The Groomer

The groomer is a device for sale at the Wookie Planet Trading Post C by local proprietor Saun Dann. It looks like a dust brush with an OXO designed, black, easy-grip handle, with a handful of small silver pushbuttons on one side (maybe…three?), and a handful of black buttons on the other (again, maybe three). It’s kind of hard to call it exactly, since this is lower-res than a recompressed I Can Haz Cheezburger jpg.


Let’s hear Saun describe it to the vaguely menacing Imperial shopper in his store.

Besides shaving and hair trimming, it’s guaranteed to lift stains off clothing, faces, and hands. Cleans teeth, fingers and toenails, washes eyes, pierces ears, calculates, modulates, syncopates life rhythms, and can repeat the Imperial Penal Code—all 17 volumes— in half the time of the old XP-21. Just the thing to keep you squeaky clean.

There are so many, many problems with this thing. On every level it’s wretched.

There are lots of product definition problems, of course, (e.g. worse feature bloat than iTunes) but these are issues for

And there’s way too much ambiguity in the description, too. For instance, does it (calculate like a calculator), (modulate like a scientific calculator) and (syncopate life rhythms like a metronome)? Or does it (calculate life rhythms) and (modulate life rhythms) and (syncopate life rhythms)? What would any of that mean? Filed for

And is the Imperial Code thing supposed to be a joke? At first you think it’s a dig at this cog of the executive branch for some oppressive legislation enacted by the fascist political regime that gave him his license to menace, haha classic Saun Dann, but then he follows it with an actual performance metric comparison to a prior product version, which is named by model number. So it’s meant to be real? is still up for grabs, variety show writers from the 70s.

But for the interface questions…where to begin? How do the paucity of controls map to functions? Why are they undifferentiated? Where are the shaving bits? Why are the push controls covering the grip handle?


Which takes us to the darkest aspect of the product: as a single throwaway mention, hidden amongst distraction text, Saun says that it can pierce. Note that with the very poorly placed controls, there are no easy gaurds against accidental activation. It’s almost like it was meant to be a terribly designed, dangerous thing, as liable to leave a gaping hole in your tongue as prepare you for a visit to a dentist.

Because of its terrible industrial design, pointless features, and lawsuit-ready interface, I posit that this object is not something Saun has out to sell to beloved Wookie regulars. It’s something like a Chinese Finger Trap. Cruel shoes. A violent-joke product, only to be brought out when Imperial shoppers patronize the store, in the hopes that they would waste their time on pseudoscience, be forced to confront their own bureaucracy, and ultimately, accidentally pierce themselves in unspeakable places.

Way to subvert, shopkeep.


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  1. Pingback: Report Card: The Star Wars Holiday Special | Sci-fi interfaces

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