascinating: this control vest looks both extremely effective and quite painful. And then there’s this—which, after some debate,  I decided I couldn’t not show you.

In the end I chose this trapeze top, because I liked the lovely flowing hem.


FingerhutI hate Fingerhut. I hate the name Fingerhut. I hate their business MO: making poor-quality merchandise  available to people whose credit ratings are too low to shop elsewhere—at a markup. I hate how they treat their customers. And I hate pretty much everything in their damn catalogue.

It took me a long, long time to find something I wanted here. Ultimately, I had to break one of my self-imposed rules and choose sleepwear. I’d wear this cotton Henley nightshirt. But I wouldn’t like it.  What could Fingerhut possibly be preferable to, you ask?



Life is Good“I think I have the blue ribbon,”  wrote commenter Ellie. And as soon as I saw her suggestion, I knew that nothing short of a catalogue featuring apparel for white supremacists could knock her out of first place.

Because no way, no how.

Really? It’s as simple as that? Try telling that to the kids* who’ve been in twelve foster homes by the age of ten and suffered abuse in half on them. Because they might take issue with that notion.

Maybe I’m not smiling because I’m just concentrating. EVER THINK OF THAT?????

How about YOU Chill?

I could go on. And on. The Life is Good catalogue brings out a level of hostility in me so much deeper than my baseline state that scares me a little. It’s that fatal cocktail of hugginess and smugness that really gets me, I think.

So congratulations, Ellie. Nicely—and diabolically—played.


*To their credit, the Life is Good people do seem to have recognized that life is not good for all, and their Life is Good Festival is a benefit to raise funds to help kids in need. Which isn’t nothing. 



Posted on July 10th, 2012 28 Comments

28 Responses

  1. Kristine says:

    I am actually really disgusted with the consumer complaints that have been collected for Fingerhut and you linked to – what a POS company! Hard to believe that it’s not even their merchandise or the fact that they are predatory in their selling practices – they sound horrible in their stalkerish bill collecting and all-around rip-off services. That nightshirt is fug, but that’s the least of Fingerhut’s problems.

    And thank you for articulating why the Life is Good line is so smarmy and self-congratulatory and ICK. Smiling stickfigures and simpleton slogans on pastel t-shirts. NO.

  2. I’m still stuck on the Subtle Butt Gas Neutralizing Patches. $20 for five?! That’s $4 a pop so as not to offend your fellow Chico’s shoppers.

    P.S. Debate question: “Which takes the award for Most Humblesmug – Life is Good or Gwynnie’s GOOP?”

  3. PhotoGirl says:

    As it happens, there IS a catalog that features clothing for white supremacists. Horrifying…

  4. Christina says:

    OMG. Could NOT agree more.

  5. Dana Kurtin says:

    Dang, and here I thought I’d stumped you with my pregnant sisterwife site. But well played.

    I had never heard of Fingerhut and am appalled that it even exists. How does this company survive?

    Am I allowed to note that my enjoyment of Lucky magazine plummeted to negative when you left? It’s true. So glad you have a blog.

  6. mslewis says:

    Except for Fingerhut, I’ve not heard of any of these winners and I thought I had gotten every catalog in the world in my mailbox at one time or another. Thank you Kim for this little contest. It blew my feeble, old mind and I learned more than I ever though possible about clothing in America.

  7. Donna says:

    OMG, you just reminded me that my SIL bought us matching Life Is Good tops for Xmas one year. Barf. I think I made sure to spill paint on them immediately so I’d never have to wear them in public!

  8. Beth Ellen says:

    the subtle butt is quite a product–hard to believe this was not a fake commercial by SNL. I mean, who thinks of something like that!!?

  9. Jennifer says:

    Your reaction to “Life Is Good” is hilarious, not least because I feel exactly the same way. I count myself lucky that my mother-in-law has never bought me one of those T-shirts, although I guess it could still happen.

    I’m afraid to look at “As We Change” because I suspect there are some aspects of aging I would rather not know about in advance.

  10. blackbird says:

    You’ve articulated my feelings re Life Is Good perfectly.
    Their merchandise makes me want to hit someone.

  11. marjorie says:

    Wow, Fingerhut is evil. Who knew?

    Subtle Butt! That is some excellent product naming right there.

    And is this a safe space to admit I hid my daughter’s Life is Good t-shirt? (IT WAS A HAND-ME-DOWN; I DIDN’T BUY IT.)

  12. Carol says:

    I love that Trapeze top – had not heard of that website. I believe Fingerhut has been around for decades…what a name. Speaking of Kristin Wiig – If you saw “Bridesmaids” you may have fallen in love with those heart earrings she wore. I looked all over for them and just the other day found a set of about 6 (different colors) enamel heart earrings in Target – I think the set was $7. They are adorable and perfect for the summer.

  13. Andrea says:

    This entire challenge has cracked me the hell up. I’d like to propose a new investigative feature for Kim named, “I Call Bullsh*t.” I for one am curious as to whether this Lilla P Wrap that claims to be one size fits all truly is or whether that’s a total load…


    (and um, other major, pressing questions….)

  14. Sara says:

    Subtle Butt Gas Neutralizer is totally my new band name.

  15. Pam says:

    Some people say life is good with a $20 T shirt, some with a $600 pair of earrings. Nothing wrong with either in my book.

  16. Margie says:

    I have always had a strange and unexplained dislike for the entire Life is Good line but never analyzed why. People who have had serious hardships in life who are sincerely grateful for a day at the beach with family or a beautiful sunset do get sentimental and may even think that line speaks to them. Just sayin…

  17. annac says:

    Laughed so hard I cried. Thank you.

  18. daphne says:

    These are HILARIOUS – I wish I wasn’t so late to the party! There are many, many outstanding choices here:


    and who can forget that the Kardashians did a capsule collection for Bebe?!

  19. Sue says:

    Just when I think you can’t be any f’n funnier, you articulate perfectly the need to lampoon (with a GIANT harpoon) the idea that a t-shirt company knows better than we do how to appreciate shit. I picture them sitting around the company plant/offices whispering like the toilet paper commercial people.
    I think it’s a “humble smug” tie between them and GOOP.

  20. Kim | howtolovethisworld.com says:

    I LOVE your Life is Good rant. I never thought about it quite like that, and I live in Berkeley!

    Not apparel, but I was kind of proud of myself when I got a bunch of writer/coworkers the Lillian Vernon name-embossed pencils I was obsessed with in the 3rd grade for Christmas one year.

  21. Ellie says:

    I am so thrilled! I have been reading along and there were so many truly excellent entries. Congratulations to all of my co-contestants on a game artfully played. And Kim, what a lively diversion. Thank you.

  22. Carol says:

    Tous has beautiful hoop earrings. I have thin gold w/some stones. Very pretty and grown up! Nail art – eh.

  23. Katrina says:

    *coughs* I have this shirt for sleeping. But…it’s REALLY SOFT and lightweight! *slinks away*


  24. Sara says:

    I could not agree more re: Life is Good. If, to let people know that your life is good, you have to plaster it on a t-shirt (or on your car, hat, DOG, whatever), maybe it really isn’t that great? It always struck me as a bit defensive and/or aspirational.

    But then again, I recognize that I am entirely missing the point.

  25. TK says:

    OK, subtle butt is bad, the tummy liners that absorb sweat from the abdomial fold??
    I am going to do 30 crunches right now just because something like that exists
    THAT will keep me working out every day for the forseeable future.