By James Turnage
Barry Becher, the co-founder of the Ginsu knives and basically the infomercial, died today at 71. This is a tribute to him and those that followed.
I don’t know how many of you have purchased items from an infomercial. I’ll admit that I have. Sometimes they have turned out to be very good, and other times they are quite disappointing. But what I want to really talk about are the infomercials themselves. They’re pretty funny.
Every commercial advertising these “can’t live without” products are delivered by a spokesperson or announcer who is obviously “coked out.”
He or she has more enthusiasm than someone who has just won a million dollar lottery. They are obviously convinced that no one can live their lives without the product they are pitching. And on top of the universal need for their greatest ever item, it is such a bargain, you’d be foolish, no, ridiculously foolish, not to buy it RIGHT NOW!
Items available range from cleaning products to kitchen tools and gadgets to dog toys and harnesses to apparel to hide cleavage or hold up her breasts. There are more in every category you might imagine.
As I said, I have purchased several of these in the past. But now I don’t have to pay for shipping and handling because they are in stock at Wal-Mart.
I still enjoy watching them occasionally. I would miss watching the “pitchmen.”
My favorite part is the last exciting message. When the infomercial is about to end, and the price has been established, comes the closer. “But wait, buy it today and we’ll cut the price in half! But, there’s more. We’ll double the offer, just pay separate shipping and handling!” Okay, let’s see. The cost of the item is 10 dollars. Shipping and handling charges are between 6 dollars and 95 cents and 8 dollars and 95 cents. Then there’s tax. So for 2 items costing a total of 10 dollars, I will be paying as much as 27 dollars and 90 cents. Hmm, seems like the old shell game to me, but I love the hype. There’s more entertainment here than in a ‘reality’ show.