I am addicted to infomercials

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I isn’t

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Well now we know where the Himalayan salt block came from.


A few years back I was hospitalized with pneumonia. There wasn’t much to do in the hospital except catch up on bad TV I’d been magically missing with not having cable at home. I watched a biography of the Ronco guy who cooked up the In The Egg Scambler and other crazy old school infomercial products. It was interesting that his dad was a street huckster who sold things at carnivals and such using all the same techniques he used on tv, and particularly the crazy price cuts. It’s apparently a well known technique among people who do that kind of performance selling to set the price like, “what would you pay???” “$20?” “How would you feel if I said it was only 9.99?..and you get TWO for that price!?” As well the way he’d demo the product was very honed and based on his father’s selling techniques.

Also I learned that over time the Ronco guy’s wives got younger and younger and younger until his forth was much younger than his oldest kids.


My favorite feature of the infomercial is the exaggerated badness of the way we are currently doing things. The wall hook commercial shows someone hammering a nail right through the wall leaving a huge hole. There was some miracle hamburger cooker showing someone making inedible, overcooked hamburger patties using a conventional frying pan.



I think that waiting for that moment, anticipating “How can someone screw that up?” is the only reason to watch infomercials.

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Perhaps you’d like some allergy meds?

The sad truth is, you’re probably not the infomercial demographic.

They cater to elderly people with insomnia and mobility issues. That’s why everything they try to sell seems to be for clumsy people. When you get to be 85 pretty often keeping ahold of things, hand-eye coordination, noticing the smell of burning food, can get to be a problem. But a lot of elderly people don’t want to go to assisted living, and who can blame them?

So these infomercials look like salvation from what amounts to adult foster care, and enabling you to live on your own until that fateful day when you can die quietly in your sleep surrounded by loved ones.


Those sauna pants!!!

I can easily sit through infomercials for music collections or tv shows being repackaged on dvd. Some I’ve sat through so often I can remember the song orders.

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