Wednesday, June 2, 2010

As Seen on TV

RO: I guess I have a video theme going..
Back in the day, I used to buy and sell videos many of which carried that all-important sticker, As Seen on Television. Most of them were programs which ran on public television (I only mention that to remind myself some of them were classy), but I was also involved with such memorable titles as Daytime's Greatest Weddings, Puppy Love and Bad Golf Made Easier.

It was no surprise then that I stayed away from anything which bore the label As Seen On TV! I resisted the Thighmaster, The Juice Man, the bamboo steamers and the gizmos that shrink wrap your clothing and freeze dry your food - quite possibly at the same time.

ASOTV was anathema to me. I had a pretty long run. Until this year.

I've been on tour for seven weeks and in that time I have been to countless Walgreens all over the country. It's my go-to place for cereal, Zone bars, diet red bull, flip-flops or anything else I forgot or suddenly decide I can't live without. And in each store there has been a shrine to an item called the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter.

For those who aren't familiar with TTTP, it's a plastic tube you put a tomato plant in, fill with soil and hang upside down. My excuse for plunking down ten dollars for this thing is that I have very little sun in my garden, but do have a spot on my deck where I thought it might work.

Seven days in, the jury is still out. I look at it every day as if I expect the vines to grow right before my eyes like Jack and the Beanstalk. It looks ridiculous and the plant seems to want to grow in the more traditional way, but I'm a gardener. We're optimistic. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's bought something I saw on television.

ROBERTA: Ro, I have never bought anything "as seen on TV" but I must say it's dangerous to watch those infomercials. Everything, I mean everything, looks irresistible. And they so often give you an extra if you buy the first! I just try not to look.

HANK: Roberta, they just double the price of the first one, of course. But you know that.

ROBERTA: As for the tomatoes, I've heard people have success with that upside down model. And if you don't, I've planted a ton in my garden so we'll share.

HALLIE: I have never bought anything "as seen on TV" either, but I sure know a lot of people who bought 'snuggies.' I mean, blankets with arm holes? And Chia pets. Can you say: "Dumb."

I always wanted one those juicers.

RHYS: I have learned that I should never lie in bed and watch TV in the early mornings or late at night. I have bought a couple of pieces of not-so-stellar jewelry from the Jewelry Channel, and I once, to my shame, bought a device to make my face look young and radiant again. It sends an electric current to stimulate the cells. Well, it's not bad, I guess, but I still don't look young and radiant. However my daughter swears by the hair thingie that rotates and straightens etc.

RO: I think you look pretty radiant...what was it called?
ASOTV used to mean only available through direct marketing but now thoseitems are everywhere so even if you resist the late night urge to buy Bumpits, you can get them elsewhere. Pretty scary. I think we can blame Ron Popeil for all this. Remember him?...he sold a fishing rod during the late night remnant space on television.

JAN: I almost ordered a steam floor cleaner from HOme Shopping Network, but Bill was laughing at me, so I didn't. But I did research them, after that and wound up buying one (a different brand) that was on sale when Linens and Things was going out of business. And its awesome. I use it A LOT and it really cleans carpets and floors easily.

AND I spent $600 on orthodics with some special sports podiatrist who supposedly takes care of the Patriots feet and they didn't work. PLUS, they would only fit in one ugly brand of unusually wide sneakers. My physical therapist told me to buy the $19.99 (everything on TV is $19.99) orthodics AS SEEN ON TV. And they stopped my hip pain and FIT in every shoe. I know have three pairs, Bill has two pairs and my daughter has a pair.

HANK: What's so amazing, and even instructive, is that they can make ANYTHING sound wonderful, if you listen long enough. That thing for your hair--a Topsy Tail? I mean--that wouldn't even work in my hair, and I'm thinkin'--well, maybe. And the pan that's designed so you don't have to cut the brownies? Who make brownies? And if you do, what's so hard aobut cutting them?

Oh, I just remembered. Sigh. I DID buy the plastic tupperware-like containers in a lazy-susan with the tops that all fit all the bottoms. It's great! (But I bought it at the drugstore, not from tv. Does that still count?)

RO: Yes it counts. you are not absolved! I think the brownie thing is shaped like that so that there are more burnt edges which I understand are a delicacy ;-)

Where do all the tops go to those that another blog?

HANK: Yes, Ro, the Pocket Fisherman! And Ginsu Knives. And tell me if the tomato thing works.


  1. We're still waiting to see if the Topsy Turvy works. So far, we have a couple of vines growing out the bottom, which we consider a good sign. And, who knows? Maybe we'd have tomatoes by now if I remembered to water the tomato plants on a daily basis. Oops...

  2. Hank--I have the same tupperware-type spinny thing. Love it. :-)

  3. I think the black top and plastic bag heat up in the sun..that's why you have to water it so often. It's cracking me up though. I had to move it to another spot on my deck so that no one could see it form my driveway.

  4. Yeah, Ro, because people will keep stopping by your house, asking if it works! (You can give them bookmarks, at least, if they do...)

  5. ...I'm moving it to the foot of the driveway.