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.
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.
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.
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.)
(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.
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.
At some point in those mid-2000’s, I bought a promising contraption called the 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.
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….
(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.