10 Services You Never Knew You Needed
By Gabe Luzier
The perfect gift for the goat-loving, grandma-hogging adrenaline junkie in your life.
1. NOSTRIL-HAIR NOTIFICATION
Nasal hair stops dirt, bacteria, and other microscopic intruders from entering the body. But sometimes the bushy gatekeepers can go overboard. If you don’t have the nerve to tell a friend or loved one that his or her nostrils resemble overwatered Chia Pets, you can use the online service Chololi to send an anonymous email. Messages can be customized to be “mild” or downright “scornful,” though you’ll need to provide details identifying the offending nostril, and how many hairs are poking through.
2. LAWN-MOWING GOATS
Clearing land of annoying vegetation can be a headache, especially when it’s on a slope. Rent-A-Ruminant, a land management service in western Washington, offers a simple solution: Release a tribe of goats to gobble up the brush. “Goats are a pesticide-free, noise-free, emission-free, economical, efficient, and amusing way to cut and discard of dry grasses and invasive weeds,” the website states. Customers include Washington’s Department of Transportation and the U.S. Navy.
If being tossed into a windowless van, blindfolded, taped to a chair, and left in a basement sounds like your idea of a good time, you should see a doctor. Or book the French kidnapping company Ultimate Reality. For around $1000, the firm mixes the terror of abduction with the fun of … abduction. When GQ’s Drew Magary was “kidnapped” by a service in 2013, he was forced to listen to Eurythmics’s “Sweet Dreams” on repeat. And repeat.
4. RIP YOUR OWN BODICE
Thanks to YourNovel.com, you can star in your own romance for about $50. Just complete a questionnaire about your preferred pet names and your dreamboat’s hair color, and the husband-wife team of J.S. Fletcher and Kathy Newbern will incorporate your answers into one of 50-plus prewritten bodice rippers. (We recommend A Ren Faire to Remember.) All stories come in “wild” or “mild” versions. And for those looking for an excuse to grow out your hair like Fabio, they’ll even put your picture on the cover.
5. EAR-CLEANING PARLORS
Centuries before cotton swabs appeared, Vikings and other cultures used tiny spoons to scoop out earwax. In Japan, they used bamboo picks called mimikaki. Today, the tool is still a cultural mainstay. In fact, when Japan declared in 2006 that ear-cleaning professionals didn’t need medical licenses, ear-picking parlors sprouted up across the country. A half-hour session is a popular time-saving alternative to the spa.
6. TRAVEL AGENCIES FOR TEDDIES
If you need a vacation but don’t have the time or money, companies such as Teddy Tour Berlin and Unagi Travel will schedule a once-in-a-lifetime adventure … for your stuffed animal! Just ship your plaything overseas and, for as little as $35, an employee will take it on a sightseeing tour and document it on social media.
7. GRANDMA RENTALS
Not every kid is lucky enough to have a living grandma, and not all parents trust a teenager to babysit their children. That’s where Rent a Grandma steps in. The Los Angeles–based company hooks up mature women with jobs as full-time nannies, personal assistants, pet-sitters, and bakers. (But good luck getting your hands on their brownie recipes.)
8. HANGOVER HELPERS
The hangover treatment cottage industry is booming! In Las Vegas, Hangover Heaven offers intravenous hydration and antinausea meds at their clinic (or, ironically, aboard a moving bus). If you can’t roll out of bed, Colorado’s Hangover Helpers will deliver a Gatorade, cook you a breakfast burrito, and even clean up unsightly reminders of the night before.
9. FIREWORKS FOR THE AFTERLIFE
When you die, your ashes can be transformed into diamonds, rocketed into space, and even mixed with paint for the ultimate portrait. But if you insist on going out with a bang, book your funeral with U.K.–based Heavenly Stars Fireworks. For £3999 (around $5500), they’ll mix your ashes in “aerial shell bursts, Roman candles, multi shot barrages, and mines.” For his “blast rights,” gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson had his remains scattershot into a brilliant firework display over his Colorado farm.
10. LAWN COLORISTS
If you live in Northern California and drought has turned your Kentucky bluegrass brown, don’t worry about watering your lawn. Just paint it! Starting at around $250, landscaping services like Xtreme Green Grass will tint your turf with earth-friendly, waterproof dyes. And if you want to get festive during the holidays, they’ll even paint your lawn white.