Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This winter, we all faced the possibility of a “Swine Flu” epidemic. Blizzards pounded the midsection of the country and buried the East Coast. There were earthquakes and tidal waves. CNN and the Weather Network enjoyed very high ratings. But in our house, when sick, snowed in, or otherwise cooped up, our family watches INFOMERCIALS.

It all started when my older daughter still lived at home. An insomniac, she discovered the world of slicers and dicers as a night owl, while channel surfing. She became obsessed with the Popeil family. Her interests fanned out to the likes of Billy Mays and his cohorts. She is a great influence on her mother, and before long, I found myself in the thrall of the great TV hucksters.

Our first purchase was a sandwich maker that you could use to make the usual grilled cheese sandwiches, but according to the adorable, pudgy middle aged TV chef selling the product, you could also use it to make cakes, omelets, biscuits, and even bake potatoes! When it arrived, we breathlessly buttered the bread, added cheese, and VOILA! It produced a dumpy little grease ball that looked like a pale Twinkie and tasted like, well, deep fat fried Velveeta.

We were not discouraged, oh no! We watched a fascinating hour long show about closet organization that featured hangers that held six shirts apiece; only ten dollars for a set of six. If you bought two sets, there was a BONUS offer! We couldn’t get to the phone fast enough!

Through the years, we have purchased floor reviving kits, a pot that cooks meat, vegetables, and warms the dinner rolls all at the same time! We spent one entire Thanksgiving eve perfecting our bikini lines with a revolutionary no pain waxing system. That was the night that Annie declared both her sister and her mother as definitely certifiable.

In my garden, there is a little contraption that when plugged in, frees the entire yard of mosquitoes. It works very well, too—as long as you light tiki torches and use citronella candles along with it. Our gutters are spotless, due to a GUTTER ROBOT that my husband bought on the “Gardening Spectacular” episode on QVC. It works pretty well, and the neighbors like to gather on the curb and watch it as it churns along in the spouting, spewing out little sticks and clumps of leaves. They cheer Charlie on his ladder, as he reaches into the gutter to free up the robot whenever it gets stuck. About every five minutes.

I am a busy woman. Anything that will make my life easier has great appeal. And so, when watching the inspiring infomercial about a woman who realized that her life would be so much less complicated if she had only three items in her wardrobe that would combine effortlessly into AT LEAST THIRTY different outfits, I was mesmerized. I watched as she took what looked like a tube of material, wrapped it around her neck and somehow hooked her arms through it, and pouf! It was shrug! She took the skirt, hiked it up under her armpits, and IT WAS A STUNNING SLEEVELESS GOWN! The belt became a necklace. The belt, combined with the tube and the skirt, morphed into a dress with a little cowl neckline. This was amazing. I thought about how I could empty my entire closet and replace my clothing with a belt, a skirt, and a tube! I had my hand on the phone, when Charlie walked in. He put his hand on my dialing wrist, held it firmly, and said, “Are these going to be featured in the NY Times “Styles” section?"

He was so right. I didn’t order. My husband made me realize that I had a problem. It was a struggle, but I have given up my infomercials for shows that have a higher intrinsic value. I watch to learn, to expand, and to intensify my experience of life on this fragile planet.

Have you seen “The Hoarders?” What about “Celebrity Intervention?”


  1. We all are susceptible to any good sales pitch, no one is immune who has ever owned a credit card.

    I bought the no pain no wax product, waiting for it to come to Walgreens, and I promptly returned it since it was just SUGAR - I told the manager this, and I think they discontinue the product line from their store(s).

    This winter I bought the no slip bra strap solution at Walmart, and promptly returned that too.

    We want to be included in new technology that will alleviate some of the trudge-work and annoyances in our lives, but I wouldn't be surprised to find every consumer being fooled at least once a year.

    I think I will try to ween myself from my latest time waster - blog giveaways. What is your experience with that?

  2. A women after my own herat, I can hardly believe we also have this in common. Unlike you though my search for (umm) 'useful' items is contained within the bounds of the catalogue not that I haven't been tempted by these tv channels.
    A great post Molly, I couldn't help but smile and nod my head.

  3. Too funny! I will admit, in a moment of weakness, to purchasing a "painless and efficient" tool to trim my dogs claws. It is now back in the box. They failed to mention the abject terror the sound of the rotating emery board dremmel attachment would produce in my dog.

  4. A few months ago, my Little One somehow got hung up on an infomercial for the Swivel Sweeper G2. (I wrote a post about it here: The things works though!!! I'm obsessed now with the Big Top Cupcake. But I really should know better!!!

    Have you ever seen the show "Pitchmen"? It is a "behind the scenes" look at Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan. Not sure if it is rerunning now that Mr. Mays died. My husband watched it quite a few times!

  5. Infomercials are EVIL! Okay, well not really, but kind of. I've gotten sucked in to so many of them. I've learned to not watch tv when I'm up really late because in my tired state I end up ordering whatever I see. Half the time, the products don't even work the way they claim. I'm still curious about that pet one I saw though lol.

  6. Just wanted to let you know that I've given you the Sunshine Award :)

  7. My favorite was a gift from my parents. It's the contraption that is supposed to help you peel hard-boiled eggs faster. You poke a hole in the shell, and use this pump to push down and squeeze your egg right out of the shell ... the only thing it did for me was splat eggs on my far kitchen wall. Yes, I did it multiple times because, I HAD to be doing something wrong....

  8. Didn't anyone buy a snuggie? But wait!! if you buy 2 we will send a book light. I did it. It looked warm. I sent the 2nd one to a son-in-law and the other 2 were jealous they didn't get one. CRAZY.



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