Have you or anyone in your household actually ordered something from a TV advert/infomercial?

“It’s a pillow! It’s a pet! It’s a pillow pet!”

When someone says “infomercial” I typically think of late night television but I see shorter, minute-long commercials for random shit available for order all throughout the day. I tend to ignore the commercials but of course there have got to be people out there who actually order the crap that’s advertised on television.

“Anyone in your household” is defined as someone who lives or lived with you at the time that they ordered something.

If you or someone in your household ordered something from an infomercial, what was it? Was the buyer satisfied with whatever he or she purchased? Are you a regular television shopper?

I’ve only done it with that computer professor guy, and I did it specifically knowing I would return it. Then I tried the same thing with the AOL disk in the mail–bad idea.

Usually, if I want to buy something I see advertised like that, I wait until it shows up in the “As Seen on TV” aisle of Walmart. If it’s any good, it will show up there, or will be duplicated by someone else.

I haven’t actually bought anything with an “As Seen On TV” sticker before but if I wanted something I saw on an infomercial I’d wait for it to appear in a brick and mortar store, too.

I know you knew what I was talking about, BigT, but just in case anyone gets confused- I’m not asking about things you’ve bought that were advertised on TV. I’m asking about times that you’ve actually ordered something from an infomercial or the like.

I’ve ordered music collections from TV commercials that were not carried in stores, although these days I think you can get them online. Anything else I wait to see if it shows up in a store.

I ordered a few record albums back in the day, long before there was such thing as the Internet.

We first ordered Kaboom! because Billy Mays told us to. We still keep it, and OxyClean and OrangeGlo on hand at all times.

I ordered the beachbody workout and sheer cover makeup. Both were pretty good but I didn’t like the monthly paid clubs so I cancelled or opted out.


I worked with Kevin Trudeau for a couple of years. I was a studio engineer at Nightingale-Conant during the late 80’s until I got shit-canned 13 years ago. I recorded Mega Math and Mega Speed Reading. I condensed Mega Memory from 6 a hour program to a 2 hour program. In order to do that, I had to get Trudeau’s OK for the edits, as stipulated in his contract. I had to work through his attorney, because he was in the Federal pen for credit card fraud. I recorded the training tapes for the Nutrition for Life multi-level marketing scheme he was involved with.

I was the low man on the totem pole at Nightingale, and Kevin Trudeau was part of the shit detail I had to deal with.

He told me one day, just as an aside, “I spend most of my time in court with lawyers.”

The speed reading program with Howard Berg was really bad. This was in the day they were publishing 6 cassette programs. Side 12 was Kevin pitching his other products. The program needed a lot of editing, but I was told to push it through fast, and skip the editing. Some distribution company heard it and refused to sell it the way it was, so I was told to re-edit.
There was time to do it over, but not time to do it right in the first place.

When I joined Nightingale-Conant in 1987, there were about 250 employees. It was a well respected motivational and sales training tape company, the best. I was proud of the stuff I worked on, and I learned a lot.
When Trudeau got out of the pen, he and his cellmate Jules got involved in Nutrition for Life, an Amway-style pyramid scheme scam, and we produced the tapes they sold.
Not we, I. I recorded him in Studio A for 2 or 3 years, i don’t remember many details. Jules did a Yoda impression that he thought was hilarious. I had to record this crap, it was my day job. Trudeau did TV infomercials with Danny Bonnaduce about some health products around that time. Nightingale housed the Trudeau Marketing Group in the building for a while, and the morale slid downhill.
People were laid off from Nightingale in a few waves. Mike, Rose, Roger, Steve, and many others. When I was laid off in March of 1997, they fired 50 people that day. The personnel director had a sign on his desk that could be moved around to say, “Have a nice day,” or " Take a hike."

I took a hike. I’m still pissed off and bummed. It was a good company, and buying into Trudeau’s bullshit cost them their reputation and a lot of jobs, mine among them. I think there are about 75 people working there now. Trudreau is long gone from Nightingale, and they don’t even sell his stuff anymore. He does that on his own.

Before you buy from Kevin Trudeau, read on the internet about the complaints against him.
I’m not making this shit up. Thanks for letting me rant

I voted “yes, multiple times,” which makes it sound more often which it really has been. Perhaps two or three times in my life.

One was in the mid 1980s, right after the video game industry crash. Some mail order company got a bunch of remaindered games from lower-end publishers like Data Age, Games by Apollo, and US Games, and advertised a bundle of Atari 2600 cartridges for the cost of a single new game, like $29.95 for 6 cartridges or something. Even given the clearance price wars on Atari games going on in retail stores at the time, it was a good deal, and I still have the games in my collection.

Another was in the 1990s, and again video-game related; Philips had just taken a bath on their failed CD-i platform, and in a last-ditch effort began airing half-hour infomercials advertising the system. I’d been picking up clearance titles for the system over the years and had amassed a library of 40 or so titles, while hoping to find the system for cheaper than the ridiculous in-store cost (IIRC, around $600). The infomercial cost was far below store costs, and I had disposable income at the time, so I bit.

I bought my knives off an infomercial. I had just spent way too long struggling to cut a couple sweet potatoes and I was frustrated and annoyed as I went to take a break and smoke. I sat in front of the TV and there just happened to be an infomercial for the knives. Just as I sat down, the guy on the TV cut through a sweet potato with no problem. I immediately called and ordered them. I have not regretted it once. I love my knives.

Wow. 9 to 8. So far there are more people who have ordered things off of TV ads than there are who haven’t. Maybe it has something to do with my posting the thread late at night… :wink:

It’s funny you should mention that. In spite of my insomnia and my habit of watching late night infomercials, the one time I did buy from one was right in the middle of the day.

We just bought a NewWave Oven which they sell on infomercials. I actually posted a GQ question about them, to ask if anyone here had one and could give a testimonial, but no one could. But my local news consumer segment did a test on them last week and rated them as worthwhile, so I ordered.

I have a few other “as seen on TV” products, but all were purchased at a lower price (and no S&H) on the “as seen on TV” aisle in my local store. Some are worthwhile: OxyClean, as mentioned above. Some are not: TurboSnake drain snakes.

Yep, bought a few things over the years off of infomercials. Some have seen almost daily use, and some have been complete disappointments.

The good:The perfect brownie pan. This thing gets almost daily use out of me. I use it for corn bread, brownies, meat loaf, cakes, etc. The commercials do make it seem larger than it was, but still worth the $20 I paid for it.
The magic bullet. Something else that gets used almost daily. There’s nothing amazing about it, it’s just a slimmed down blender, but it’s perfect for a single person. I use it for crushing ice, making chocolate mousse, mixing tuna or chicken salad, scrambling eggs, making salsa, etc. Yea, I could do a lot of that by hand, but it’s a godsend on days when my joints swell. Plus, it’s lasted longer than any other blender I’ve bought, from ones costing $20, to ones costing $150. I’ve had this thing since they first started advertising them.

My sobakawa cloud pillow You’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers before I give it up. Well worth the $20 I paid for it, many times over. I haven’t woke up with a stiff neck since I started using it.

The bad:
The Betty Crocker bake’n’fill cake pans. A lot smaller than advertised on tv, the protective coating flaked off the first time I tried to use it, and it was certainly not non-stick like advertised, even with using a baking spray. Worst $30 I ever spent.

My wife bought not one, but TWO “Quick Cookers”. They were never used, as of course they weren’t as easy to use as portrayed. They may still be in the basement somewhere…

Once. I bought 2 sets of “SmartWare,” which is silicone bakeware. I kept one and gave the other to my brother and his wife. I use them. They work as advertised.

However, I’ve owned a bunch of Ronco shit but didn’t buy them from the TV. Had a roommate who liked to go to yard sales and we’d pick up stuff for a few bucks. Had the dehydrator, the Showtime rotisserie, the Food Saver, maybe some other ones. They worked decently, but I wouldn’t have paid full price for them. Our best pickup ever was the “Mr. Beer” set we got for $1. I still have it.

Will you let us know what you think? I’ve been thinking of getting one myself.

I bought one of those Time/Life CD collections, the folk one, years ago. Listen to it all the time still.

I have a Fasta Pasta Cooker, which is advertised as being AS SEEN ON TV!

That said, I didn’t buy it because of a commercial (I actually didn’t have a TV at the time), but rather because it was recommended by a friend of mine who was also living in the dorms. Basically it’s a plastic container that you can microwave spaghetti in. Works pretty decently too. Comes with a strainer in the lid. That thing was a lifesaver in tech school when I sometimes just didn’t want to eat chow hall food every day.

God, my dad buys a lot of this shit. I no longer live at home, and he’s cut down substancially, but here are some of the crazy things he’s bought

-A bling-bling watch. Fake pearls, fake diamonds, huge face, looks like something out of a rap music video. What’s crazier is he has some legitimately nice watches that cost thousands of dollars. We made fun of him for it; I haven’t seen him wear it since.
-A roaster/cooker/infrared heat small oven thing. This thing is sitting in my room back home, waiting to be donated. Cost over $100, IIRC. Groan.
-Flashlights. Some of them were good, most of them were terrible. It think he had a collection of more than 2 dozen over the years. Some of them were ENORMOUS, like the size of a wall clock. He would always talk about the candela ratings.

My uncle buys collections of CD’s. Also groan.

That oxy wash stuff though is the shit.

My wife bought one of those ab machines. Neither one of us used it long enough to know if it worked. It felt like it was working though.