Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I <3 Infomercial Products

I have an embarrassing secret - - I love infomercials and I always have to fight the strong urge to buy the products. This horrifying seed was planted while I was a kid growing up in the 70's, watching the ubiquitous Ginsu knife commercials during Star Trek re-runs. (It can cut a soda can and still cut a tomato! Wow!)

The urge to purchase is so strong that I sometimes I forget I have absolutely no need for the product. Do you remember the Banjo Minnow lures? I've never fished (nor do I ever have the desire to do so), yet the commercials were so mesmerizing that I wanted to buy it! (Rest assured, I exercised self-control and I never did.)

I guess I love the infomercials because they prey upon my desire to believe their questionable (read: bogus) pseudo-scientific claims.




Here's a classic example from the Caruso Molecular Hairsetter system informercial. (This was my first "As Seen On TV" purchase in the early 90's.)

Host: "Why is this the only hair styling system that actually conditions as it curls?"

Hack: "Because this is the only system that uses molecules of 100% steam! And steam is very therapeutic and soothing. It doesn’t dry out or split or break the hair like hot rollers or curling iron will. I like to think of it like giving your hair a facial treatment!"

[Shtinkykat rolling her eyes.] I can't believe I actually enjoy listening to this nonsensical drivel.

Despite the hyperboles and overt cheesiness of the commercials, I've been quite happy with all of my infomercial purchases. For example:

  • The Caruso hair styler did do a pretty good job about curling my Cousin It hair;
  • My love for OxiClean dates back to when Billy Mays was still hawking it on TV;
  • Although the Safety Edge Can Opener is a hit-or-miss depending upon the can, the Safety Jar Opener is a definite winner; and
  • I still pack my clothes in a Space Bag Travel Genie whenever I travel.

But I do know that a lot of the infomercial stuff are junk too. Like the Kinoki footpads and all other non-FDA approved dietary supplements, and ahem, male enhancement products. (Not that I have any use for male enhancement products, mind you.)

Now that I'm more responsible with my money, I'm hoping that I'm immune to the infomercial Jedi mind trick. Eh! Who am I kidding? I'd be happy if I'm just a wee bit more discriminating when I purchase these things in the future. To that end, I found a great resource at the CBS affiliate station KFVS's Does It Work Wednesday site.

Based upon KFVS's tests and reviews, I don't think I'll ever buy the Smooth Away (darn!), but I may consider buying the Ped Egg.

Although not an infomercial product per se, the Pledge Fabric Sweeper commercial also intrigued me since I own a black cat who sheds copiously. KFVS gave the product a solid "B" for its ability to pick up pet hair, so I'm definitely going to try it out.





Check out the site. I'm sure I'm not the ONLY person who's been intrigued by some of these infomercial claims!

16 comments:

444 said...

My mom and I actually went in half-and-half on an ab-flex. I think that's the one we bought. It was nothing - some sort of foam-covered bar that you hold onto while doing sit-ups. It was so forgettable I can't even remember.

Miss M said...

Ha ha, I've never bought anything from an infomercial. But it's funny you brought these up, there have been more than ever on TV lately. This weekend I notice this one for a workout video and one of Mr M's friends is in it! She's one of "the models" who uses the video to stay trim and lean, or so says the infomercial. Hope it paid good at least.

Shtinkykat said...

If I was ever paid to be in an infomercial, it's probably as a model for the "before" picture and they photoshop someone else's body in the "after" pic. LOL.

Bouncing Back said...

I love my Ped Egg, which you can buy at Bed Bath and Beyond or CVS! I used the space bags on my trip in March to pack the clothes I bought for people. Love them as well. I'm not to sure I'd buya Ginsu though.

MrsSmith said...

NOOO!!! Say it isn't so!! Those Japanese foot pads don't work? I thought those were the most fabulous of all and was actually going to buy them. I mean, I don't know how I've been able to stand not having the gunk in my body pulled out of my feet on a nightly basis. I know it's sad, but I'm not even kidding.

Little Miss Moneybags said...

My boyfriend and I love to watch infomercials and guess what you get "if you call right now". I love the magic bullet commercials--you can make a smoothie! And then an omelet! And then guacamole! While standing in one spot! And you can make customized drinks IN THEIR OWN MUGS! aaaaaahhhhh!!!

I've never bought anything from an infomercial, though. I'd buy the same product from an As Seen On TV store, although all those products seem like they fail relatively quickly.

Debtfree2009 said...

I bought The Firm workout system. NEVER used it.

Let me know how the Pledge Fabric Sweeper works for you. I've been wanting to pick one up.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-its amazing how quickly these programmes can draw you in and make you buy-when its something you know you need, then its perfect! Mind you, they can be addictive too!

Money Funk said...

LOL. No Extenze? haha.

But don't forget the Spray on Hair for balding men! *chuckles*

Ah, too funny!

paranoidasteroid said...

"Molecules of PURE STEAM!" I cannot stop laughing.

I've never bought anything off TV, but there are some things that I adore and want. I used to watch the Magic Bullet commercials in the morning before work and tried to convince Chad he should buy me one. Even though I know it's just a blender with a crappy motor...

Escape Brooklyn said...

OMG, that cat hair thing is EXACTLY what I need! Let me know if it's any good and I will order one pronto! Looks too good to be true but a girl's gotta dream...

Anonymous said...

My roommate got the Magic Bullet at Target and it is awesome! We always laugh about how we are walking infomercials for it, but you can put anything in them and it's a perfect blend!

Ms. MoneyChat said...

i must admit, the infomercials intrigue me as well but i restrain more than i purchase. i'm more of a sucker for kitchen gadgets and exercise stuff (Lord help me if I buy the P90X that i want so badly). i've purchased the jack lalanne juicer but i love it so that's not really a gotcha purchase. i did purchase the hip hop abs (i'm so embarrassed) but hey, it was 4 something in the morning, i deserve a pass;-).

MoneyMateKate said...

My entire extended family (father's side) plus my own little hive are/were all addicted to crap sold on TV.

Mom loves the Caruso rollers though - it's cheaply made little thing that she replaces every 2 years and is on her 5th one, I kid you not.

Dad got a set of "never have to sharpen them" knives. We went to Thanksgiving at his sister's house, and she had them...as did three other aunts/uncles, as it turned out.

My grandmother had a basement and bedroom piled high with unopened boxes of stuff bought out of catalogs and off the television. We "shopped" for our dorm rooms and starter apartments amongst the piles. At one point, she had 5 TV/VCR carts.

Littlest sister Starfish loves the Magic Bullet. I think she uses it most to make frozen margaritas though.

Oh, and my mom's dad was the brains behind the Mouli (mid-80s kitchen slicing/shredding gadget).

The Ginsu knives...karate chopping a watermelon...was that the original infomercial/extended commercial or just the first one I remember, hmm...

jpkittie said...

you are hilarious! dd wants one of the sliders pans for cheeseburgers (keep in mind, she is 5 & doesnt' like cheeseburgers! haha)

Bonnie said...

I totally bought the TaeBo workout tapes when they were still infomercial-only and have used them a lot over the years. You get bored after a while but if you can force yourself to do them at least 4 times a week, you WILL see major results! :) I also bought ProActiv, although I had some sort of allergic reaction to it and it made my skin way worse than before. LOL at Extenze, my BF and I have laughed so hard at that one.