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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, April 09, 2006

As Seen On TV

I'm a sucker for gadgets, gizmos, and geegaws of every kind.

I sometimes think that if I had been alive in the 1950's, I would've been the Fuller Brush Man's best friend.

I have yet to be able to pass up a good sale, especially on any item which promises ingenious convenience.

If you share my love of gadgetry, you'll love this post.

Many of us often see those infomercials, and 5 minute spots on television, which flog "As Seen on TV" items.

The funny thing is, I often have wanted to purchase them via their 1-800 numbers, but I've been too chicken to do so, not wanting to give out any credit card info, etc -- identity theft being ever on my mind.

Such was my glee when I was in my local CVS pharmacy (which in Florida, is the already well-known entity which took over the Eckerd Drugs franchise), and I saw a whole section devoted to these As Seen On TV items!

I almost cleaned them out, leaving only that Scünsci steamer behind, since I couldn't hide this item from my already ennervated parents -- who are frankly sick and tired of my gadget obsession.

"Not another one...", moans my mother when she sees my latest purchase. "What do you need an electric backscratcher for??".

For back scratching, DUH.

I confess, though, that some of these items I've bought on impulse (vide Zen Garden post below), have been less than successful.

In fact, some are just really stupid and don't work as advertised.

So, putting on my Ralph Nader hat (before he went loopy, and decided an internet tax would solve all our problems), here are some reviews of items, both good and bad, which I've bought recently.

Listen, you go ahead and buy anything you want, even if I gave it three thumbs down.

But as the saying goes, caveat emptor.

That means you, buddy.

Drop the Motor-Powered Self-Twirling Spaghetti Fork, and start reading this.


THE AUTOMATIC SHOWER CLEANER





Granted, I have a mania for taking showers and baths.

I take upwards of 3 a-day, and often, in the summertime, 5.

Obviously, my bathroom takes quite a beating from my exertions, as yours may possibly not.

But if you're a shower-freak as I am, you'll want to keep your bathroom as clean as possible, all the time.

This handy gadget, in fact, is available at your supermarket, right now.

I think it must've come out in the past week, as I keep an eagle eye on new stuff in the kitchen/detergent/cleaner aisle.

I got it at my local Winn-Dixie, retailing for $24.99, though stupidly, I could've either opened the package, or have gone to the official Automatic Shower Cleaner website, for a $5 off coupon for the starter kit.

This kit includes the shower contraption, 4 AA batteries, a hook to hang it on the shower head, and 2 solution bottles, which apparently last for 40 cleanings.

You're supposed to use it after your last shower of the day, whereupon you press the button in the middle, and after a 5 second delay to allow you to clear the area, it pulsates a lovely smelling scrubbing bubbles solution unto your tiles and bathtub.

I only got it yesterday, but so far, I really like it. The fragrance is delicious, but not overly sweet and petally.

PROS: 2 bottles, and batteries included.
CONS: Pricey, if no coupon.
VERDICT: Buy it. You'll like it.


PET GROOM PRO2





As you know, my Schmoopsie is one pampered pooch.

What with the 3 dollar Dog Water, his cashmere coats, and all-natural, tea-tree anti-dandruff pet shampoo I got him recently ($15), things can get rather hairy (groan).

But speaking of hair, though he's a smooth-coat which is heavenly, because they're low-maintenance on grooming (no laughing matter for the $100-and-up grooming per month bill, for poodle owners), he does need a good comb every now and again.

Trouble is, he's a wimp.

At the sight of a brush, he hides under my skirts, even if I'm wearing shorts.

So, since this Pet Groom Pro2 was advertised as being specially good for antsy dogs, I bought it.

It was about $13.99 at CVS, less than the $19.99 plus shipping-handling, on TV, so I thought 'magnifique!'.

I got it home, and realised I needed one D battery, not included. $6 for a pack of 2.

I then assembled everything, and turned it on.

Not sure what I was expecting, but whether on or off, it doesn't make a peep.

Schmoopsie was not amused at the size of the brush, which is considerable, and obviously meant for hairier, and bigger dogs.

Still, as long as it worked, I would be content.

It's just that I don't see it doing anything...at least, not yet.

With it's Ionised magnet, which is supposed to gather the fluff in a ball, I expect to see fur clumps gather immediately. Nothing.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I'd say, who let the dawgs out?

PROS: Noiseless.
CONS: Pricey. Bulky. D-battery sold separately. Does it do anything?
VERDICT: A definite pass.


URINE GONE





More Schmoopsie-talk.

This time, it's the Urine Gone or Urine B. Gone item (I've seen both names on the package).

Any dog owner has to be wary of puppy spillage, and though my pooch is well-behaved, there is this one area, he goes to again and again.

I had wanted "Zero Odor", in the white bottle, but when I saw Urine Gone, I bought it.

It was $19.99 at CVS, which is the same price as televised, so no savings except for the shipping/handling.

It came with that odd little back-light, used in CSI:Miami to solve crimes where blood or semen are involved...

...hopefully, I won't ever be using it for those purposes, though I'm keeping my options open.

Again, it came with no batteries (4 AAs), but the backlight did work, and it had a torch (flashlight) thrown in for free.

But the Urine Gone solution itself didn't work. It just adds another ammonia scent to the area, which frankly, makes the whole endeavour rather disgusting.

If you want a torch, or backlight, I'd say, head to the nearest Home Depot, and buy one.

Otherwise, stay away from this item.

PROS: You can send away for your own silk robe, with proof of purchase (though what this has to do with pet urine, I have no idea).
CONS: Pricey. Doesn't work. Do you really need a backlight?
VERDICT: Miss.


CUISINART PARTY POPCORN MAKER





Not strictly "As Seen on TV" item, but still, in case you are thinking of buying a popcorn maker, this is an item I've recently purchased.

Now, I'm not much for popcorn, which would make you wonder why I'd buy this gadget, right?

Well, the thing is, when I do want popcorn, I want some good healthy stuff, not the Jiffy Pop or microwaved variety, which is full of fat.

So I bought this Cuisinart Party Popcorn maker, on sale at Williams-Sonoma for $24.99, and took it for a spin twice already.

First time, I had the bright idea of popping open a microwave pack of Orville Redenbacker popcorn, which came out disgusting.

Last night, I bought the proper popping kernels, and oil, and gave it another whirl.

Much, much better, although you have to be careful, and attent to the popping, since the spinning mechanism burns the kernels easily.

It's also a bit awkward to take out the heating drum with the already popped corn, so be careful!

Still, I like it, and it's dead cheap for what it does.

PROS: Good price. Nice burgundy colour. Good popcorn, which can be flavoured.
CONS: Burns too easily. Might be a bit bulky.
VERDICT: Buy it. It's better than Jiffy Pop, though admittedly, not as nostalgic.


HOMEDIC FOOT SPA





This gizmo is for the ladies, mostly, but if men were intelligent, they'd overlook the girlie colours, and use it too.

I have more "home spa" items than you can imagine, but this is my favourite.

At $34.99, it wasn't cheap, but it does come with several speeds, and has a small "footprint", as one says about size these days.

The Homedics brand is not fancy, but it does do the job, and is relatively inexpensive.

Just sprinkle some epsom salt, or my favourite, Yves Saint Laurent "Paris" sea salt, and luxuriate your tootsies for a solid half-hour with this whirlpool foot bath.

You'll love it.

PROS: 3 speeds, and up, depending on model.
CONS: Pricey, but not comparatively. A chick gizmo.
VERDICT: You betcha.

Stay tuned for further reviews of As Seen on TV items.

And don't forget to share your own reviews in the comments.

Come on.

We're dying to know how that Oxyclean and Bedazzler work!

11 Comments:

  • Good Lord! How do you have any skin left after 3-5 showers a day??

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sun Apr 09, 12:32:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Good Lord! How do you have any skin left after 3-5 showers a day??

    Wait, wait. Back up, Ruth Anne! You're going headlong into a visual which is faulty.

    Allow me to explain:

    You're thinking shower/bath which lasts for at LEAST 15 minutes to half-an-hour, right?

    That's morning shower. I stay in until every part of me has been scrubbed twice in steaming hot water.

    But the subsequent showers, are in the region of 5 minutes, with lukewarm, or cold water (after starting with hot for a few moments, to get the lather going).

    And did I mention that my love of potions, soaps, unguents, and lotions, is equal if not surpassing that of my love of gadgets?

    Ask Renato.

    As a veteran of many a Kiehl's Body Lotion purchasing campaign for me, he can corroborate.

    I love me some moisturiser.

    P.S.: Why, how many do you have? 2?

    Remember, you live in a cold climate (in Britain, I didn't trouble with 5 showers a day, mostly because the hot water was often off).

    I live in a climate where 84F is a year-round temperature.

    I get stickier. You don't. Sue me!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 09, 01:38:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria:
    The North Carolina climate is not "cold" by my Wisconsin standards. It gets right sticky here for several months each year.

    I have about one-a-day.

    I think you're training for that scrubbing-in surgical rotation.

    As a lawyer, I'd be able to sue you, but I don't have a colorable claim. There's no relief for the Victoria-sticky-wicket-thicket.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sun Apr 09, 01:54:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Victoria:
    The North Carolina climate is not "cold" by my Wisconsin standards. It gets right sticky here for several months each year.


    I froze my buns off at Hilton Head, missy. If it's cold enough for my British bones, it's cold right enough!

    I have about one-a-day.

    That's my dad. He has one-a-day, and seems to flourish.

    I inherited my squeaky clean temperament from my mother.

    Germans have an obsession with showering, for whatever reason.

    I think you're training for that scrubbing-in surgical rotation.

    Okay, we can go with that.

    Although you would've scored higher in the tease-o-metre if you had alluded to the "douche".

    As a lawyer, I'd be able to sue you, but I don't have a colorable claim.

    Colourable claim? Explain oh great legal brain of the late twenthieth and indeed, early twenty-first century?

    There's no relief for the Victoria-sticky-wicket-thicket.

    Please don't stare at my shrub, Ruth Anne.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Apr 09, 06:24:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I never thought I would say this, but you and Homer Simpson now have something in common.:)

    The only problem with buying it at the store is the lack of free bonus items. How can you not appreciate a lifetime supply of sponge mops for free?

    Why not just use Tilex? Doesn't it do the same thing, just spray and forget?

    That popcorn maker looks tempting, might be worth a trip to WS to beat the munchies.

    By Blogger Renato, at Sun Apr 09, 08:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Does anyone have those Ronco knives? I must have seen that informerical 25 times this winter while looking for excuses not to go to bed.

    By Blogger Jim, at Sun Apr 09, 11:55:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I never thought I would say this, but you and Homer Simpson now have something in common.:)

    What are you talking about?? -- my wife has blue hair.

    The only problem with buying it at the store is the lack of free bonus items. How can you not appreciate a lifetime supply of sponge mops for free?

    Renato, your Socialist Canadian infomercials are much more generous than ours.

    The most I've ever seen are, "act now, and we'll throw a pair of Oxyclean gloves for free!".

    Although I often wonder just how those people break even, since a lot of their freebies ARE rather generous -- and just 19.99!

    Why not just use Tilex? Doesn't it do the same thing, just spray and forget?

    You completely misunderstand the purpose of women, Renato.

    We're like walking Rube Goldberg inventions.

    We take the simplest task, and make it very very difficult, the better to windowshop.

    That popcorn maker looks tempting, might be worth a trip to WS to beat the munchies.

    Since when did you become a hippie lettuce aficionado??

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 10, 03:23:00 am GMT-4  

  • Does anyone have those Ronco knives? I must have seen that informerical 25 times this winter while looking for excuses not to go to bed.

    Jeeem! Is that you, papi? Happy Passover, if yes. :)

    If not, hey alternate Jim! ;)

    And yes, I have seen those ginzu knives.

    As someone who has just bought a professional set of German knives, I fear I will have to mortgage my home to afford the ginzu knives now.

    How about the Ron Popeil grill?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 10, 03:25:00 am GMT-4  

  • Yes veeb it is me. Amazing how my interest in spending time on your blog increases when I'm supposed to be working on my thesis :)

    On the Ronco informercial they compare the price of their knives to an equivalent set of German knives...the German knives cost $844, while the Ronco knives are just 3 easy payments of $13.33. So you got robbed.

    Ron Popeil is an Illinois alum.

    By Blogger Jim, at Mon Apr 10, 03:39:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Re: Oxyclean
    It does work as a laundry "booster" helping to get out stains. It really works to get out most organic-based stains from things like carpet or cloth, although it can lighten some areas. If your pup has a really unfortunate accident, would you prefer a colored ring or a slightly lighter spot in the carpet? Like Simple Green, good stuff to have around.
    Re: Popcorn
    "Air poppers" were a big thing thirty years ago. With a little practice, I think you get much better results by placing a couple of tablespoons of canola oil in the bottom of a dutch oven, heating it over medium-high heat, but not until smoking, then placing a slightly thicker than single layer of good quality popcorn in the oil, covering, and shaking until popping sounds diminish.

    By Blogger mdmnm, at Tue Apr 18, 02:21:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Pet Groom Pro Available at
    http://www.storesonline.com/site/1016562/product/PPPETGROOM-12

    By Blogger AsSeenOnTvLand Webmaster, at Tue May 23, 03:57:00 pm GMT-4  

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