The World’s Greatest Infomercial Suckers.

Let’s talk.

So despite the colossal changes in our world due to the internet, infomercials still exist.

Which means, they must work.

And not only do they exist, but the phrase “As Seen on TV” somehow adds enough credibility for marketers to print it on the packaging of an entire aisle of drug store paraphernalia. So now, we have options – we can buy these life-changing products locally, or we can still order them on TV – where we still get all the “but wait!!” add-ons included for a small [fortune of] shipping and handling fees.

But I’m here to admit: although I don’t think of us as the type of people who would get duped by such, we have been done our part to support this industry.

Let’s start with the Gyrobowl.

Unspillable!

Colorful!

Loved by kids everywhere!

And completely, absolutely, unequivocally unspillable!

So when I saw it for $9.99 at Wal-Mart, I just knew it would be the solution to my cracker-crumbed floor treatment.

Yes, we bought one. Yes, Noah spilled it, repeatedly, and lived to blog about it. And yes, I remembered why I hate Wal-Mart.

IMG_8143

After two years of never doing what it was supposed to and being the most wretched dishwasher item ever, I finally threw away the broken, stupid thing last week. And it felt so good.

Also? When I was pregnant and was dealing with the dangerous intersection of crossover shirts and growing Northern Masses, I totally fell for the Cami Secret.

Cami Secret

When they arrived, they looked like they were made out of my Great-Grandmother’s Nightgowns after having been packed in a trunk and stored in a dank basement for fifty years. Or worse, out of the upper backside of my Great-Grandmother’s circa 1943 thong.

Unlike Victoria, Cami’s is more like one of those “No! Cami! I don’t want to know! Please don’t! I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!” secrets.

Not to say that we’ve never gotten anything decent when we’ve felt ourselves being drawn into the cheery mantras of the infomaniacs – I recently bought the newest Ninja Blender straight from an infomercial and I adore it. I’ve used it to make smoothies, Honey Peach Sorbet, guacamole, soft butter mints, and mashed cauliflower that even my husband liked.

(But my kids decisively did not.)

Ninja Creations

(Then again, that doesn’t really count since I went to a Ninja blogger event many years ago and owned an earlier version, so already knew they were a company of good repute.)

And also on a good note, there were the Debbie Meyer Green bowls that I got thanks to Dirty Santa – I seriously doubt their ability to keep my food fresher longer, but they do a great job of helping me find their puke green lids in the disaster that is my bowl cabinet.

Green Bowls

Most of our missteps into the world of infomercial relics were during our desperate-for-weight-loss years of 2002-2007. Chris and I had both had way too much fun with fried food in our newlywed era (we actually left a deep fryer out on our kitchen counter for the first year – evil wedding presents), and my foray onto the Birth Control Pill didn’t do me any weight favors, either.

Weight LossEnjoy those Mom Jeans Pictures, internet.

At some point in those mid-2000’s, I bought a promising contraption called the Ab-Doer.

Ab Doer

You were supposed to sit. And twist. In every direction. And somehow this was supposed to make you look like Jillian Michaels.

It did not.

I blamed my un-use on it’s extreme uncomfortability factor, with nuts and bolts pressing into my spinal column.

(I should’ve gone with the Ab Lounge.)

Then Chris gave an infomercial exercise video  a try – Billy Blank’s Tae bo.

Billy Blanks Tae Bo

One ill-fated high-kick split his boxers from stem to stern, and that VHS never got played again.

But our flagship purchase was Tony Little’s Gazelle.

We gazed upon that infomercial, enamored at the ease of which his beefy, clean-shaven legs glided back and forth…how his 90’s hair-band ponytail swished with calorie burn…how his spray tan smile gleamed at us with the orange glow of a thousand Snookis….

Infomercial Tony-on-Gazelle

(Not that we knew who Snooki was yet. That would come a decade later. He was kinda like her John the Baptist or something.)

But we were hooked.

The next time we went to Sam’s to stock up on toilet paper and saw a beautiful, top of the line, bright silver Gazelle Supreme begging us to buy it, we snapped. We bought that $300 ridiculous monstrosity of a six-foot-tall, three-inch-wide box, and we eagerly took it home.

Chris spent hours lovingly putting our Weight Savior together, and as he finished, we stood back and gazed at its majesty.

And we used it.

Maybe twice even.

And then it sat for a month, being dressed and redressed. But we didn’t have $300 to use toward an awkward clothes hamper, so my husband did what I am sure that no one has ever done before. He dug that tall-and-narrow box out of the basement, he carefully disassembled the countless braces and nuts and rods of our fat burning machine, and he put them all back in that box, taped it to hell and back, and returned it to Sam’s.

Never again will we have a moment that was so defined by concurrent glorious victory and shaming defeat. But mostly glorious victory – because $300 was way better than gliding on Magic.

And ironically, it was a free iPhone app that actually helped us lose weight. Take that, Tony Little.

So. You knew I was going to ask, right? Are we the only ones keeping the Infomercial Industry alive? Or have you caved as well? Share and commiserate.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. I have bought the giant cupcake, doughnut, and cookie pans which I love. I mean can you go wrong with silicon bakeware. I will also admit to owning the slushie magic cup which doesn’t work as well as I had dreamed or hoped but still makes a semi good slushie and is a bonus work out for your arms since you have to shake it alot to get the drink to turn into a slushie. I have thought about the exercise machine, whose name slips my mind but the commericial show all these skinny people saying all they had to do was walk. But I decided to save my money and just walk.

  2. my kids wanted the slushy magic so badly. we coined it as “slushy tragic” in my house.

    http://delirious-rhapsody.blogspot.com/2012/07/slushy-tragic.html

  3. I mostly roll my eyes at infomercials, or snark out loud at them, but occasionally I start looking up reviews. Which can be hilarious in its own right. But man, I always laugh at the whole “too stupid to use a blanket” trope.

    I have heard very good things about the Lint Lizard, I feel like I need one of those.

    Side note: Did you ever see any of the short-lived “Pitchmen”? I found it fascinating and it made Billy Mays a lot more likeable to me.

    • My m-i-l bought me a lint lizard and it was great! I used it once to thoroughly clean my dryer. And then I put it away and have never had reason to use it since. I thought it might help when I vacuum out the car, but really, my vacuum clean does a fine job. Maybe in 10 more years my dryer will need another cleaning, but the odds of knowing where I put it by then are pretty slim. So… would you like mine? :)

    • Nope, haven’t seen Pitchmen. But Billy Mays was a fascinating guy…

      I wonder how many As Seen on TV products he used on a daily basis.

  4. My old, old, old boss was in the Gazelle infomercial. I didn’t trust him, so that carried over to Tony.

    I bought a gel nail thingy with some kind of supersonic light drier for Em – she loves it

    I’m not embarrassed to tell you I have wasted HOURS of my life debating getting the smooth away for my face . . . I’ve suffered immense ridicule. I still can’t imagine it could be worse than shaving.

  5. We bought some sort of… gym thingy. I don’t even remember what it’s called. I suppose I could go check, but that would mean looking at it, and that would just be depressing. It promised to use out own body weight to tone and strengthen our muscles. I believe my knitting basket is sitting on top of it at the moment. Although, to be fair, lugging it out of the closet to set up, and getting it all put away again was a bit of a workout.

  6. My husband once bought me a spaghetti cooker back when we were dating. I believe the idea was that you put the pasta in, fill it with boiling water, wait like 45 minutes, and then try to pry the gummy half cooked stands of spaghetti apart.

  7. You are not alone. As of right now, I want a Chillow, Light Angel, Air Curler, GoGo Pillow, Pasta Boat, Pop Chef, Magic Tap, Tag Away, Wax Vac, no!no!…I think you get the point. The infomercials are just too convincing for me. Jason’s grandpa is the same way. UPS and FedEx both know him by name. He buys so much crap and then never uses it. I keep telling Jason to tell him I’ll test it out for him! :)

  8. Ha, awesome! I haven’t given in yet, but I really want the magic bullet (is that what it’s called?). And I can watch hours of infomercials, once I give the first minute or two a shot. It may be good that I no longer have a TV.

    • Stephanie says:

      The Magic Bullet is actually pretty awesome. (I didn’t buy it; a co-worker was de-junking his kitchen and gave it to me.) I use it in the summer to make smoothies for breakfast and it is super-handy.

    • I have friends with the Magic Bullet and they love it. My Ninja has Magic Bullet Capabilities, so I am a happy girl.

  9. Haha. My husband loves those things. In Lincoln City, OR, there is an outlet mall with a store FULL of pretty much every “as seen on TV” gadget you can imagine. Somehow, we spent $80 there. I called it the “gadget store.” After 7 years ago, I have learned that $80 is not worth arguing about sometimes. So far, the only gadget we have really gotten much use out of is the saran wrap holder/cutter. It doesn’t make much of a difference to ME, but it means he is now voluntarily covering food before putting it in the fridge. SCORE.

  10. I have never bought anything off an infomercial. Mostly so I can say that smugly to strangers on the Internet.

  11. Stephanie says:

    My husband bought the Gazelle for me one year for my birthday (at my request). After I did Weight Watchers, I was exercising pretty regularly until I broke an ankle. I needed something low-impact to help keep my weight down, and the Gazelle looked like it would fit the bill, but…it didn’t. For someone who went from a *totally* sedentary lifestyle to Gazelle-ing, it might bring some weight loss. It didn’t do anything for me, except make the soles of my feet feel like they were self-combusting. It was so weird and uncomfortable that I gave it up after a few months.

    “One ill-fated high-kick split his boxers from stem to stern, and that VHS never got played again.” HILARIOUS.

  12. I’m a sucker too! The latest one is the green skillet. I have only tried it once to make a fried egg. To fry an egg, you will still need oil. My mom, who does most of the cooking in our house, she said she really liked it. She loves to use oil, so I’m sure she is still using tons of it with this pan thus defeating the purpose.

  13. I think I’ve tried everything that promises hair loss. The lotions, Nads, the sand paper thingy, etc. None of them work as well as shaving or being professionally waxed. (I’ve been skeptical of trying to wax myself after the Nads experience…)

  14. We have the gyroscopic bowl too, but it was a gift. Elizabeth really loves it – we use it only for stuff like dry cereal that doesn’t matter if it spills. It kind of invites spilling, doesn’t it? And it takes up a heck of a lot of space. Hmm.

    Not sure if we have anything else “as seen on TV” (probably, but we kind of stopped watching TV so I’m not sure I’d notice) but waaay back when we were first married we sat through one of those high powered pitches that promised a free vacation or something. We signed up to have the right to buy stuff out of catalogues for a couple years at a very reduced price. It cost us $3K (which was extremely significant money for us at that time – not that that is chump change now, but back then being able to eat supper at mom & dad’s twice a week was a significant requirement to make our budget work). We never bought anything – so basically we flushed that money down the toilet. We consider it a very expensive lesson about ourselves and high pressure sales pitches (not to mention figuring out that we are NOT catalogue people)

  15. I still have my cami secret pack even though they’re terrible! Why they’re better than actual camisoles, I’ll never know! I also, shamefully, ordered bump its from an infomercial. Let the judging begin!

  16. This has nothing to do with the infomercials (although yes, I’ve seen them and been tempted!) but about your pictures. First, I love that you shop where I do and have the same clothes for your kids that I do. It makes you look so familiar =) Second, I love that you are like me and end up on the same side of your husband in all your pictures together, planned or not!

  17. Nope, never have, doubt I ever will. It probably helps that I generally don’t watch infomercials (unless I’m very, very sick).

    PS – you two look great in your current photos!

  18. I woke up on my honeymoon to my husband on the phone trying to buy a shark steam mop!! I made him hang up, obviously. But the Shark Rotator LiftAway Vacuum sucked me in, we didn’t order it but ended up getting it at Bed, Bath & Beyond. We also have a slap chop which my husband uses when making salsa. My aunt bought me a snuggie, I do use it when I remember I have it, and she got my husband the magic towels, can’t remember what they were called but he wasn’t impressed.

  19. I bought the cami secret….it seemed like such a great idea….and it would solve the problem of inadvertent overexposure. The first time I wore one I found they were not one size fits all…..it was actually too wide…so I had to modify it somewhat, but it sort of worked. The second time I wore one, I looked down and saw it lying on the floor! IAt work! It would not stay on my too narrow bra…..never again……

  20. For some reason my children (2, 7,& 9) love infomercial. Like zombies glued to the tv, screaming fits if I turn the channel, love. I have never bought anything from an infomercial for fear that it will only make their addiction worse.

  21. We’ve bought the Tae Bo videos, which I liked when I was disciplined enough to use them regularly. We also tried the Ab-Roller (KILLS your back) and another ab thing…..oh! the Tiger Torso, I think. (KILLS your knees). Preston’s dad bought us the Ninja before he died, but I don’t know how to use it because I can’t find the instructions. Perhaps you could come give me a demo?

    Oh, I also use WEN shampoo or WEN hair stuff – whatever it’s called. My mom gives it to me for my birthday each year. It seems to be pretty decent stuff. It definitely makes my hair softer and more cooperative.

  22. I’ve never ordered anything off the TV, but I REALLY, REALLY wanted a Chia Pet.

  23. My sister bought pajama jeans. We have a shake weight that somebody was given as a present that they regifted to their DiL that she regifted to us… I recall when I was living with my parents that there was one of those pipe ab dealies for helping with situps and crunches. I tried some pants clips for raising the hems with sewing and easy reversibility. Yep, they failed.

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