Infomercial Products: Seize the “Buy Now”

Ladies and gentlemen, do you scrub, scrape, and scour baked-on crud on cookware; cry over gallons of spilled milk; fall off your ladder when cleaning gutters; and torture yourself to get a firmer fanny? Wish there were a better way?

Then stay up to find the Must Have Product on late night TV? (Why you staying up that late watching TV anyway?)

Let us understand the psychology behind infomercials and understand how they mesmerize you and have you maxing out your credit card:

  • Infomercials are scripted to pump up dopamine in your brain [Buy, Buy, Buy]
  • Infomecials take you on a psychological roller-coaster ride – They tell you about a problem you never had, follow it with an fantastic solution, then a a series of ever more amazing product benefits, bonuses, and giveaways, all leading to the thrilling plunge of an unbelievable low price. And they make you buy in the next few minutes because it only take 5 to 6 minutes for your dopamine levels to drop. It’s all about the psychology of selling.
  • The magic of TV and film editing and shooting make anything look good – they can make a so-so product look Amazing! Actually abot half of the infomercial products deliver on their promise, 30 percent still deliver but are too expensive, and the rest are Worthless!

Have you been suckered by an infomercial product? Asking yourself when the product arrives, “What the heck did I just buy?”

Lets look at a few infomercials that I just don’t get (oh, there are a bunch more… but here are a few good ones)

The Shake Weight
Designed specifically for women to tone up. Not bulk. No batteries Needed for this baby! Sexy, lean arms in minutes!

Are you serious? Click on the picture to see the video (forward to about half way on the video) Ya, it looks like something else to me. Wouldn’t be caught using this weight!

My Secret Hair Enhancer
Stop being self conscious about your hair. My Secret Hair Enhancer is an easy to use aerosol spray that was created to solve the condition of thinning hair for both men and women.

Okay, now I know hair thinning or loss is not a subject to joke about. But the product is! If you are going bald, men… shave it or wear a cap. Neatly trim the hair you do have. The tips listed are much more accepted by a woman then a spray product that is liable to drip when you sweat under the warming sun.

EZ Cracker
This EZ Cracker will crack eggs, separate egg whites & strip shells from hard boiled eggs in seconds… no mess no fuss!

This big gadget…really? It wouldn’t even fit in my kitchen drawer! Did your mother teach you nothing? Did your mother never teach you to gently toss the yoke between the shells letting the egg whites pour to the cup beneath? Don’t you know you can put baking soda in your gently boiling water and peel the egg without actually ‘peeling’ it? [See Tim Ferris perform this amazing task!]

Tip: be careful of an infomercial’s low price. The rest of the cost could be hidden in the shipping charges.

How to Seize the “Buy Now”

In fact, before you buy any infomercial product, follow these steps:

Pause 10 minutes before buying
By then, you impulse-shopping dopamine levels should calmed down. [you can easily find a knock off, find the product online somewhere, or wait until it shows up in your drugstore]

Ask, “Would I buy this with cash?”
Most of you would not pay cash. That nifty little credit card candy-coats the fact that your spending money [on that?!]

Consider other solutions
EZ cracker versus learning the basics of cooking from a friend or family member

Listen for true “value” clues
When the announcer tells you it’s “a $40 value,” then says he’ll give you two for one, that means the value is $20-and probably less [thinking you could pick up same fabulous product at the swap meet for much less]

Calculate the real price
Remember the tip about watching the shipping costs. Companies are legally allowed to add additional shipping & handling cost, as they feel needed. Be sure to add the charges to the product price to see what you are really paying.

Say no to upselling
When they offer you the nifty gadgets for the fabulous product you are buying, say “NO”! Chances are, they will sit unused in your cabinet to be found 20 years later opting for a garage sale.

Avoid shipping and handling fees
Wait until you see the product, like Snuggies, show up in your local drug store with the “As seen on TV” sicker. [I am ashamed to admit, I bought my daughter that must-have-snuggie for Christmas - and she no longer uses it - wasted money]

Okay, so hilarious infomercial products. But do you have an infomercial product you actually enjoy?

22 thoughts on “Infomercial Products: Seize the “Buy Now”

  1. Forest

    Ha ha, “get a firmer fanny” means something different to English readers like me!

    Great tips Christine, luckily I have NEVER been tempted from an infomercial. I do preach about P90X and Insanity but have never seen the infomercials for them and was recommended both by a friend I trust :).

    Reply
    1. Christine | Money Funk

      I will need to look that term up later. *sorry to my English readers if its meaning is fowl* ;)

      See, if it works… its all good. I do hear a lot of good about the P90X. I really should try it. My body could use a good shaping up.

      My husband and daughter were trying to get me to buy the rel=”nofollow”> pancake puff pan. Really? I think not. It would build dust in my cupboard.

      Reply
      1. Forest

        Ha ha, I just grabbed six pancake puff pans, my cupboards are looking a little empty ;).

        Well in England we call a Fanny Pack a Bum Bag…. If it was called a Fanny Pack in England you would think it would be worn on the front of the body not the back.

        In USA there was a kind of travel belt with little pockets in the back. It was called Fanny Flaps…. Needless to say that could not be marketed in UK as it means something very rude!! I think you may understand it’s meaning now :)

        Reply
  2. Aaron @ Clarifinancial

    The funniest ones to me (because I cook) are the knives they show. The “bad” knife is squashed straight down on the tomato. The “good” knife that can cut through a penny and still slice through a tomato uses an angled stroking motion.

    Watch a real chef like a sushi chef and you’ll notice they never go straight down with the knife; it’s always side to side. Yes, they also use sharp knives, but with a cheap knife sharpener, you know have a newly sharpened set of knives!

    You can do everything with a french knife (sometimes called a chef’s knife), a paring knife, and a bread knife (or some similar long serrated blade). Kitchen shears can be really helpful too.

    Reply
    1. Christine | Money Funk

      Ya, I was reading somewhere else about little tricks they do for the commericals. And that is right, who cuts straight down on food? LOL.

      I do love my santoku knife and my pairing knife – cuts thru anything (but I still need to sharpen it). ;)

      Have you seen that commercial where the lady has major teased hair and she is trying to put a comb thru it? Like whose hair is that awefully messy and ratty. Eww! Infomercials… they make a problem seem monumentous. too funy!

      I did buy my husband the Pro Caulk – he used it once and was biatchin at how the caulk does NOT work that smoothly. We ended up with a couple big gob spots in the shower tub.

      Reply
    2. Aury (Thunderdrake)

      Haha. I think I remember seeing something along those likes. I can’t remember the name of the company. Vanco? But it slips my mind…

      Funny how it mentions stainless steel in such a glamorous manner. The memories are quite vague, but I remember a shef trying to cut a block of concrete with it as well XD

      I tuned into the idiot box last night after a 3 month non-watching period. And it only took 45 minutes for me to remember why I don’t watch the idiot box anymore :P

      Reply
  3. Moon Hussain

    This is entertaining. That toner weight for women? That isn’t even right!!! We have laughed so hard at that “infomercial” so many times… like you said, I’d never be caught with that.

    I love how they exaggerate a problem as well, like you’re some moron. Like cracking an egg will be shown as being too messy with shells in the bowl.

    They’re only entertaining to me. I don’t buy products from these infomercials.

    Reply
  4. youngandthrifty

    LOL at first when I was scrolling down your page, I saw the hair loss product and thought… “wow… Christine is putting these ads on her page??” and then realized it was part of your post =)

    Infomercials are fun to watch. What about the “ShamWOW” or the “Slap Chop”? =)

    Reply
    1. Aaron @ Clarifinancial

      The Slap Chop! My favorite part of that commercial happens right before he shows you how to create a tasty ice cream topping. LOL One day I kept rewinding it over and over and had my wife in stitches!

      Reply
    2. Christine | Money Funk

      I had to look up what a Slap Chop was. (and no, I would not advert Spray on Hair – LOL). My mother had something similar to the Slap Chop, but this was back in the 70s or early 80s. And it worked great for chopping onions.

      Reply
      1. Rainy-Day Saver

        I bought a pre-Slap Chop gadget wayyyy before I ever heard of the new one. It actually DOES work, and it only cost $10 (plus I had a Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon!). Otherwise, I’ve never fallen for infomercials. My husband? I see him get a twinkle in his eye every once in a while after a commercial for an as-seen-on-TV product now and then!

        Reply
  5. Darren

    Luckily, I’ve never fallen for an informercial and bought from them.

    Most are a joke, although I’ve tried parts of P90X, and that IS a real challenge.

    Interestingly, if you do want to try one, a lot of malls have an “As Seen On TV” store now which sells a bunch of infomerical products. You can save on shipping costs this way.

    If you bought on TV and returned the item, you’d still lose because the shipping charges aren’t usually refunded.

    Reply
    1. Christine | Money Funk

      Come to think about it… I remember all those abdominal exercise gadgets they used to come out with. Or the Thigh Master comes to mind. LOL. But my first memory and the product that revolutionized infomercial products… the Ginsu knife. And the company is still selling those things like hot cakes.

      My daughter wanted some wax bendy craft thing from an infomercial until she saw it in person and said… ‘this sucks’. LOL. Kids.

      Reply
  6. Dr Dean

    Your comments/innuendo about the weight video, brought to mind a Sex and the City episode-”that I just heard about,but never watched!”

    Can’t wait to share it with my wife, “the video, I mean!”
    LOL!

    Reply
  7. Jenna

    Never bought anything from an infomercial. But I am tempted to try the baking soda and blowing egg trick next time I make hard boiled eggs. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Financial Samurai

    Gotta admit, 12 years ago I spent $200 bucks on some sports cards! Meanwhile, my lady bought RonCo’s “Set it and forget it” rotiserrie thingy! lol.

    NEVER AGAIN!

    Reply
  9. savvysavingbytes

    Have never bought any of those flim flam products, nor watched an infomercial from beginning to end. While surfing I catch pieces of them though. Can’t believe people are still buying that spray on hair goop. Can’t imagine it’s too attractive if caught in the rain, not to mention the stuff must feel like steel wool to the touch.

    Reply
  10. Katie

    Money Funk-

    I need to forward this to my mom! She always is the person who thinks that whatever she sees on TV works. The Shake Weight was the last thing that she bought and literally it cracks me up everytime I see her using it. Whoever thought of this idea was perverted to even think of something like this haha!

    Thanks for this! I will be forwarding this to her right now! :)

    Reply
  11. The Saved Quarter

    I was fascinated by the shampoo Wen and bought the kit online for way, way less than the TV asking price. I sold the extra stuff that came with it individually on E-Bay and made back my money and then some. I may buy it again just to resell on E-Bay, since the product didn’t do all that much for my hair.

    Actually, I made a knock-off version of it to compare in a Scratch vs. Store Bought piece on my blog. I figured out how much it would cost to make from scratch and determined that they’re marking it up about 1500%. Crazy! You can see my post about it here: http://thesavedquarter.com/2010/05/06/scratch-store-bought-wen-part-1/

    Reply

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