One of the great things about watching the higher end cable channels is the commercials for "As Seen on TV!" products.
You know the ones - no matter what it is, it sells for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
(Except for the Ionic Breeze air filter thingy, and the Oreck vacuum, but we don't move in the rarified circles that can afford such luxuries. It's strictly twenty bucks at a time around here.)
(Except when we can find it for cheaper at the Dollar store.)
I was watching "History Traveller" on the History International channel on the off chance that my father would be one of the experts interviewed for the show (not as remote a chance as it might sound; he's written an awful lot of books on an awful lot of things, and pops up unexpectedly every now and then), and while the show itself was quite interesting (British guns and how the British used them to become evil conquering bastards), the ads in between exercised their own special allure. There are huge numbers of people out there who have had a great idea and want very badly to sell it to you - for only $20 (+s&h).
Since the cable channels that nobody except me (and the guy at the retirement home who was in Korea and always gets to the remote first) ever watches have oodles of cheap advertising time, you tend to see a lot of ads for the same product, too.
(Back to the show for a second; did you know that the cartridges for the Martin-Henry rifle were made by the orphans of British soldiers? Neither did I. We really were just amazingly good at the heartless conquering bastard thing in the 19th century; I wonder what the hell went wrong.)
But the ads. I love the wide range of things for sale, though I have to watch for several hours to see them; while the sellers have learned to buy large chunks of advertising time, they haven't worked out that they should spread out the ads so you don't see three of them in a row (this has happened on more than one occasion), but I think some of the advertising technique could be polished a bit.
For instance - the battery-less flashlight. The makers of this handy little item (we keep ours in the truck) seem to have decided that the best way to push their product onto the viewing public (all three of us that watch the History International channel) is to show how useful it would be to a family so stupid they cannot manage to keep a single working flashlight in the house.
- Not to mention that it's the kind of house where scented candles are used liberally as decorating accents - but they probably don't know where the matches are, either.
AND WHO KEEPS DEAD BATTERIES? HUH? WHO IS SO FREAKIN' BRAIN-DEAD THAT INSTEAD OF THROWING THE DAMN THINGS AWAY (or recycling them - think green, people!), THEY ACTUALLY PUT THEM BACK IN THE DRAWER???
*cough* Sorry. Maybe they think the battery fairy will come in the night and replace them with shiny new ones that work.
Anyway, Dorky McBraindead and his family are out of flashlights and batteries, so the flashlight that doesn't need batteries should be perfect for them, right?
Well, that's what the ad suggests, but I'm fairly certain that the McBraindeads are not technically smart enough to know how to shake the damn thing to get it working. They'd probably smack it against a table, or something.
Seriously, even if they managed to make the mental connection between all the decorator candles and the possibility of light, these people look like they would have serious problems working out how to strike the match.
In fact, I forsee cannibalism in their future, probably by day two of no power - assuming that they can work out which drawer holds the steak knives.
Me? I didn't order it. I found it for $10 cheaper, with free shipping and handling.
I know how to light a match, too.
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.