Walk into any Walgreen's, CVS, or Rite Aid, and you'll find them shelved near the front by the cash registers: products emblazoned with the "As Seen On TV" logo. While this familiar icon of marketing promises a sort of legitimacy-by-association with television, its rampant overuse raises serious questions over its integrity. On one hand, the "As Seen On TV" logo is a comforting reminder of old UHF television commercials and Ron Popeil devices. On the other hand, it's become like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for crappy stuff. Sadly, not every inventor of products you didn't know you needed has the genius of Popeil, though almost all of them feel at liberty to use this once-honorable slogan. Here are some of the most useless (or annoying) products that dare to use the "As Seen on TV" logo.
Hall of Fame Award: Big Mouth Billy Bass
Bug Vacuum ($49.99)
Certainly, there is a time in every homeowner's life in which he or she must face an exacting personal trial: the removal of a big fucking spider. Often, this test of will results in the utilization of the common household vacuum. But, in "Tell-Tale Heart" fashion, thoughts of a live spider struggling to escape from the vacuum bag can keep one up late at night in a cold sweat. Thus, the "Bug Vacuum" offers the final solution: electrocute the little bastards. Yes, not only does the Bug Vacuum suck up those multi-legged varmints, but it also sends deadly bolts of electricity ripping through their cephalothoraxes. Efficient, yes. But I must ask: Do you really want to know that there's an arachnid writhing in its death-throes not more than a few millimeters from your guilty hand?
Why spend $60 at some fancy beauty salon when you can simply vacuum your own hair off? That is the philosophical question posed by the Flowbee Precision Haircutting System, which promises a perfect cut every time, "even with your eyes closed!" Exactly how you'll be able to style your own hair without looking in the mirror, equipped only with a Flowbee and a Hoover, is a modern miracle of science. "Every so often, an industry will experience a technological breakthrough that revolutionizes the way it operates," the Flowbee's ad copy knowledgeably informs. "In order to achieve such a breakthrough, the new technology must out perform the old, it must introduce new efficiency never before known, and it must save money. The Flowbee Precision Haircutting System is just such a breakthrough in the haircutting industry." We are lucky indeed to be living in such a time to see these kinds of haircutting breakthroughs.
Donut Smart ($18.95)
When it comes time to eat donuts, there's really no need to go about it the old-fashioned way: putting on clothes, walking outside, making that tiresome drive to Dunkin' Donuts, and then having to select from literally dozens of different kinds of professionally-made donuts. No, nonow you can mix up your own batter, plop it into a your own deep-fat fryer, and make hundreds of hot donuts before spending an hour or two cleaning up the kitchen. Why, you could be eating donuts with every mealand as in-between-meal snacks! Clearly, this is how we were truly meant to consume donutsthe "Smart" way.
Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet ($179.95)
You're probably wondering, "How can nearly $200 worth of ionized gold help me physically?" Glad you asked! But rather than struggle to explain this complex technology myself, I'll let the experts at Q-Ray elucidate on the advantages of ionization: "Q-Ray is an exclusive Ionized Bracelet which we believe helps balance your body's Yin-Yang (Negative & Positive Ions). When your body is balanced, 'Chi' (the vital life energy) is generated facilitating natural pain relief. Q-Ray applies exclusive cutting edge Ionization Technology for 24 hours of non-stop performance." ThereI hope that clears up any misconceptions you had over the health effects of Ionization Technology. Remember: Buy two and be twice as balanced!
Cell Phone Wave Scrambler ($19.95)
You may not realize it, but those waves of EMF radiation that flood your ear canal every time you use your cell phone might be causing serious damage. Or maybe not. But maybe they are! If that's the caseand nobody's really saying it isthen you need the miraculous Wave Scrambler. "It has been discovered that long term usage of cell phones may effect [sic] the thin film nerves and cause retardation, although Science has yet to conclude a definitive link between EMF waves from cell phones," states the Wave Scrambler's ad copy unequivocally. Of course, our Big Brother government has a different opinion, with CIA-puppets the Federal Trade Commission charging two makers of the device with fraud. "According to the FTC, there is no scientific proof that the coin-sized metallic fiber patches placed over the earpieces of cellular and cordless telephones significantly reduce exposure from electromagnetic emissions," reads one news story. How can the government possibly doubt the powers of tiny metallic-fiber discs to protect our ear canals? It really makes you question the intelligence of those in power.
April 25, 2002
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