a realistic dose of cynicism

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Look what I found at Bed Bath and Beyond…

Seriously, BB&B is THE destination for all your TV infomercial product needs. I walked into any Bed Bath and Beyond you can think of… lo and behold: infomercial products as far as the eye can see! ShamWOWs upon Snuggies upon Aqua Globes upon Mighty Putty upon PedEggs upon OxiClean!! See here:

bedbath

I could’ve picked any infomercial you could possibly think of. But… I have chosen my next victim, the next product bearing the “As Seen on TV” logo, to lose its credibility once and for all! I didn’t pick Aqua Globes… that’d just be stupid. I’ve chosen…

footpads

Kinoki Detox Foot Pads, upon Melody’s request. And, along with Jess (and any others, if you so desire), the three (or more) of us will be conducting an experiment to see if these foot pads live up to their claims. Absorbing heavy metals, metabolic waste, and other purities. Aiding our natural cleansing… working while we sleep!

A bold move. Immortals? We put their name to the test.

Also! I need TWO Snuggies. Anyone want to track them down for me?

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

The Snuggie. (or, how have we NOT talked about this already?)

I’m sure everyone has seen the commercial for the Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last century (or don’t own a TV), enjoy the following brain rot:

What’ve we got here? Oh, it’s just a fleece blanket… with SLEEVES!! We are breaking new ground today, gentlemen. A surge of triumph. of victory. Without a doubt, this is what the infantry at Iwo Jima and Normandy Beach, the airmen of the Battle of Britain, and the THREE HUNDRED! Spartans at Thermopylae felt when they triumphed over the impossible.

Seriously. It’s got sleeves! Why do I care about this product? What makes it so much better than a mere blanket?

Well, blankets are okay, but they can slip and slide! And when you need to reach for something, your hands are trapped inside!

Oh no you di’int! Oh, oh yes i did. The Snuggie keeps you snuggily warm! And gives you the freedom to use your hands. Just take a look at the endless possibilities… you can:

  • get a snack
  • EAT a snack
  • work the remote!
  • read a book!
  • use your laptop!
  • play Dance Dance Revolution!

Why wouldn’t you want one?! Let’s examine the claims:

  • With the Snuggie, you can move your arms and use your hands! And still be super warm!
  • You can get up and still stay warm! Amazing!
  • Perfect for men… AND women!
  • The Snuggie is made of MATERIAL!
  • The Snuggie’s extra large, so you can stay warm head to toe. No more cold feet…(except when you break off that engagement in a Snuggie. can’t help you there.)

Perfect for staying warm on chilly evenings or at sporting events! BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Call now, and we’ll throw in a matching nightcap… or was it a book light? Well, one will make you look like a Ku Klux Klan member. Which one? is for you to find out.

Also… if you call in the next 15 minutes and recite the first 65 digits of pi, we’ll throw in a FREE SWEATSHIRT for those nights where you’re not stupid enough to wear a Snuggie! See… it keeps you warm… and you can use your hands… ZOMG

And if you hadn’t figured it out yet, I think you’d be better served saving your money and buying one of these instead… I mean, if you take a Snuggie and flip it around, and what do you get? ZOMG BATHROBE

mt186

Lots of material taken from here… must give credit:

Or, check out the Cult of Snuggie:

Interested in further debunking of infomercials? This may just strike your fancy:

Filed under: debunking infomythcials, , ,

And the winner is…

Yup, that’s right… ShamWOW trounced the runner-up, the George Foreman Grill, 55%-to-44% (margin of error: 5.4999999999999%).Your champion… the ShamWOW:

shamwow

Does anyone else think he looks like a fish? A barracuda? or a shark? Maybe even an Olympic diver, who uses the ShamWOW as a towel? ShamWOWel?

He’s gotta be some sort of aquatic… thing. Someone please agree with me, or I’m giving back my multiple doctorates in Oceanography.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials, ,

It’s down to the final four…

CNBC’s “As Seen On TV” bracket has filtered down to the final four.

ShamWOW against Girls Gone Wild (again, this is the dark horse in my opinion).

Bowflex vs. the George Foreman Grill.

Semifinal round of voting. Let your infomercial-loving voices be heard.

And remember, the ShamWOW is made in Germany.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

CNBC has heard my voice…

as_seen_on_tv_bracket_lg4

Because they’ve taken sixty-four! of your favorite “As Seen on TV” products and put them into tournament-style single elimination brackets to determine what poorly-pitched product will emerge victorious!

Will it be the long-awaited Billy Mays (OxiClean, Mighty Putty) vs. Vince (ShamWOW, Slap Chop) matchup??

Will the George Foreman Grill tackle the Magic Bullet Head-On?!

Or will Thighmaster get cramped up by the taut, ominous Bowflex?!

You decide. The current round of voting is over, but you have a chance to make your voice heard in the next round of voting, choosing from the Elite Eight. 64 products are now 16… will be 8, 4, 2, and then the only one left standing, your champion. Glorious.

UPDATE: The Final Four have been chosen! It’s a battle between ShamWOW, Bowflex, the George Foreman Grill, and Girls Gone Wild (honestly don’t know why this one is still in, it’s trash at its finest)! Stay tuned (this means keep hitting F5).

UPDATE 2: Vote from the Final Four… here.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

Normally, I’m not always dying to write a blogpost.

But after seeing the infomercial for a Snuggie (a glorified fleece blanket with sleeves), this is just something I have to tear apart. But I’m at work, so I’ll just procrastinate until later.

Still on my to-debunk list:

  • Boyfriend arm pillow… just dying to do this one too
  • Snuggie… blanket with sleeves? yeah right.
  • OxiClean. too good to be true?
  • Kinoki Detox Foot pads. I don’t even know what these are.

Already debunked:

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

One slap… salad! (demystifying the Slap Chop)

You remember our good friend Vince, right? Okay, maybe not. But I’m sure you remember the ShamWOW… holds 20 times its weight in liquid… yadda yadda.

Today, he brings us his newest innovation, one you may not have seen or heard of: the Slap Chop. I implore you to watch below, and be amazed. (I also implore you to subsequently read my scathing criticism of the Slap Chop that follows.)

At first glance, this is really cool… you… basically use it to chop up things into little indiscernible pieces. It’s much faster than mincing or chopping say, garlic, or cubing a potato, with a knife and cutting board. Not only this, our buddy Vince makes several claims:

“You’re going to be slapping your troubles away with the Slap Chop.” – I don’t know about this… let’s say I’m having some trouble with my neighbor. Enter… the Slap Chop… and later, an ambulance, cop car, arrest warrant and handcuffs.

“This tuna looks boring. Stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life. Now you’re going to have a nice tuna salad. You’re going to have an exciting life now.” – I don’t know about this either. I’ve tried. You just can’t get any more boring than canned tuna. But with the Slap Chop…

tuna1

tuna2

Yeah. I might just die from excitement.

“You’re gonna love my nuts. Watch this.” – Uhhh…. what? No. Just no.

The Slap Chop will give chopped nuts, cookies, and fruit a nice, bright, shimmery glow. – Ever notice this? How they’re all shimmery? Here’s the fruit:

fruit1

Yeah. THAT’S NOT NATURAL. Probably some sort of flesh-eating bacteria in there.

“Pops open like a butterfly to clean.” – Oh, awesome! I can clean it by popping it open, and here’s what I’ve got:

butterfly1

Besides the fact that now you have a wavy razor-sharp piece of sheet metal flying around, you have to clean it somehow. Your currently intact fingers will thank me later.

“Onions. They’re making you cry, making me cry. Life’s hard enough as it is.” – Yeah… it’s true. Life’s hard enough as it is. Unfortunately, onions don’t grow in this ideal half-spherical shape. Can anyone guess how you get half-spherical onions like this? Yeah. You cut them. With a regular knife.

onion

“We’re going to make America skinny again, one slap at a time.” – The only slap I could see working is a collective backhand to the entire processed/fast food industry.

Not gonna happen.

Next on my list: OxiClean and foot pads. Still taking requests.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials, , ,

why the ShamWOW is… well, a sham.

It’s like a shammy, it’s like a towel, it’s like a sponge. You’ll be saying “WOW” every time!

On paper (like paper towels! get it?!), the ShamWOW looks like an amazing product. 8 of them for $19.95 + $8 S/H, so $28. Let’s see what it has to offer:

  • works wet or dry.
  • holds 20 times its weight in liquid.
  • machine washable.
  • Made in Germany. And you know the Germans always make good stuff. (Except for that time… in the late 1930s… with the persecution of all those Jews… oh wait, nevermind.)
  • Olympic divers use it as a towel!
  • Dries your sweaters.
  • Gets out wine, coffee, cola from carpet!
  • You’ll spend $20 on paper towels a month anyway, so why not.
  • ShamWOW lasts 10 years. Sponges last a week.

At first glance, it looks like I’ll never need another kitchen towel again, if I just get 8 ShamWOWs. That’s a lot of absorbency; suck, if you will. That’s like, enough suck to compete with the Slap Chop. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s really see if the ShamWOW is worth your time, money, and staring at this Yankee’s face for a few more minutes. (His name is Vince Offer. Offer!! Get it?! He’s a salesman… okay. I’ll stop.)

1. The first thing that entices me is the absorbent quality of the ShamWOW. “Holds 20 times its weight in liquid. Works wet or dry. Even gets out wine, coffee, cola stains from carpet.” Know what else holds 20 times its weight in liquid? That’s right. Nanotubes. But even if you don’t have those handy, that demonstration of removing cola from the carpet? A sham.

When you see Vince pour the cola onto the square of carpet, some of the cola seeps over the edge:

puddle

Later, when he goes to clean it up with the ShamWOW, the edge-seeping cola is mysteriously absent:

nopuddle

Don’t fall for the quick editing and smooth talking of this guy. Vince, I’m onto you.

2. “I spend $20 on paper towels a month anyway. Compared to getting yourself an order of ShamWOWs, that’s like cash in the trash. Money in the… bunny. Green in the… wastebasket. You know what I mean.

Let’s see. Paper towels are… what, $10 for 24 rolls? At least that’s how much I got them for at Price Chopper (generic). $20 in paper towels a month would be 48 rolls of paper towels. Per month. You’d have to use a roll and a half each day of the month. I don’t even think that’s remotely possible. And even if you had the soul-crushing conviction that you needed to use up a whole roll of paper towels a day, it still wouldn’t be possible. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

I’d use… maybe 3 rolls of paper towels in a month. So $10 in paper towels would last me 2/3rds of a YEAR. Sorry ShamWOW. Not only does it appear that you need to use deceptive marketing to pitch your product (that might not actually work!), you’re not cost-effective.

3. “You won’t need paper towels after the ShamWOW.” Because of course, the infinitely reusable ShamWOW automatically precludes all conceivable uses of paper towels. Ever.

Let’s say you used a ShamWOW to wash and wax your car. I’d imagine, for your family’s sake, that you wouldn’t want to use that very same ShamWOW to say, clean up messes in the kitchen. After all, wax isn’t that tasty. Same goes for oil changes, too. Except if you’re a robot. Then by all means, go ahead.

You also wouldn’t want to mix a shower mat or any bathroom-use ShamWOW with the kitchen. Sure you can throw them into the washing machine… but would you really go to all the effort to distinguish between a bathroom ShamWOW with a kitchen ShamWOW?! And besides, they’re rubbing around each other in there to begin with.

Narsty. Paper towels still have their uses.

I have a feeling the ShamWOW wouldn’t be very good at picking up… spilled flour, grape jelly, molasses, vegetable oil, etc. It just doesn’t seem to be the end-all solution.

What if you spilled something in the kitchen, let’s say, some olive oil. Let’s use the ShamWOW to clean it up. Wow, look at it go… okay, now that it’s all clean, I have an olive-oil soaked ShamWOW. It’d be awful convenient if I could use it for other messes too, but I wouldn’t want to spread the oil everywhere. Well, I could just throw it in the washing machine… hey, this isn’t very convenient at all.

4. “You’ll be saving money with the ShamWOW!” I have bad news for you, Vince. There are these things lying around my kitchen that do the exact same thing as the ShamWOW. They don’t have the nice machined edges that the ShamWOW does, but they clean up messes, absorb liquids, and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over defenestrating any of them. (The ShamWOW would give me nightmares if I threw it out my 2nd story window.)

Yes. The infamous ordinary kitchen rag! And I get them for free. Take that.

That being said, Vince is kinda awesome, in an annoying, condescending, flippant kind of way. I’ll take two.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials, , ,

And now, for something really special.

I’ve been inspired. Lisa and fellow bloggers (namely, Jess) have piqued my interest to debunking products pitched in infomercials. That’s right. I’m going to tell you why they don’t work, why they’re a waste of your hard-earned (except if you’re unemployed. In which case, my condolences.) money, and what makes them so intriguing and catchy.

Speaking of intriguing and catchy

I’ll start off with:

I’ll take requests in the comments.

next stop, why the ShamWOW suffers from an unfortunate (but aptly so) first syllable.

Filed under: debunking infomythcials,

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