Why is it that we can hear that promise again and again for different products, yet we still perk our ears up to find out what it is that is being advertised and if it really will change our life? We all want the magic cure to the inconveniences we face in life but does that really exist, and if it does, how much is it worth?
Enter the world of salesmen and “As Seen on TV” products. You’ve seen the commercials: “Have you ever had this happen to you? (insert annoying occurrence here) Well, then you need (insert product being sold). And you can get it for only $19.95!” (and why, exactly, are all those products $19.95?)
What this kind of advertising does is point out a tiny inconvenience that you never even realized before, but now want fixed. I never realized the difficulty I had putting up pictures on the wall until I saw the ad for the Hercules Hooks. They made it look so easy and convenient! I’m ashamed to say that I ordered those Hercules Hooks and ended up paying $10 in shipping for them in addition to the sales price. I’m even more ashamed to say (but not really surprised) that they are sitting in a drawer somewhere in my house unused because they didn’t work well.
It’s all advertising. They tell you why you need the product and it if they convince you it doesn’t seem to matter how much it costs because “it’s so worth it.” And this isn’t only for “As Seen On TV” products either (although they seem to be the pinnacle of the whole epidemic). The other night I went to an at home demonstration for a company that sells kitchen tools and accessories. This is something I wanted to go to because I wanted to purchase a few of their products, so I wasn’t roped into it by any means.
The consultant was very nice and chipper and actually did a pretty good job on selling the items by showing how handy they were while cooking a meal. I had to laugh at the concept of the whole thing though. At one point the product being described was a pitcher that had a built in mixer and the selling point was that it was a lot easier to use than stirring manually with your hand and spilling juice all over the counter. This made me chuckle a little bit because a) I’ve never spilled juice all over the counter while mixing it and b) stirring juice with a spoon isn’t very difficult. Now granted, I hardly ever make juice so spending $30 on a product like this wouldn’t make sense for me. But even if I did make juice a lot, I think I would save the $30 and consider it payment for the work of manually stirring my juice. I’ve never really thought about all the “work” that goes into stirring juice until that night.
Also on display was a really nice knife that apparently made cutting vegetables and different things extremely easy. We were told that the professional chefs on TV only looked like they were so good at chopping because they had a nice knife and I too could look like a TV chef if I bought this $70 knife. I’m sure that was a wonderful knife, but no knife, or any other item of combination thereof, will make me look like a TV chef. Cooking’s not really my thing and I’m sure I wouldn’t do that knife justice.
There were many other products described that night that promised to make cooking simpler, easier and more convenient. Now I don’t doubt that those products would do that and I did actually end up purchasing a few lower priced items, but I wouldn’t consider most cooking conveniences worth spending the money they were charging for some of these items. This has a lot to do with my lack of passion for being in the kitchen and cooking, but it also has to do with the fact that I’m willing to deal with inconveniences to save money.
You can’t get rid of inconveniences in life and they have to be dealt with. Cleaning my house is pretty inconvenient but I’d rather do it myself and save the expense of hiring a maid. I can clean my house and invest the would-be maid’s salary. Maybe it’s my frugal nature or my passion for sacrificing and saving and investing more early on in life, but there are just some inconveniences I’m willing to deal with in life.
So the next time a product promises to change your life, step back a minute and do a true evaluation before getting suckered in. There is a good chance that, even with all the promises and the $19.95 price, it’s not going to.