Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Infomercials

I love infomercials. They make me smile. They make me want things I would never want in a store. It's amazing what an hour of advertising will do to a product.

The first time I bought something from an infomercial, I was about 8 or 10 years old. I saved up all my money for $19.99 (plus shipping and handeling) for BEAD MAGIC. That's right, beads in my hair, MAGIC. Both my sister and I wanted it so bad, we both saved up for it and got it. I remember calling in for it, scared to death they would know I wasn't over 18 ("You must be 18 or over to call") and felt so stealth that I tricked them.

Recently I've been searching for some dance-exercise videos so I wouldn't have to dread the treadmill every morning. I mean, I love SWEATIN' TO THE OLDIES, but after you have all the routines memorized, it gets kind of repetative.

Last Sunday morning, while still on Italy time, I was up early watching, yes, informercials. I saw the perfect dance video, for latin dancing, looked like so much fun, it showed success stories of people losing weight, blah blah blah... I had to have it for only 3 easy payments of $19.99 (a $150 dollar value!! What a STEAL!)

I know it was Sunday, but I had to get it. What if I never saw the commercial again? There was no opportunity for me to just wait until Monday to call or check out their website people, seriously, it had to be done right then.

I jumped on the phone, ordered the DVD's, and was waiting for commercial after commercial on the phone for my summary of payment and when I would be receiving my super awesome latin-dancing videos that were going to slim me down! But commercial after commercial was all I heard, "And for only $70 more, you could receive our extended version of SWING dancing!" (ok, as much as I love swing dancing, this was slightly tempting, not going to lie every ad was. ) "For only $20, you can get our savings book of coupons that could save you up to $50 in gas!! It pays for itself!!!!!" (Another temptation, I might ad. But I figured, I was only breaking the sabbath for what I had wanted, even though the others sounded so good to make me broke.) After about 20 minutes of on-the-phone ads, I decided to hang up, if they didn't send me the package, it's ok I would have saved myself 3 easy payments of $19.99.

A week later it came in the mail, I start dancing, having a ball in my bedroom... until I realize that everything the instructors are doing are totally improv. The backround dancers don't know whats going on. They go so fast that you don't know what to do, you're doing a ball-and-chain, rumba, chumba, mumba, lumba, sumba, all in three dance moves in about 5 seconds and I'm holding my breathe, keeping my abs tight, seeing my face in the mirror turn blue, and then fall flat on my bed. I continue watching the video, I couldn't believe I had spent so much money on these dang DVDs. I would have a better time on the treadmill (I thought I'd never admit to it) watching a dvd from netflix or just turning on the radio and dancing around in my room to my own jams.

Today I called to find out what I needed to do to return it, and I realized what kind of people usually buy from infomercials.

"Due to the high popularity of the core rhythms, our lines are full. To get faster service visit our website at......"
Oh, wait, core rhythms is THIS popular? Maybe I should keep it. Maybe I should still try it out. Maybe I should go online and see how amazing this product is again before I return it...
"Hi, this is Charles. Can I have your order number please?"
"I don't know that, but I can give you the number the previous operator gave me to give to..."
"Yeah, THAT'S the order number."
"Ok... my bad..."
"Ok, what can I do for you?"
"I'd like to return the videos I received yesterday."
"Why?"
"I just don't want them anymore."
"If I gave you 50% off, would you still return them, it would only cost you $35 instead of the initial payment you already paid."

... Wait a second, so if I call back in threatening to return something, you mean I can get it for CHEAPER?? Dude, I wish every one knew this instead of paying for those high price informercials! They just want anything they can get! Another temptation I might add, but I had to stick to my plan... it was a waste of money all around.

"No, I'd like to return it, thank you."
"You are aware that the shipping charge is non-refundable and you will be paying between $25-$30 on returning the DVD's back to us, don't you?"

Last time I paid that much in shipping, I was sending a very large package to my friend in Argentina. And, last time I checked, DVD's qualify for MEDIA MAIL- about $3.

"Yes. What do I need to do to return the DVD's."
"Really? Ok..." (utter and deep shock on his side that someone intelligent saw that his script was beyond bogus enough to not believe a word he was saying.)

Infomercials, we have a love-hate relationship.

1 comment:

  1. great post! I have never ordered from an infomercial. I think you are brave.

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