Monday, December 23, 2013

“On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me – A Handy Home Slicer”

I wonder if infomercials are a strictly American cultural
phenomena, or, if like a virus, they’ve infiltrated the digital streams of other countries, luring unsuspecting viewers to stop channel surfing and watch magical gadgetry that slices, dices and gives you thirty-one new hairstyles in under a minute – all with the flip of a wrist. Light emanates from the HD vortex that is our television and we are drawn into the dazzling enchantment of infomercials featuring such iconic legends as the GT Xpress®, Seal-a-Meal® and the Magic Bullet®.  These much lauded appliances offer us a better life – one that is organized, where fantastic meals are prepared in minutes from barely edible leftovers and where the ability to store cheese for months at a time is a secret that no longer belongs only to the gods.

There are guilty pleasures to be found in the “As Seen on TV” aisles in chain stores.  Believe me, I know. We all make excuses to walk down these ‘special market’ areas because we are natural scoffers of such places during the heady days before the holiday gift buying frenzy.  We feel entitled to sneer at Chia Pets®, Genie Bras®, Perfect Pancake® pans and Pajama Jeans®.  Still, we look and face it, secretly or not, most of us covet.  I want those little pans that can turn ordinary cake batter into little lollipops in the privacy of my own home. 

We go into the holiday gift buying season with the best of intentions.  We’ll make all of our gifts this year.  We’ll pare down the number of items and the number of people on our shopping list.  We will make a budget and not overspend.  And the last and biggest grandaddy of all promises we make is that we will have all of our holiday gift shopping completed by December 15th.  Yup, done, wrapped and tucked away.  It’s just eggnog and cookies for me from then on.  That’s why sooner or later with the fervor born within the truly desperate, we find yourselves drawn to that beacon in the wilderness that is last minute shopping, the “As Seen on TV” aisle.  The perfect last minute gift solution.

We imagine ourselves the kings and queens of the employee
gift exchange, people wrestling under the Christmas tree to pick our package, their delight at discovering they’ve won themselves a pan that shapes tortillas in the oven.  This is successful mass marketing at its finest, folks, and none of us are completely immune.  From the top of the shelf to the bottom of the cart – now dash away, dash away, dash away all.

If you find yourself wandering dazed down the telemarketing aisle during the next couple of days, take heart. You’ll find some useful items that are now as ingrained in our  holiday culture as the Life Savers® Story Book.  In fact, one of my favorite gifts I ever received was a Snuggie® – “The Blanket With Sleeves.”  Have a Happy Holiday season and keep it light!


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