Sharper Image Files for Chapter 11

Today's Chronicle reports that the Sharper Image, hawker of high-end novelty electronics, has filed for bankruptcy. The company's trouble began in 2002 with the Ionic Breeze air purifier, which was supposed to reduce airborne particles. The purifier should have been named Ironic Breeze (heyyyy-oh!) because what it actually did was spew forth dangerous levels of ozone. The company never recovered from the negative publicity and lawsuits that followed. The 31-year-old company is now $199 million in debt. The debt is largely due to it's legal woes, but also due to the fact that consumers aren't spending as frivolously as they used to. Will no one buy an interactive R2-D2 droid? Perhaps this is a question only the readers of Sky Mall can answer. For more on Sharper Image, check out SF Weekly's article on company founder Richard Thalheimer. –Andy Wright

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