July 21, 2010

As Seen On TV

On Monday, I talked about quirks. I left one out. Well, I probably left out billions. But the one I'm specifically thinking of? I love home shopping. Not actually purchasing anything but just watching.

A long, long, long time ago when I was 10 or 11, a friend of mine and I would stay up all night watching the Home Shopping Club. This was before the Network or the Channel. Back then, home shopping was just a continuous stream of home shopping that networks would cut to when they wanted to go dark for the night. They sold complete and utter crap but then again I'm not sure that's changed too much. These were the early days before automated ordering so we'd yank the operators' chains as much as was humanly possible. We'd order hundreds of artifacts from the Atotia, a Spanish ship that sank in the 1600s which they claimed had yielded a limited number of gold coins yet sold thousands upon thousands of each and every night. We'd order crappy porcelain dolls and ask if they came with free sledgehammers so we could smash them upon arrival. We were, in short, hilarious. At least we thought so. We were 11. Everything was hilarious

Twenty-five years later, Beth and I are still pretty enamored with home shopping. When there's nothing on TV, TiVo has failed us and the crabby b-movies streaming from Netflix feel too high-brow for us, we surf home shopping channels.

Electronics shows are for the most part boring unless something horrible goes wrong or the laptop starts showing off the hosts' stash of porn. Jewelry shows are similarly borning as are most of the vitamin and skin-care product showcases. The real entertainment value is in the shows hocking household products or those that pretend to be cooking shows. They are the holy grail of home shopping entertainment.

These people whip up five metric tons of food in an hour of demonstrations. Though they could probably feed half the homeless population of wherever it is they're broadcasting from, they seem to feed camera crews who, I'm sure, end up in the hospital with food poisoning after ingesting half-cooked chicken breasts straight out of the Wolfgang Puck Wonder Oven, Rotisserie, and Wet/Dry Vac. And the hosts always coincidentally seem to own whatever it is they're showing off. Their houses must be like something straight out of Hoarders, small appliances, cookware, tupperware sets and huggable hangers stacked everywhere.

Have you ever bought anything from television? Did it live up to expectations?

Posted by Chris at July 21, 2010 6:38 AM

I have not done any ordering myself, but once my MIL ordered a device that turned your whole house into an antenna (TV reception was poor in the Ozarks). This thing was $15.95 and while ordering, was asked if they owned more than one television as you could purchase 2 for only $19.95. She asked, "if it turns my whole house into an antenna why would I need two?" It failed, they got one of those giant satellite dishes.

Posted by: Diane at July 21, 2010 7:03 AM

I've never ordered anything but just want to say - those ordering things? Haven't turned automated. At least, not completly. My mom works as one of those people who answers the phones when you order stuff. And you calling and asking things like that? They don't mind - they get paid by the minute ;) Doesn't matter if they make a sale or not! Granted, they get more if they make a sale, but sometimes, just getting the minutes is just as good. =P

I won't watch them normally, only because I'm compelled to buy things, even though they're utter crap. My grandfather use to buy things for me - I have a stash of music boxes that he ordered from them for me, until we took away his credit card!

Posted by: Secha at July 21, 2010 7:55 AM

I still kind of want a Magic Bullet. (Even though I think the name makes it sound more like an adult toy than a blender.)

Posted by: Heather at July 21, 2010 8:28 AM

Confession: I like to put the home shopping channels on at night. It provides a sort of "white noise" that helps me sleep. Only certain hosts, though. There are some whose voices just irk me. Also, I prefer women hosts to men. Maybe my brain finds their voices more soothing or something?

Last year, I actually ordered something for the first time. It's hair moisturizer and I guess it's okay. I did feel about 60 years old ordering from them, though.

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 21, 2010 9:22 AM

My parents got us a portable A/C unit that was featured on QVC. It works pretty well. Does that count?

As for more traditional TV offers, I think my mom and I both fell victim to the Time-Life music pitch. She got the Christmas stuff, and I think I did some 60s compilation. We were both able to cancel after getting the CDs we wanted, thank goodness.

My cousin had a Magic Bullet and swore by it. She said it really did everything it was advertised to do. Unfortunately, she used it so often that the motor burned out, and she hasn't replaced it.

Oh! And I got those old fogey sunglasses that are supposed to sit over your regular glasses. They're nothing special. I keep them in the car in case I forget my clip-ons. My husband is embarrassed to be seen with me.

Posted by: Coleen at July 21, 2010 9:37 AM

We usually just shop at the "As Seen On TV" aisle at Walgreens. You can find all the crap there and It's cheaper . . . BUT WAIT - no shipping! And instant gratification . . .

Posted by: Pegnandy at July 21, 2010 10:06 AM

I have bought Huggable Hangers! I was laying in bed watching HSN when I was on vacation (I also get mesmerized by it when nothing else is on.) When my husband came in the room and I was on the phone he did not believe me when I told him I was ordering the hangers. At least not until a couple of weeks later when a huge box showed up. I LOVE THEM!

Posted by: Ashley at July 21, 2010 10:19 AM

I'm not a Home Shopper, but I did buy Monster Ballads after seeing it on TV. I ordered online though.

My Mom, however, is a huge fan of QVC. It used to be weird, but lately she's been getting useful stuff. When I was in college, she bought a flea trap, I guess you'd call it. I can't even describe it, but it emanated a green light that reminded me of Stephen King's Tommyknockers.

Posted by: Brooke at July 21, 2010 12:04 PM

The. Perfect. Brownie. Pan.


Posted by: caleal at July 21, 2010 2:07 PM

I got the Ronco Rotisserie Grill and I LOVE it!

Posted by: Maribeth at July 21, 2010 3:34 PM

hmm... I bought some of those anti-static ball-type things for the dyer. FAIL. Double-FAIL because they came with a "trial offer" of these laundry detergent dispensers for the washer, and of course you HAD to buy the detergent from them at ridiculously expensive prices and exorbitant shipping...I sent them back immediately but they still kept sending me the detergent. After 8 months of refusing the packages - I finally called them and told them I was considering any further shipments to be gifts. They stopped :)

Posted by: Sue R at July 21, 2010 5:31 PM

i have never ordered anything off the tv. but this post reminded me of my old prank calling grade school days... before caller id... when my friends and i would dail random numbers out of the phone book and pretend to be someone calling from the farm where they ordered 500 baby chicks to let them know that their shipment was on it's way.

Posted by: kati at July 21, 2010 8:26 PM

I haven't ever ordered off the HSN, but Michael @tcrpmg has. He is a VERY proud owner of a Showtime Rotisserie and he loves it! I've gotta admit, the food that he makes in it is really good. It's a bitch to clean though....

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at July 21, 2010 9:28 PM

I bought "Guitar Rock", the two CD set. I think it was my first (and second) CD.

I think I didn't even have a CD player at the time. I had to record a 'backup' cassette to actually listen to it on my walkman!


Posted by: harmzie at July 22, 2010 2:29 PM