- Entertainment and Media
6 Uselesss Infomercial Products Still Being Sold Today
As a night owl for pretty much my entire life, I have had the pleasure, or misfortune, of taking in enough late-night infomercials that I secretly live a life of shame and regret. Most of them are benign, from the hilarious Pocket Fisherman (for those times you just gotta fish off the bridge on your way to work), to the slightly useful Sham Wow, to the exceptionally useful Showtime Rotisserie that my mother has sworn by for almost 2 decades and which works quite well much to everyone's amazement. These items could be categorized as living in infomercial Purgatory, not good enough to make it to product Heaven but not so bad to be in Hell. But below them, down past the miracle blades, ionizing bracelets, and HD sunglasses, deep deep down, in the 7th circle of infomercial Hell lives the following products, and they're still being peddled today. Let's start our descent, shall we?
1. Power Balance Bracelets
What It "Does"
Unless you've been living under a rock the last 5 years or hate sports, it seems that these bracelets have been worn by every professional athlete from football to table tennis. So what the Hell are they? They're basically a rubber wristband with a small hologram attached to it. And according to the manufacturer, the bracelet "helps to optimize the natural flow of energy around the body, and so improve an athlete's strength." Wow! I didn't know my body had a natural flow of energy. Isn't that what makes Superman fly? Do I need a hologram to regulate my flow or could I just use a tampon instead? I could just order one now and be pimping the company softball game in style. As crazy as these claims sound, for a while every athlete from David Beckham to Shaquille O'Neal was endorsing them. Even the great Shaq-Fu proclaimed "I don't do a lot of testimonials but this works." Well, if Shaq says they work who are we to doubt? Well...
This is going to come as a surprise I'm sure, but they don't work! No way! Outrageous! What do you mean I can't put a hologram on my wrist and become superhuman? The only problem with the claims made by Power Balance was that it was backed by a very small amount of scientific evidence. And by very small I mean zero. As the fad became more and more popular, people started to question the bracelet's ability to do anything but make a brutally cheap fashion statement. Independent tests were performed on the bracelet and to no one's surprise they provided no benefits whatsoever. Power Balance was forced to admit that no credible scientific evidence supported their claims and also offered refunds to anyone that felt mislead by such claims. So that must have put them out of business right? Nope. They're still going strong and for only $30 you can have some rubber bands with a hologram attached sent right to your doorstep. They're sure to match the rest of your Madonna Like a Virgin bracelets collecting dust in your jewelry box.
2. ExtenZe (aka natural male enhancement pills)
What It "Does"
What a better way to promote the ability to increase your "member" size with a pill than through a hairy ape that could only have had sex by going into the porn industry and having others pay women to do him. Ladies and gentleman-- Ron Jeremy! From their own website, "ExtenZe pills are natural male enhancement pills that are guaranteed to really increase your penis girth and penis size in just a few short weeks of taking these medically formulated enhancement pills!" Split infinitive aside (to really increase) how awesome is this product? As a man, why wouldn't I want to have a super huge member and be a monster in bed? Where the Hell do I sign up? It's the only thing that's ever lacking in my life and there is an all-natural remedy. I wish I had thought of this idea first. Instead I'm relegated to writing about it. Curses!
Can we all just agree at this point that "natural male enhancement pill" is the most ridiculous phrase anyone has ever come up with? If it actually worked then if one pill is moderate results wouldn't a whole bottle mean exploding penises all over the world? I mean, a pill that obviously does nothing even found its way to sponsoring a NASCAR. We're just a few steps away from having Rusty Wallace saying things like "There goes Dale Jr. in the Pet Rock car" or "Looks like the Divining Rod car and the Mood Ring cars are really trading paint out there." Even the once-great coach Jimmy Johnson endorses it. Needless to say the product doesn't work. If it did then actual prescription drugs like Viagra wouldn't even be on the market because I guarantee you it costs a ton more to get FDA approval than it does to make an infomercial.
3. Kevin Trudeau - Free Money
What It "Does"
Free money. There I said it. Free money. Who the freak doesn't want free money, especially if it's from the government? Sounds like an awesome idea to me. Where do I sign up? That's easy, I just need to buy the book by Kevin Trudeau that tells me about the billions of dollars of government money that is awaiting me. According to his infomercial there are literally thousands of programs out there dying to give you money for anything and everything. From home mortgage to home improvements to college education there is nothing you can't think of that the government isn't willing to pay for you. Let's not forget the fact that if you buy his Free Money book you'll also receive the equally impressive Debt Cures book that will lead you to financial freedom. They say it's a $120 value for only $29.99 but really can you put a price tag on free billions? I argue no.
This guy is the definition of a scumbag and has been peddling this type of crap for over 2 decades. Years ago it was a way to unlock the in all of us and then it was photographic memory for things like, you know, herpes, which modern medicine has no cure for. Now days it's free money from the government through various programs. Look, either the programs don't exist or virtually no one qualifies for them. The people that do qualify them certainly don't have the $29.99 to spend on the book in the first place. And with respect to the debt cures, newsflash, don't be late on your credit card payments and uh, don't rack of excessive credit card debt. In the past every time Trudeau got caught and was in legal trouble he would find a way around it and go right back to work being a peddler of falsehoods and untruths. He is currently relegated to books because he can no longer promote products due to legal natural curesjudgments against him by the government. I'm not sure if he has a section on Obama money but my gut feeling tells me yes.
4. Klee Irwin - Dual Action Cleanse 2
What It "Does"
Did you know that your body has several pounds of fecal matter trapped inside it that will never go away naturally? And did you know that your body is full of toxins? Well now you do and the best way to rid yourself of all this literal crap is to order the Dual Action Cleanse. According to the website "The natural herbal formula of Dual-Action Cleanse has changed hundreds of thousands of people's lives by helping to cleanse the digestive tract of built-up toxic waste on a more regular basis. Your body will function at its very best so you can look forward to feelings of increased energy and vitality.*" Let's just ignore for the time-being the improper grammar in the use of people's (should be peoples') and you know that little asterisk. Use this product and you're well on your way to flushing your body like a well-oiled toilet through the use of a well-oiled toilet.
This guy's claims might strike a nerve with people that believe in holistic and natural healing and how modern food is so bad for you, but this guy is just crazy insane, which is apparent through his claims of being an "herbalist and nutraceutical formulator." Don't be worried. You are right. There is no such word as nutraceutical. His claims that toxins build up in your intestines over time and need to be cleansed have been debunked repeatedly by modern science. Your digestive system is an extremely efficient piece of work and it doesn't need help from a product that can make you constipated for a week or crap for days. It just doesn't. But that doesn't stop him from declaring that you have several pounds of fecal matter permanently stuck to the inside of your intestines that can only be removed by his specially-formulated human Drain-O. Oh, and keep ignoring that asterisk that points out that no claims have actually been evaluated by the FDA.
5. John Beck - Free and Clear Real Estate System
What It "Does"
There's a little-known fact that John Beck wants you all to know about, which begs the question if he succeeds is it still a little-known fact? If there is a tax lien outstanding on a house and you pay it off you own the house! Imagine buying a house for $50! Free and clear! Outstanding. But in order to find out exactly how to do it right you have to buy his books and then join a program which costs, apparently from complaints, exactly how much credit you have available on your credit cards. But not to worry, as soon as you fork over every dime to your name you'll be buying houses for half-pennies on the dollar before you know it. You'll be able to own a fleet of houses for less than you spend on milk. Seriously. It works.
Uh, it doesn't work? Oh, and legitimate little-known fact, his entire premise is inaccurate and is completely impossible. When you own a tax lien on a house all you are entitled to is interest that accrues on it and once that is paid off the owner regains possession of the property. You don't own the freaking house! I don't even know what else to say about this dude other than that while writing this article the FTC finally came down on John Beck's butt and got a $450 million default injunction against him. But I'm not taking him out of the article because I think you can still see his infomercial. Apparently half a billion dollars doesn't send a big enough message.
6. Peter Popoff - Miracle Spring Water (aka The Worst Person in the World)
What It "Does"
"Reverend" Peter Popoff peddles Miracle Spring Water in his late night infomercials. And none of what he's saying sounds too good to be true because all he's saying is if you call and receive your FREE Miracle Spring Water and use it as instructed you will not only be cured of any and all ailments but you'll also become debt-free. SERIOUSLY?!?! The infomercial has testament after testament from people saying that after using the water and praying they received checks in the mail for ludicrous sums of money for no good reason, and ailments like their diabetes went away. Went away! Modern science has been trying to cure diabetes since forever and the answer was right there all along-- tap water and prayer. In fact, it's the cure for everything. Damn you pharmaceutical companies for keeping the public in the dark all these years!
What could possibly be misleading about tap water that cancels all your debts and cures any and all ailments? There isn't really a need to explain why this is all a joke. People don't get better from tap water and prayer and they certainly don't receive checks in the mail cancelling their debt for no reason. If any of this stuff happened for real Brian Williams would be telling the world on the nightly news with statements like "A man in Chicago was miraculously cured of stage 4 cancer" or "Today a woman in Dallas received a check for $320,000 for no reason and it's all legitimate."
So how does the scam work? It's pretty simple really. You send away for the Miracle Spring Water which this scumbag is more than happy to send you free of cost. It comes in a clear package ironically resembling a feminine product with instructions such as "Do not use this until you send me a check for $X.XX." But I thought it was free! Oh, it's free but for it to work you have to send back money and get the check blessed and further instructions on how to make it work. Bummer. I thought I was going to be debt-free for free. And then when it doesn't work the first time it's just because I need to send more money in to get more blessings and further instructions. But this couldn't actually trick people could it? It could, and in 2005 alone raked in an astonishing $23 million! And that's not the worst because...
He did this in the past and went bankrupt after being exposed in the 1980s! He used to have seminars where he professed the ability to heal people. And before each performance audience members would fill out information cards. The results would be fed to Popoff via an earpiece from his horrible horrible wife, making it look like he had "divine" information about the audience members. The great skeptic James Randi was able to listen in through a radio and then debunked his actions on Johnny Carson and within 18 months Popoff was bankrupt. Shame he didn't know about the Miracle Spring Water back then. He could have avoided bankruptcy and he might not have had to resurrect his fraud of a life taking advantage of others.
This man is the worst person in the world. If you ever see him driving around in his Porsche in Northern California... punch him.