23 February 2007

Infomercial Fine Print/That's "Vita-Meata-Vegamin!"

I have long been a watcher of infomercials. I admire the art. No really. It's not easy to motivate people to stop watching television and get on the phone and spend money.

I'm not what you'd call a buyer. Okay, okay, I've ordered two things off infomercials in my entire life. And I've been happy with both. Oh, wait. Three. Happy with all three. Okay... maybe I do have a problem.

But check it out: there must be over 100 different infomercials on these days. My favorites are exercise-related and I'm amazed at the endless variety of exercise equipment. I look forward to the ankle slenderizer and the earlobe toner as these are the only areas of the body not currently addressed.

I'm amused by the health plan proponents that look unhealthy and the diet gurus that angle away from the camera so you can't see their guts clearly.

If you're not watching, even as you surf by, let me tell you they have infomercials for vacuums, air purifiers, shoe inserts, makeup (lots!), ladders, drills, herb gardens, books, hair stylers, skin care regimens, kitchen gadgets, make-money-fast courses (lots!), diets, phone service, and oh so much more--even trucks, oddly enough.

And I've noticed a shift in how they market these days. Now they're very big on "30 day trial offer"s. They quote a low price for the money back guaranteed [less shipping and handling] trial period and never mention the cost if you actually keep the item.

So I went to a few websites to see just what people wind up paying for some of these items...

"GoSMILE Star Treatment Whitening Kit" for tooth whitening advertises a free 30 day trial. Free! [Just pay for shipping and handling.] According to the web-site, but mentioned nowhere in the infomercial, is the understanding that if you decide to keep your "free" trial of GoSMILE you pay $79.98. Plus the $9.99 shipping and handling. So that's $89.97 by the time you're done.

"Fluidity", a piece of exercise equipment that mimics a ballet bar and comes with accoutrement (DVDs, ball, pump, bands), is offered at $39.95 for it's trial period. The website says if you order it, you pay $199.75 [plus shipping and handling]. Standard shipping is $39.95. So this one adds up really quick. Even if you decide to send it back you pay $40 in shipping costs each way!


These items may be well worth the cost. It's just interesting to me that they don't even mention the full cost in the hook at all anymore. I can only imagine the fast patter you get when you call for your trial offer.


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