2/11/2009

Infomercials and me

I'm a sucker for the late night infomercial.  I never learn.  Maybe it's because I'm more suggestible at night, when they broadcast.  By then my mind is fatigued, intoxicated and incapable of critical thought (like an Obama voter).  I tend to accept things at face value. I yell to the television, “That's the most ingenious invention ever!  How have I survived this long without it?”  This is why I have a cupboard full of useless crap.


Recently I bought this vegetable chopper.  Maybe you saw the infomercial.  You place the vegetable underneath the device.  Then you repeatedly punch the crap out of it, activating a reciprocal blade.  Each time you punch, the blade slices into the vegetable, twists, and retracts.  After a series of punches, you have a neatly diced pile of vegetable in the bottom compartment.  Behold – a delicious salsa in 9 seconds!


Not quite.  The problem is, the chopper almost chops the vegetables.  The vegetable's skin remains intact, so that you wind up with a tapestry of chopped vegetable matter.  But all is not lost.  All you have to do now is place the semi-chopped vegetables in a blender or food processor to finish the job – you know, the food processor you hoped not to need anymore once you bought the chopper!


That's the problem with infomercials: it's not a lie; it's just the best-possible-scenario.  It's like a girl's picture on MySpace or those dating websites.  Yeah, it's her.  But she's not really that hot, dude.  It's just a really flattering picture – a miraculous coincidence of clothing, lighting, coloring, point-of-view, concealment, and dumb luck, captured in an instant on film.


Still, those infomercials move some product!  They work because they exploit the one vice common to mankind: wishful thinking.  We want to believe.  We want to believe there's a $20 device that will solve all our cooking needs, trim our waistlines, organize our clothing closets, replace a cupboard full of utensils, illuminate our homes, provide home security, repair old shoes, clothes and furniture, bond any material quickly and easily, and pay for itself many times over.  Buy our product now – it defies the laws of physics... and your sense of reason!


Lately I've been tuning in to watch the infomercial for the Shamwow, a miraculous new chamois.  Life is full of unwanted liquids.  Enter the Shamwow.  It's a magical towel that vacuums fluids and retains them (incidentally, why don't they make contraceptives out of Shamwow?) until you hold it over a sink and ring it out, at which time it spills its contents.  Miraculous!  I'm sure it works every bit as good as the pitchman says.  Have you seen this pitchman, by the way?  How about that hairdo?  I wonder how much styling gel the Shamwow would suck off that pitchman's head if he applied it to his scalp and punched it a couple of times, like he does on the simulated carpet spill.  Come on, Vince.  Sell me on this thing.  Pull that Shamwow over your head and start punching, you Jersey tweaker!


That's another infomercial necessity – the pitchman with the quirky mannerisms and cool accent.  See, if it were just a normal guy, you'd watch for moment and then say to yourself, “This guy's full of shit.”  But if the guy has a cool accent and acts really excited, he becomes Honest Abe.  Ah, he's from Australia and he's hopped up on crank.  A guy like that would never steer me wrong!


Infomercials try to rush your purchase.  But you must call now...  They don't want you wasting any time thinking about it (like global warming initiatives and federal “stimulus” bills).  It's ironic, considering they expect you to spend 30 minutes watching the damn infomercial.  Now that they've made the pitch, you don't have a second to spare.  On the contrary, pitchman.  I just wasted 3 hours of my life watching infomercials on zero-down real estate investing, food processors and shammies.  I've got all the time in the world.  Plus, time-management isn't my strong suit.


I'll let you know how the Shamwow works out.  UPS is rush-delivering 8 of them to my house.  I can't wait to spill something!

28 comments:

Call me Maniac. said...

What kills me is the one where the guy says (this is for some mortgage or something), "If your last name begins with A through M, you can call now. All others can call tomorrow." And they play the same commercial the next day.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I'm a sucker for those infomercials too. I'm dying to hear about the Shamwow!

Mona said...

I think they forget to tell you how much force to apply to that veg chopper...

I hate using my million attachments food processor too...its such a pain first sorting out which blades you need & then washing the pile!
\
I agree a hundred percent about the girl AND BOYS picture on dating websites.

yea, its a willing suspension of disbelief as far as those informercials are concerned

That shamwow ( the word defines it so well ; the wow there must be a Sham) sounds too good. I wonder if they make sanitary napkins using that raw material!?! I almost waited to hear that pitchman say " use Shamwow along with your sanitary napkins for those heavy flow days" " Now you don't need to get up at nights to change your sanitary napkins!"

Anonymous said...

all you have to do is go to your local Walgreens and they have the Shamwow and the Twin draft guard and all the other As Seen on Tv gadgets

NWJR said...

Dude, I'm all for supporting Vince the Shamwow Guy ever since I found out about his battle with Scientology.

Dave Morris said...

I bought a pair of Eagle-Eye blue blocker sunglasses one night at 3 am. OK, actually I bought TWO pair. I figured, considering I lose sunglasses faster than my pants during porn, I'd need two. Good thing that I called within 10 minutes, the second pair was half-price.

Billy Mayes is one rich mo-fo.

By the way, take it from me - keep one shamwow under your mattress and one in your laptop case.

Jeannie said...

What is wrong with all you people who order that crap? I have never been tempted. My husband has though and I've flipped out on him before ever getting the stuff that never lives up to it's promise. That's why they don't sell it in stores - they'd never move any of it if people saw the cheap merchandise for what it was.

Cameron said...

The vegetable chopper scam is certainly nothing new.

In the mid 1960s as a ten-year-old, I was totally awed by the Veg-O-Matic commercial in which a very brawny man dressed all in white slammed down on the machine and VOILA! Instant french fries!

I got my dad to order it for my mom and she used it exactly once. She spent twenty minutes cleaning the damn blades and then stashed it in a distant cupboard, where it remained for many years until she finally threw it out.

Oh great One said...

Ha! My college roommate and I used to love the bow flex infomercials. We'd turn down the volume and just watch the men working out. *sigh* We never did buy one though.

Giggle Pixie said...

OMG, I can't sit through one of those things if my life depended on it!! Especially that guy that does the Sham Wow (and other) pitches. God he grates on my nerves!!!

tornwordo said...

Jersey tweaker made me laugh. Check out shamwow on youtube. There's a bunch of funny postings.

SQT said...

I have never bought anything I've seen on an infomercial, but I've been tempted. Veeeeery tempted.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

What I want to see is an informercial on a friggin' sex toy. Now THAT would be one worth watching! Yowza!!!

Bennet said...

That Shamwow commercial really pissed me off because if you have a DVR, do what I did...stop it just after he sops up the cola then rewind to right after he pours it & you'll notice it's a camera trick....they literally swap out the cola that's seeping out passed the carpet piece, then switch camera scene to a clean table...

As for funny items...if you haven't seen this..You have to, it's a real product with a very ironic name & product...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw1g2yKxb0I&feature=PlayList&p=204BCDD8AC6231D8&index=20

Roxrocks said...

My absolute favorite of all time was Ron Popeil's Bald Spot Spray. You know, so people wouldn't know you had a bald spot? Yeah, you use this tinted hairspray to cover the spot. Like NO ONE WILL NOTICE YOU SPRAY PAINTED YOUR HEAD! So funny, it still makes me laugh!

Mona said...

Big Butt, I have a butty post at my blog...just saying...

Miss DQ said...

I just want to buy half of things I see on informercials to see if they really work. Its funny because there is a local store that only supplies "As seen on TV" products and my boyfriend has to put blinders on me just too keep me from trying to purchasing anything when we walk by there.

Becky said...

My birth year was the year the infomercial came into the world. You are very welcome!

Oh great One said...

I saw your Shamwow at Walmart. Save on shipping!

Shoshana said...

I used to be a sucker for infomercials. That's how I end up with two tummy crunch machine I never used. They make for a good door stopper in a pinch...especially if I want to get kinky with my husband and I want our door to remain lock. I put them one after the other and my door stays close.

I like the Hercules Hook. IT's just as seen on TV. In fact, I finally have artwork hanging on my walls because of it. I got holes in my walls too...because my 4 boys thought it would be fun to see how often they can reach that said art by jump hitting it. Damn infomercials.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Let me guess-- You bought two Shamwows and got 6 FREE!!!!

!!11!!11!!11111 ;-) Plus shipping & handling of $39.99.

Heh.

MsPuddin said...

I resent that MySpace comment.I look just as hot all the time as I do in my photoshopped, cropped, colored and airbrushed default.Don't hate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just got suckered into the MagicJack. Unlimited local and long distance calls for $39.95. Just plug in the device and you're good to go. If it sounds too good to be true...well you know the rest. Be forewarned about the Jack!!!

CaCaBoy said...

You can't see me, but I am standing in a room full of people and I'm standing and clapping in agreement. Some of us are just sitting there looking uncomfortable.....

Those pictures on dating web sites are actual pictures from about 15 years, three kids, and two broken noses from angry spouses ago!

Scottsdale Girl said...

I swear i get ONE good picture of myself a year and you can bet your ass I use it all over the fucking place. It looks like me, just better. Don't judge.

Ari said...

Go to youtube and google "shamwow parody" by a feller called bulka92. It goes nicely with real Shamwow like a wonderfully paired wine, I'll bet.

NWJR said...

"...it will stay that way long after blaming Bush is a plausible excuse"

That's OK. The Bushies blamed the "Clinton Recession" (that actually started on Bush's watch) for all the economic woes of their eight years in power, so if the Obama-ites do that, they're just following the lead of King George.

Consistency, my fiery friend. Consistency. :-)

Anonymous said...

Why don't they ever show the shamwow picking up spills through the carpet into the pad. Even a plain rag will get the spill out of carpet without the pad. I don't think the shamwow will obsorb soda from the pad.