Tricounty News

Caveat Emptor Fatigo Let the sleepy buyer beware

It's 2 in the morning and I'm now quite certain the pickled herring I had the night before had been out of the sea just a tad too long! I get up, grab a glass of water and a fistful of Tums and turn on the TV. The first thing I see is an obnoxious bearded guy who, in a voice slightly less grating than rubbing lemon juice into a paper cut on your eyelid, says, "Hi, Billy Mays, here with the revolutionary Slice Wizard!" "Oh, darn," I groan, "this guy again." I meander aimlessly through all 40+ channels and there he is again ... and again ... and again. There doesn't seem to be a product he isn't trying to get me to buy! And, strangely enough, his chainsaw-like voice causes me to pause for a brief moment and listen to his too-good-to-be-true claims. I mean, who wouldn't want to quickly and easily repair any structure known to man with a small glob of the revolutionary Mighty Putty? "If only they had Mighty Putty on the Titanic," I mutter to myself, regret evident in my tone (I'm ashamed to admit this regret was not for those who perished on the ship, but for the fact that if the Titanic had not sunk, there would have been one less movie with Leonardo DiCaprio in it). This loud, bearded guy seems to be on nearly every channel touting the revolutionary Turbo-Vac, revolutionary Ding King, and something called the revolutionary Slider Press for making delicious slider-style burgers (I think "sliders" is a White Castle restaurant term). With my stomach performing somersaults like Mary Lou Retton on Red Bull, the last thing I want to hear about is any product with the word "slider" in it! As I have mentioned in past columns, late-night cable TV is only slightly more interesting than attending a Mal-Mart Greeters convention, but as I surf the sea of second-rate product commercials, I am confronted by a creepy guy in a headset spilling soda on carpet and then dabbing it up with great success thanks to the super-absorbent (and dare I say it?) revolutionary ShamWow. Creepy though he may be, ShamWow guy has hit every one of my touch points as a consumer. He claims this product is perfect for easily removing wine and pet stains. I have to admit this guy is good. How is it possible he knew my dog was fond of drinking Merlot and possessed a weak bladder? As each of these modern-day snake-oil salesmen knows, pitching products to sleep-deprived buyers is highly effective. Why else would you buy quite possibly the most hideous piece of clothing in the world, the Snuggie, a fleece blanket with built-in sleeves, if you weren't half asleep? I'm sure the Snuggie will keep you warm but, unless you have recently taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and entered a monastery, you're going to look pretty silly wearing a bright pink monk's robe! And I'm not the only one in my family who has succumbed to the allure of all of those late-night offers. My wife was tempted to buy a Ped Egg foot file for the low, low price of $9.95 (plus $72,000 for shipping and handling), but I had to put my very calloused foot down and forbid such a frivolous purchase when we have a perfectly good belt sander in the basement. (Yawn) The Tums have finally won their epic struggle against the contents of my stomach, and I am finally ready to hop back into my revolutionary self-inflating Aero Bed and dream sweet dreams of having a piping hot breakfast from our new and, yes, revolutionary, Waffle Master 6000! www.nmfredrickson.com