Infomercials have been around since as long as I can remember, but the products showcased used to be so humorous I couldn’t imagine anyone actually calling to buy the items. Over the years, marketing and products have become more sophisticated and now, as a consumer, I get really enticed by the twenty-two minute commercial I watch.
I have watched infomercials for over twenty years. They used to keep me company in the wee hours of the night when my husband would work closing at a fast food restaurant and he wouldn’t come home until 3:00am. Whether it was the “Flow Bee” hair cutter/vacuum or the Suzanne Sommers wonderful Thigh Master, there were hours of entertainment to watch in the overnight.
Once I had a regular job as a teacher I rarely if ever saw an infomercial. I was too busy sleeping in the nighttime and working during the day. Not until I was home with my first baby did infomercials reenter my life. Using the television to ward off sleep while nursing my child, I would see the most bizarre things being peddled. I asked for one of the Time-Life compilations album sets for Christmas one year and my princely husband came through! At one point, when delirium from lack of sleep set in and, experiencing a dry spell that was tortuous to say the least I even thought the Girls Gone Wild videos were intriguing! Seriously, for $10 I could have owned 3 videos of co-eds, spring breakers, and naughty girls doing sexy things on camera whilst drunk! Surely that would have been a jumpstart to a libido that had gone cold. Fortunately my senses and sex drive returned and I did not have to charge that set to my credit card. But, I was thisclose!
Recently I’ve been using the early morning hours to work out on my elliptical machine in the basement. We have an old television down there hooked up to a VCR. Yes, a VCR. I’ve watched everything from home movies of the last thirty-two years to hits of the 1980s and ‘90s like The Untouchables, Tombstone, For the Boys, and Forrest Gump. These movies are fantastic and I’ve enjoyed watching them all again, but I wanted a change this past week. I tried watching the morning news, and that’s great to see all of the day’s headlines by 5:00am, but news is actually fifteen minutes long and then repeated constantly, and that includes traffic and weather! So, once I’ve seen the daily news, I still have a good fifteen minutes plus to kill on the elliptical. While surfing I found the newest slew of infomercials. Now I want the “Ahh Bra”. I am so easily taken in by the testimonials of the “real women” who are interviewed for their “candid reviews” of the item. If it works for them, I think, why not me? The “Ahh Bra” is made of some space-aged material (nylon and spandex) and is an over-the-head bra that has no closures, adjustable straps or underwires, just this flimsy material that is soft and layerable. The bra, whether for a small-chested woman or a well-endowed one, is supposed to fit perfectly and offer immense support, lift, and comfort. It all looks well and good, and I’m all for comfort and looking good, but I know if I were to pay my $60 (which would get me not one, not two, but three “Ahh Bras” which is considerably less than one foundation at the store that can run over $100) and have the “Ahh Bra” sent to me, I would put the thing on and wind up sporting a “uniboob” – one boob in the middle of my chest that is neither comfortable nor attractive. Upon telling my girlfriend this she started to use her announcer’s voice stating, “It’s Uniboob” like I was a superhero. She went on to say that my superhero uniform would have a large “U” where my single boob would stick out of, protruding to the world. I just can’t, in good conscious, go there. I’ll keep my $60, my underwire, and my two boobs while I try to keep the world safe for democracy and uncomfortable yet attractive shapewear for all.
I may never break down and buy a product from the infomercials, but I’m quite sure I’ll always be enamored by their pull. I am usually compelled to watch, at least a few times, all of these miraculous products that I’ve lived without for a lifetime but now don’t need to. Infomercials may be one sign of the Apocalypse, but I can’t help but sweat it out on my elliptical machine and watch.