Friday, June 12, 2009

As Seen on TV or How I Was Seduced by Infomercials

Admit it: We have, all of us, at one point, bought or seriously thought of buying some product we saw on an infomercial. And no one would blame you if you had. After all, who could resist Vince's siren call for the ShamWow ("You'll Say WOW Everytime!" Or not.) or the cozy comfort of the Snuggie ("The Blanket with Sleeves!") or the ease of the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven ("Just set it and forget it!") or the George Foreman Grill (I KNOW you have one) or the natural healthy goodness of Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer ("the ultimate juicing machine"), especially at 3 a.m.?

Typically, I have little patience for infomercials (though I occasionally find them entertaining), or desire for the products those larger-than-life pitchmen hawk. (Every time my daughter sees Billy Mays pitch something she says "Mommy, someone should give that guy a Riccola.") But every once in a while, when I am in a mentally or physically weakened state, I succumb (hence the ShamWows). And I fear today I may succumb again as I am "this close" to buying us the Topsy Turvy Upside Down [isn't that redundant?] Tomato Planter. (Mmmm.... tomatoes.) And really could you blame me?

I have been sick with one thing or another (severe allergic reaction to God knows what last Friday... then migraines... then a stomach bug) for a week now and was finally forced to spend the entire day in bed yesterday. On an emtpy stomach. Light headed and bored. Worse, I just finished my 519-page book and had nothing good to read. Which left just me and the TV.

And as amazing as this sounds, I have not watched more than a few minutes of TV during normal work hours, even though I work from home, since, oh, I was in graduate school -- and back then it was mainly to watch General Hospital. So you can imagine my shock and awe turning on the set yesterday morning. Whoooooaaaaa.

As it happened, we had been watching the Mets game the night before, and now the channel was showing an infomercial for a miraculous device called The Contour ("For the best abs you'll ever have without a workout!"), with this incredible looking topless male model, "Jeff," and Contour's spokeswoman, "Leah," showing me how I could get firmer abs in just a few days. In seconds, I was hooked.

My friends, take it from me, The Countour is nothing short of an abdominal MIRACLE. Forget crunches and sit-ups and those crappy "core" exercises to get rid of that dreaded "pooch," that bilious beer belly, and those unlovely love handles. To get the sexy abs you've always wanted, all you need to do is wear The Contour! It's like a pacemaker for your abs! (Their line, not mine.)

And you just know The Contour works because infomercials don't lie. They even had REAL PEOPLE giving testimonials -- and a DOCTOR (okay, so he's a chiropractor, but "Leah," the Contour spokesperson, kept referring to him as a doctor, and you know doctors don't lie). And it's FDA approved! (Though which FDA I'm not sure.) Best of all, it's only $14.95 -- for a 30-day trial.

Anyway, I was "this close" to starting my free trial when I had to go to the bathroom. And that broke the magic spell.

I then proceeded to watch Food Network for, like, two hours, which was akin to watching pornography as I hadn't eaten and couldn't. And even now, just thinking about all those delicious delectable goodies Giada and Ina and Sunny were cooking up, I start salivating.

But I digress.

Getting back to infomercials.... They are EVERYWHERE. And I'm not even including the 24/7 shopping channels, which are really 24/7 infomercials. Anyway, around one o'clock I turned on the on-air TV guide, trying to figure out what to watch, when I saw a style show that sounded interesting, only to discover it was an informercial for Sheer Cover ("The makeup that's actually good for your skin!") with Leeza Gibbons. And I was "this close" to ordering some foundation when I remembered I don't really wear makeup -- and quickly flipped over to HGTV.

But this morning, albeit no longer bed-bound, while watching The Weather Channel with my daughter (who MUST see the weather report at least three times before going out to the bus), I saw the ad for the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter, and my stomach started gurgling, and damn if those tomatoes didn't look bigger and juicier and tastier than the ones at Stop & Shop and... And then a little voice next to me said, "Mommy, can we get that? Pleeeeeeeeeaaaase? Those tomatoes look SO GOOD." And, I could be wrong, cause I still haven't eaten anything yet, but I think I promised her that right after she got on the bus I would go online and order some.

Will let you know how it turns out.

P.S. If you can't spend the day in bed, you can still get those "as seen on TV" products by going to Happy shopping!

UPDATED 6/13/09: Went to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday with my daughter to inspect the Topsy Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter (only $9.99!) for ourselves. What a ripoff. All it is is a bag and the nutrients. And the box did NOT make it easy for you to tell what was included and what was not, though it was pretty obvious it did not come with that six-foot hanging device/pole they feature on the TV ads. YOU have to supply the tomato plant, the soil, the hanger or pole, and the TLC. The verdict: Not worth it. (Though I did nearly buy a box of StrapPerfect, "The Ultimate Bra Strap Solution!")


Kendor said...

In spite of her various moments of weakness (we all have them), I can attest first hand that "J-TWO-O" is strong. In spite of very strong desires, she resisted the "Pasta Pot."

All that said, together we've succumbed to the...
* Select Comfort bed (now "Sleep Number") and either pregnancy or post pregnancy delerium (hard to remember now). And yes, we still sleep on this 11 years later.
* The Bose Wave radio (still happily at my bedside, and formerly in the kitchen)
* The George Foreman grill (now used to make excellent grilled cheese sandwiches--no need for a pannini press)
* Tassimo coffee machine (not as a response to an infomericial, but close, as Don Imus pitched this for months on end on his old radio show).

And for those of you who know us, absolutely no need for Ron Popeil's greatest infomercial invention: GLH9, Ronco's Great Looking Hair in this house (although his pitchmanship is brilliant enough that we almost want to buy anything he sells (admittedly I've wanted the "Set it and Forget It" device).

Dave S. said...

For that "Whoooaaaa" you should try the new [keanu][/keanu] HTML tags.

And now for the Contour. First, "a pacemaker for your heart" is, in fact, a pacemaker. Second, the audio on that website credits the device for producing the bodies seen all across beaches in Europe. Don't tell me that I'm the only person who immediately thought "German tourists?"

I had no idea the J-Two-O House has been seen on so much TV. Have you hooked up all those devices to a Clapper? I am pretty sure the only thing we have is a Sham-Wow and I am sticking to my story that it was a gift from the rug-cleaning people.

J. said...

I've been outed by the spouse. Oh the shame. Though I am 98% certain it was Kendor who wanted/motivated those purchases. ; O

Thanks for catching that typo, Dave S.. I have since corrected the sentence to read "It's like a pacemaker for your abs." ; ) Oh and I added the [keanu] [/keanu] HTML tag but it didn't do anything. : (

Anyone else care to confess?

larissa said...

Here is something else
Is it an infomercial?
Judge it for yourself

Powaqqatsi said...

Oh the shame of it...! Ok, I confess. This past October at a hotel in Philadelphia (attending a conference) I broke down and ordered Hip Hop Abs. Why? I have no idea. I think I was delusional.

To make a long story short I did receive "the product" - something like 4 DVD's all featuring a young male instructor (of questionable orientation) exercising to some lame hip hop music.

After one aborted try-out of the "instructional" dvd's (during which my 3 daughters ridiculed me non stop) they have gone into hiding into dark places from whence they will never be seen or heard from again.

@ScottBradley said...



Only Kidding.

I actually saw an infomercial about a product I am actually thinking of buying.

It is called the Bullet Express

Non-Affiliate Link==>

Seems easy and convenient and works like a charm.

Let us know how it goes!

J. said...

OMG, the Paper Towels ShamWow parody is hysterical, Larissa. Thanks for the link.

And Powa, confession is good for the soul.

As for you, Scott, let me know how that Bullet Express works out -- and when you're making me dinner. ; )

Anonymous said...

Wow -- this post generated a lot of comments already! My sister was lured into buying the Sham Wow but I don't think she's used it. The Snuggie has been much written about in the press. And a friend of mine just sent me a link to an infomercial (I deleted it and can't find it again!) for a hand held plastic device/tool that allows you to wipe yourself with toilet paper and release the paper into the toilet without ever touching yourself! Please try to find this infomercial -- you will enjoy it! AVW