Consumerism Reports: The $20 Exfoliating Fish That Got My Feet River-Season Ready

Sure, I’ll dive in

Consumerism Reports

This is a recurring series about all my devices. I’d like to clarify that it is NOT a tech column — it’s about spending money to speed up self-transformation, and then buying more stuff when that doesn’t work. And so I have acquired an endless array of devices: from products that promise to make my face look more triangular and the skin around my eyes less purple to ones that shrink specific parts of my salt-logged body. Do any of them work? Previously: the $279 hot piece of metal I bought at Mormon Sephora.


I’m Midwestern, but I’m not immune to the vices of our age: lust for flesh of the men who look like rotting ears of corn in round glasses, coveting my neighbor’s Sakara Level II meals that sit unguarded on her stoop in the sun for hours, and ordering a fish-shaped item called Terracotta Detox Scrubber off Instagram from a soap company whose tagline is “It’s river season. Dive in.”

It’s not river season for me, and I assume most people who are ordering a $20 foot buffer or a $75 Cosmic Rainbow Towel (sold out or I would have bought it) on Instagram after taking a Klonopin they found in their backpack are not into trawling or interested in spending any meaningful amount of time in a damp bathing suit. But one of the best things about my personality is that I can admit to being wrong, so I allow for the possibility that scrubbing at one’s heels with a dual-sided ceramic fish is an integral part of river season.

I dove right in with the terracotta detox scrubber after bathing in my sort of busted shower/tub combo. The drain doesn’t work all that well, but in this instance, that served as a time-saving and ecological boon: my feet soaked, completely submerged in run-off hot water, while I used all my facial implements and my bluetooth-compatible toothbrush in the shower. Once softened, I took the less-intimidating ridged side to my heels and sawed back and forth. My heels looked a little smoother. No biggie.

Within 30 seconds, I felt brave enough to flip the fish over and grate the rest of my feet with the ultra-porous side. It resembles an orange pumice stone, and if you’ve got trypophobia, this is not going to be a product with good UX for you. I took the fish belly to my other heel. It was so satisfying, watching all the skin come off, not like sliced deli meat, but like ultra-fine grated parmesan.

Then there was blood. I have mosquito bites all over my ankles and toes, and the ceramic fish ate those up too. I am drawn to any product that elicits blood, electrocutes me, or hurts me in some way, not in a pervy way, but because that’s how I know it’s working. Eventually I got out of the shower, bled all over the bathroom in one of the least compelling ways one can bleed out in the bathroom, and marveled at the new lower 1/16th of me, callous-free and covered in gore like a newborn fresh out of the caul.

Is this the best thing I’ve ever owned? Yes, the fish-shaped terracotta detox scrubber is the best thing I’ve ever owned. Nature is healing, as they’ve been telling me online, and river season is officially back on.