Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Rating Infomercial Products

You’ve all seen them — those TV commercials AKA “infomercials”, usually on the cable channels, that offer off-the-wall products which usually seem too good to be true. The AB Lounge, the Lens Doctor, the George Foreman Grill, the Bowflex, the Vidalia Chop Wizard. And if you are like me, you maintain a healthy skepticism that those products would be the least bit useful — and certainly you would guess that they are overpriced if not an out-and-out rip-off.

To be honest, I have never ordered one of these products — until just recently. I saw an infomercial for the Clever Clasp. This is a two-part attachment for a necklace or chain bracelet that has a magnet on each end. For people with limited flexibility, it supposedly makes it easy to put on a necklace because the two magnetic ends attract each other when they get close — then can be secured by a twist lock.

Earlier, during our visit to my parents in March, my mom and I were chatting — and I said something like “wouldn’t it be a great invention to have a magnet on the ends of a necklace to make it easy to put on” — not knowing that such a marvelous invention was just a cable channel away. My mom told me that she had stopped wearing some of her favorite jewelry — and that she would love such a product.

After I returned to Phoenix — I was working out on the elliptical cross-trainer at Lifetime Fitness when the infomercial for the Clever Clasp was broadcast on the TVs that are supposed to keep you awake while you exercise. This is just what we were talking about! So I noted the name and website address to check it out when I got home. And, despite my skepticism, it seemed like it might do what it claimed and since it only cost $14.99 (plus a “nominal" shipping and handling charge), I ordered a set for my mom.

Then, a few days ago I read about a website that posts ratings for those kinds of products — http://www.infomercialratings.com/. The ratings are done by customers who purchased the items — with all the potential for bias of self-selected reviewers — but better than no information at all. The Clever Clasp? Four and a half stars (out of five). Phew, maybe it wasn’t a waste of money after all. And my mom says that it seems to work as advertised.

Here’s a few others:
AB Lounge – four stars
Lens Doctor – one and a half stars
George Foreman Grill – four stars
Bowflex – three and a half stars
Vidalia Chop Wizard – three and a half stars

One final aspect that is interesting about these reviews by customers is that visitors to the website can “vote” on whether the review quality was “real” or “fake”. The reviewers even get reviewed. [Ed. note: unfortunately, the website is no longer online.]

Happy infomercialing!

Hawai`i Update

This coming Saturday, we fly off to Hawai`i as I mentioned in last week’s issue. During my business trip there, Life After HP may be coming on a more irregular schedule. I’m sure you’ll understand. Wish you all could join me. And by the way, Hawai`i — five stars!


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com