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#191 :: Telescoping Alligator Clip Sputnik Thing

August 19, 2004

Somewhere in Bombay, a cargo container awaits, baking in the sun on a dock smeared with pelican shit. Inside are approximately 10,000 cheaply made, shiny, heavy little objects of a strange design. They were knocked out by sweatshops in Old Delhi or the poorer rural villages in Northern India for a few rupees apiece, sold by the sweatshop operators to exporters for a few hundred rupees more and then stuffed into this container for a long ocean voyage. Soon, they will make their way to Amsterdam, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and the Port of Los Angeles. The exporter will take a wire transfer of a rather large sum of money (for him, a 400 or 500% markup) from an importer here. The importer will then sell to the buyers at Urban Outfitters or some other yuppie-decor chain. And paunchy, galumphing fools like me will stumble in on a late-night window-shopping binge, mutter, “Whoa, cooool” and shell out enough money for each of them to feed a family of four in rural India for a month. Then we’ll take them home, park them on our desks, play with them for a few weeks while procrastinating from work that must be done, and then abandon them to gather dust and shame.

Filed under: Objet | Comments (2)


  1. Seth Christenfeld August 22, 2004 @ 5:44 am

    Turn it upside-down and it could be an alligator clip probe droid.

  2. mack reed August 22, 2004 @ 10:15 am

    Actually, the most entertaining pose is pointing all the clips straight down from their anchors, telescoping all the legs out. It reminds me of this episode of Johnny Quest I saw in which the villain had a gigantic steel spider.