Sunday, November 21, 2010

From TV (or Internet) to Yard Sale in Six Months or Less

Perhaps you’ve seen them--the GT Express, the Shake Weight, the Shark Steam Cleaner, Bullet Blender, the microwavable Pasta Pot, and the granddaddies of them all: the latest i-Gadgets--that are being hawked on infomercial TV or on internet ads, and the very thought of these items actually drawing interest has me irked.

The marketing industry, and the Ronco-type boys specifically, are in the business of want creation, and it seems to be a very filthy-lucre-ative one, judging by the number of hapless idiots recommending these things.

They develop an object or service you really don't need, nor will in a thousand years, then devise an ad scheme that makes you think you'll die without these things, because here's what it'll do for you and yours—supposedly save time or money for you.

With a little pre-planning, you can make just about any meal in 15 minutes or less (glamour not included)...meat can thaw overnight in the refrigerator, frozen veggies don't have to stay that way--they, too, can thaw overnight in the fridge. In their thawed state, they cook in very little time, and without tying up precious minutes of your time with constant supervision requirements.

With a little more pre-planning, you can fill an empty gallon jug about 3/4 full of water, put the lid on tightly, the shake that up and down to get the same effect as a Shake Weight.

As for the GT Express: How much time are you able to buy for $39.99 or whatever the cost is (the model without the timer is only $11.97) + shipping? The ads say a meal can be prepared in 15 minutes or less. How often is this thing going to get used before you grow tired of it, and relegate it to your next yard sale? How long will it take you to actually pay off that $39.99 + shipping (now including interest) on the credit card bill? And how much did your last set of pots and pans know, the ones you STILL have and use regularly?

Meanwhile, these one-use devices have been mass-produced in some sweat-shop labor country for about $1.00/apiece, and you are paying all the overhead for the marketing scheme, the shipping, the storage for QVC/HSN, the on-air hawking time, and countless other costs involved for a thing YOU didn't even want until it was paraded in front of you!

Now that you have your very own GT Express or Bullet Blender, guess what? It likely can't go in the dishwasher. It probably has to be cleaned by hand with a certain non-abrasive cleaner and non-stick-cookware scouring pad (additional costs you weren't aware of). And the all-important question: Where do I put it? My pot-and-pan cupboard/under-stove storage area is already FULL, and I have no counter space as it is! Your time saved from cooking has just been transferred to the grocery store searching for that special cleaner and scouring pad, not to mention additional time at the sink.

Three months later, while shopping through your local Target or Wal-Mart store, you spot the very same device for about half what you dutifully sent in to the marketing highway robbers...and then, it hits you.

Six months later, while browsing yard sales, you notice lots of these devices on tables, along with other unwanted or broken-down appliances...priced at a mere .50 to $1.00. You think to yourself, "If they didn't want this, why did they buy it? Why is it out HERE? Boy, this didn’t take long--there must be something wrong with it." The yard sale hosts are then off to the NEXT big thing in marketing highway robbery, and you're standing there holding the wreckage of wants gone awry.

See something on TV or an internet ad and think you might want it? Wait six months and pick it up at a yard sale or thrift store.


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