Monday, July 31, 2006

4 Generations of Infomercial Mania

Our family has its newest member of the Infomercial Mania club - our six year old daughter Elizabeth. Because of my bout with the flu this weekend, I spent Saturday night at my parents' house with Elizabeth, and Jason and Anna stayed at the campgrounds. On Sunday, while I was still recuperating in the back bedroom, I kept hearing portions of a conversation between Elizabeth and my dad. They were watching t.v. in the living room, and Elizabeth kept saying, "You've got to get it Grandpa, you just have to." A few minutes later, Elizabeth came running into the bedroom with quite an excited look on her face. She proceeded to tell me that my dad had ordered the "Magic Bullet," some sort of kitchen gadget that according to Elizabeth can fix your meal in ten seconds or less. She also informed me that you just put in tomatoes, strawberries, and some spices, and then you have salsa for your chips. You can make smoothies by using strawberries, melons, and cantaloupe (I'm using her words here.) And the best ordering this Magic Bullet, he received one free! But it doesn't stop there...he could purchase a third Magic Bullet for just half off - 3 Magic Bullets for the grand total of 150.00. Looks like my brother and I are receiving a Magic Bullet for Christmas. I think Elizabeth should get ours.

Elizabeth gets her infomercial addiction honestly. It started with my Grandma Porter. She was a QVC addict, and that made for interesting Christmas presents. The most memorable one was a clock/alarm in the shape of talking lips. Imagine my dad's surprise when he opened up this present from my 80+ year old grandmother. We tried to stifle our laughs when these types of presents were opened, but sometimes we could not help ourselves. The talking lips live on - each year a member of our family receives this gift and is responsible for wrapping it up and passing it on to someone else the next year. Elizabeth had the lips last Christmas and hated to give them up - actually I forget who she passed them on to, but I will find out next Christmas. Though my grandmother passed away several years ago, she provides us with a special laugh each Christmas.

My dad also has given in to the infomercials - the Magic Bullet isn't his first purchase. Jason and my brother received the Total Trolley a couple of years ago complements of Dad. I will have to say, we have used the total trolley, and it is quite useful for any of you out there who have thought about ordering one. My parents' Total Trolley is still in the package.

Jason and I have definetely ordered our fair share of infomerical products, and I thought I would run down a list of the good products, the bad products, and then finally products that each time I see them advertised, I am tempted to pick up that phone.

The Keepers
1. Forever 80's. I had to put this first. It was what brought Jason and I together. He had ordered it, I had just received it through Student Center mail, he saw me open it, a conversation started, the rest is history. We sold one of our copies, but we still have one left in our home. Total Eclipse of the Heart anyone?

2. Songs For Life/Songs For Worship. Pretty much any Contemporary Christian music hit is on one of these CD's, and we have listened to them extensively. There were some cons to them, however, so they also make my loser list.

3. The Garden Grabber. For those of you who hate to rake, this lawn gadget is for you. It is a rake in the shape of a cylinder. You rake up the leaves, then you gather them in the cylinder and push a button, and it lifts the leaves off the ground and lets you put them in the container without having to bend down and scoop them with your hands. I'm not sure it really saves all that much effort, but it is a neat gadget that does what it says it will do.

4. The Ionic Breeze Air Purifier. This product purchase was all about timing. Anna had been diagnosed with Restrictive Airway something or other (a precursor to asthma) at a very young age, and she was prescribed 2 a day breathing treatments. During one asthma episode, Jason was giving her a breathing treatment at 1:30 in the morning; the poor girl could hardly breathe. At 1:30 in the morning, not much is on besides Infomercials (this is before the day of TiVO) and on came the ad for the Ionic Breeze, promising to purify your air of any toxins and make a much healthier environment for your family. And if you ordered right then, you even got another smaller purifier for your bathroom. Who could blame Jason for ordering - any caring father would have done the same thing while holding his helpless child gasping for air. And sure enough, since we have had this thing, Anna has not had another asthmatic episode (except for the time we went to Florida and forgot her breathing treatment machine and we had to rush her to the emergency room after two days and buy another machine for $250 before they would dismiss us, but that's another story.) Ionic Breeze or coincidence, who knows. But the thing still runs daily in our house.

5. The laser straight gadget. This tool has really come in handy when hanging pictures. It puts a straight line on the wall that lets you know where to hang your pictures. Why can't I think of something so simple to make millions?

The Losers
1. The Egg Wave Microwave Cooker. First of all, a microwaved egg does not sound appetizing. And secondly, how hard is it to cook an egg? We tried this thing out once, hated it, threw it away.

2. The Bloomin Onion Maker. This came out when Outback had just started putting the Bloomin Onion on their menu. We love those things. Why not make them at home? Either we're dumb or the gadget didn't work, because not only could we not get our onion to look right, the batter fell right off the onion and didn't bake on it. What a waste.

3. Carburator (I know I butchered the spelling here) cleaner - guaranteed to clean out the insides of your car and get you better gas mileage. Maybe this product would have had a better chance if we were putting it in a nicer car. We both were driving older cars that had more issues than a clean carburator, and I never saw a difference in my gas mileage. Actually, a couple of years later, my car coasted into the Honda dealership and died when we were picking up my new (used) car, so I guess it didn't work any miracles for it.

4. Songs for Life/Songs for Worship. The problem with this purchase was it kept on giving. Every six weeks or so a new cd would come, and if we didn't want it, we would have to send it back. Of course we would open it first to see if we liked the songs, and then if we didn't, we had to pay to send it back. The more the cd's came, the worse they got. We cancelled after receiving (and purchasing) way too many of these things.

5. The Garden Grabber Part Two. The first one was great, but we fell for the scheme - buy one now, you get a second one half off. Where is that second one now, you say? Three years later, it's in our barn, in its original packaging. Watch out for the white elephant exchange, all of you in the Sunday School Class!

One product I am on the fence about is Crunch Art. My mom ordered it for Elizabeth for her birthday and then forgot about it, then she found it while she was cleaning out the closets for the yard sale, and forgetting again why she purchased it, put it in the yard sale for 3.00. I knew Elizabeth had been asking for it, so I scooped up that purchase for a bargain. Elizabeth had a lot of fun with it, but the problem with it was that after a couple of times playing with it, she had maxxed out the supplies. For what Mom paid for it, not worth it. What I paid for it, worth it.

And finally, products that I am tempted to purchase:

1. The Betty Crocker Bake n Fill. You can put all sorts of fillings into cakes - ice cream, jams and jelly filling, cream filling, etc. I have no idea how it works, but it looks really neat.

2. Blue Gel. This cure-all Gel has healed millions - just ask the people who promote it in the infomercial. I could have used some of it tonight after our game (which, by the way, we won 6-3, going undefeated for the regular season, YEAH COLLEGE WESLEYAN LADIES!!!)

3. Floam. This is a kid product that has lots of micro beads that will conform to any shape or can be put on any object to "decorate" it. But then you can easily remove it or let it harden to stay permanetly. If you order when it is on t.v., your tubs get supersized and you get two extra colors. Elizabeth would love it - possible birthday gift.

4. Bowflex. Come on, wouldn't all of us like to look like that - and all we have to do is make a few easy payments and exercise 10 hours a day.

5. Okay, this isn't actually a real product, but it was a spoof on Saturday Night Live. Anyone see the hilarious commercial where the smoke alarm plays eighties music instead of a loud blaring noise? It's pretty funny, and I would get one if they really existed.

So there you have it, the run down on the Wuertley/Porter family infomercial products. I'll let you know how the Magic Bullet works when it comes in. The clincher...Jason called my parents' house to check on me minutes after the Magic Bullet was ordered, and when I told him about it, his response..."I've always thought about ordering that when I've seen it." Like I said, Elizabeth gets it honestly.

Triathlon Training update - today was a 30 minute bike, 35 minute run. As encouraged as I was last week, I'm a little discouraged after today. I went 6 miles on the bike, which I was pleased with, but my body was feeling it; I can't imagine going 16 miles. And then during the run immediately after, I went 3 miles in 35 minutes, which isn't bad, but I had to walk a little, and for the race, we have to go 4 miles after 16 miles of biking. Hopefully my body will get a little more trained in the next few weeks. I'm going to blame today's performance on the heat and lingering effects of the flu (sounds good, right?)


Blogger Marcia said...

If I remember correctly, we've had Floam. Sorta like slime/gack mixed with beanbag chair stuffing, as I recall. I think I'd put it on the Loser List!

August 01, 2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Jen Avery said...

You should write a post on the famous "Get rich" schemes Jason and your Dad have gone through.

August 01, 2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I too must admit I am an infomercial maniac. I have purchased many products. The latest being the Ab Cross Crunch. I can't believe you all haven't noticed my 6 pack. Well, that may be because I don't have a 6 pack. I must admit that I have watched and wanted to purchase the magic bullet many times. When you all get them, let me know if they work.

August 01, 2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Seems the only infomercial stuff I get is diet or exercise related. One look at me can confirm that I've thrown alot of money down the drain. I might be interested in the garden grabber though. I hate to rate and it kills my back to bend over and pick up the leaves. If you want to sell your extra one, let me know! ;)

August 01, 2006 2:37 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

One late night when Elisha was still an infant (and when I had not yet lost my pregnancy weight), I ordered Winsor Pilates. Let me just say that it is much harder to so those moves than they make it look on TV. If anyone wants to borrow them, they have never been used...

August 01, 2006 6:24 PM  

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