You’re qualified for a SPECIAL OFFER
Things must’ve been so much more difficult in the 1920s when the world was in black & white. Whenever a company wants to show how difficult something was compared to their new SUPER AWESOME way, they always show it in black & white. Black-and-white people are some of the world’s dumbest people.
“How can I possibly change the channel in this cold room with my remote control while not being at risk for chilly wrist? If only there was a blanket that could stay ON my arm during this highly complicated maneuver!”
Then, miraculously, out of thin air, a Snuggie appears. It’s a fuzzy miracle.
As much as I find infomercials ridiculous, they’re like you’re annoying friend that you can’t seem to stay away from and that can always talk you into doing something stupid, in this case that stupid thing is spending your money on said stupid thing.
Sadly, I’m not immune to their charms. I begrudgingly own several Sham-Wows and a Slap-Chop, both sold by the same infomercial host. In my defense, Sham-Wow Guy probably could’ve talked me into joining Scientology, or a cult where everyone dresses up like the Hamburglar in other words, Scientology.
I don’t know why political parties don’t solicit this guy on their campaigns.
“What you’re NOT going to vote for us? Look at how absorbent we are! You can’t afford NOT to vote. If you send us $5,000, we’ll send you this commemorative buffalo nickel thing Tony found when he was cleaning out his truck! We’ll also throw in this lint roller thing that someone created by putting a roll of tape on a stick!”
Each infomercial follows the same predictable script, using the same tired keywords to try to attract your interest. Below are some of the terms and phrases and their actual meaning.
Phrase: “Operators are standing by”
Translation: They’re getting paid to take your money and make you feel good about it, so they are essentially streetwalkers, only you’re getting considerably less satisfaction and they get irritated if you talk dirty to them. It’s recommended you do NOT say to them during transaction, “Oh ,yeah, you FILL my order. You FILL IT GOOD.”
I often picture them physically STANDING next to a an old-timey phone. One operator tried to sit down once and he was promptly executed.
Phrase: “Send check or money order to”
Translation: Who sends money orders anymore? To that point, what IS a money order. Nobody knows. You probably know more about the Loch Ness Monster than you do about money orders. They might as well say, “Send check or 18th Century gold doubloons. We also accept treasure maps written on the back of historical documents, Holy Grails or solid gold busts in the shape of Dale Earnhardt.”
Phrase: “This offer won’t last forever”
Translation: This is a great ploy to encourage you to call before you forget about the advertisement for the upside-down tomato plant, sideways zucchini plant or whatever other oddly-oriented shrub. They never seem to put a date this sale will supposedly end. But can you imagine if an offer lasted FOREVER? Two hundred years from now we’ll all be using “credits”, “bitcoins”, “bitcreds” or a chip implanted into our retinas that automatically deduct funds from our star accounts. Coming up with 15 DOLLARS might be impossible in the year 2214. So, well played infomercials. Well played.
Phrase: “Buy one, get another FREE!”
Translation: “We have so many of these in the warehouse it’s ridiculous. Just take them out of here. Please? We’ll throw in an extra 20 of them for free. In fact, we’ll pay YOU to take them because they’re so ridiculous and unnecessary. Seriously, Jerry thought it’d be a GREAT idea to make these covers for cheese sandwiches that you can put in the toaster to make them “grilled cheese.” Who doesn’t have time to make a grilled cheese sandwich? Nobody’s buying these things, and why would they? I meanhaha! These are great! I’ll send you 500 more of them. No, no. I insist.
From this day forward I vow never to buy anything from another infomercial. Unless, you know, it’s really useful.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-Super-Writer. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny, but only for a limited time, so act now!