Fleecing God’s Sleepless Sheep, or “But Wait! There’s More!” (part 2)
Earlier this week we blazed new trails by offering an in-depth, super scientific look at info-mania, info-mercials, info-scams, and the worthless info-junk being hustled on TV. If you doubt that this stuff is info-useless, then go to any yard sale or snoop in any garage, basement or out-of-the-way closet in America or Canada and you will clearly see the effectiveness of these dust-gathering products.
by Thomas Goodrich
THE TYPICAL Cast on an Info-hustle includes:
The Hucksters: One Boss Hoss, One Slavish Shill, One Shameless Claque.
The Targets: Me, you, us, we — fat, broke, depressed insomniacs who believe in aliens, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and that Israel is our ally.
Boss Hoss: Most of these fast-talking crooks look like they have done a stretch somewhere in the past and will also do a stretch or two somewhere in the future. Years ago, these slicksters — “sharpers,” they were called — worked carnivals, medicine shows and back street shell games; they wore silk shirts, checkered vests, spats, and sported those little thin mustaches and long sideburns. Now, today, (depending on the product) they are either nearly naked, or clad in a chef’s costume, or holding a Bible, or reading a teleprompter. Unfortunately for us, these sharks are very good at their trade. I’ve noticed that Brits, Aussies, and others who don’t speak good English are popular (I guess we Yank and Canuck suckers think their toney accents are more credible and honest). These smooth scammers could hustle the habit off a nun.
Shills: My guess is that all of these folks are Boss Hoss wannabees doing their apprenticeship. Most will never make the grade for it does take a bit of brains, a lot of charisma, and a ton of shameless lying to shake us down, but the shills give it their all. For food blender or oven ads these individuals do little more than lick their lips on cue for nano-second camera close-ups. Always starved, of course, by the time the lip-lickers are offered something tasty by the Boss Hoss they are shivering in orgiastic food lust. Even before the morsel hits the lips, the shill is euphoric about said morsel’s tastes, textures, juiciness, etc. Male or female, the only requirement of the food shill seems an ability to drop his or her jaw in amazement a minimum of ten times a minute. Again, lots of quick (one second or less) camera shots of their always amazed mugs, lots of licking lips, dropping jaws, sparkling eyes, and beaming smiles.
For other products, say a Super Atomic Suction Home Cleaning System (vacuum cleaner) or a Buck Rogers Magic Diet Belt (batteries not included), the shillistas do little more than drop jaws in amazement and feed the boss inane questions and comments, like “It’s that easy?” and “This is like magic!” and “Everyone needs this!” and “How did we ever live without it?”
I think the most egregious panderer in the shill category is “Joe” (left) with the Nu-Wave Thermonuclear Radioactive 21st Century Magic Oven. This guy is always ecstatic over the virtues of the oven. The food is always “the best I have ever tasted” and “Ooooooo, oh my God . . . Mmmmmm, I can’t believe it!” and “This is so good I need to tell all my friends!” even though he has hardly got it past his lips yet; as he chews the tasty morsel, the jaw bone works in an exaggerated manner; his ample torso shivers in spasmodic delight. This chap is just a walking, talking chunk of hard sell. Joe’s shtick is so over the top that I sense he would sell his mother, wife, and daughters into slavery if the price was right. Pound for pound, Joe is the lunker bass of all shills.
The Claque: Bought audiences. These people are either Grade B or Grade C actors working for coffee and sinkers or they are hapless shareholders who sense they too have been smoked and the louder they cheer, applaud, and stamp their feet the quicker they will get their lost investments back. On one infomercial the claque applauds on average about once every nine seconds.
“But wait, there’s more…We’re going to throw in an extra knife” (thunderous applause).
“The Magic Bullet chops and blends everything, even old shoe leather!” (thunderous applause)
“No more dieting, no more fat! With the Magic Belt you’ll never miss another meal again!” (outrageous, insane applause)
My favorite claque are those who marvel at the Magic Bullet. This cozy crew contains all elements of society: A disheveled old hag with a smoke dangling from her lips: She represents the lazy, seedy side in us all. This old bag of sag just wants a cheap product that is effortless to operate, never has to be cleaned, and something that lets her smoke, drink, and watch her daytime TV in peace. Then there is “Berman” — a lazy, baldo fatso who adds skepticism to the mix. Berman is sullen and moody; he constantly crooks a doubting eyebrow at the claims of the Magic Bullet. But Berman also crumbles to the touch the very instant he tastes the results. Berman sets the world speed record for “doubter who is won over quickest.” There are also two sets of clueless yuppie types who, between sex and parties, have no time for serious cooking and they just want a product that will do everything for them and which will allow them more time for sex and parties. With knowing looks and nods, they are won over to the Magic Bullet long before we are.
In another con, this time for the Magic Bullet Express (just a typical blender), “Granny” along with a rock-faced “Aunt Something” have replaced the skeptic Berman. The theory is this: If we can convince these nettlesome, nagging old grunt buckets and Berman the Bozo, then we damn sure can satisfy you hicks in Dirt City, Iowa.
Some of the other info-categories I won’t get into are:
Televangelists: Saving souls is obviously way down on the “to-do” list of these sleazy scoundrels with their slick suits and fancy “dos” (right). Clearly, to keep the salvation money machine fed, all these men and women want is cold hard cash NOW! I’m sure there are more honest faces behind bars than on these Christian cons.
“Male Enhancement”: In a sex-crazed society small wonder that these come-ons are gaining in popularity. Now there is even “female enhancement.” Does anyone else find these public pubic ads nasty and disgusting? Same with ads for yeast infection, condoms, hemorrhoids, and feminine napkins?
Music-mercials: I must admit, I watch these things over and over….
“Best of Country Gold”
“Best of 70’s Silver”
“Best of Polka Mood Music”
“Best of Blue Grass Funeral Dirges”
“Favorite Christian Hymns Performed on Bongos, Spoons, and Kazoos”
…and so on.
Here’s a few Info-Buzz Words and Phrases that are used again and again:
“Don’t wait… Order Now!” (Which Really Means: “Don’t think… Act now! If you think, or if you had a thinker to think with at 3 in the morning, you would never buy a hunk of junk like this in a million years.”)
“Not sold in stores.” (WRM: “Of course it’s not sold in stores. Without our hustle, hype and big British jugs, no store could ever move this worthless stuff in the light of day.”)
“Hurry!!! Supplies Are Limited! (WRM: “No they’re not. As long as there are enough suckers out there like you we will make this junk for another thousand years.”)
“Time is limited… We can’t do this all day!” (WRM: “Yes, we can….We can shake you suckers down all day if you keep the greenbacks coming.”
“But Wait! There’s More!” (WRM: “No there isn’t. It’s the same amount of petty stuff but like the witch who led Hansel and Gretl into the oven by scattering cake crumbs on the ground, we keep leading you mopes to the telephone to order, one bite at a time.”)
“System.” Everything hustled is a “system.” It is never a cooking pot; it is the “Nu-Wave Infrared Invection Thermo System.” It is never just knives being hawked, it is “Chef Tony’s Kitchen Culinary System.” It is never just a girdle to hold your fat butt in, but the “Kemara New Bottom Shaper System.” “Magic Food-Saver System” (zip-lock bag). “System” sounds so much more modern and polished and suggests you are getting much, much more than you really are. None of this stuff is a “system,” of course. NASA is a system; the Federal Reserve is a system; the National Park Service is a system. The “Contour Core Sculpting System” is a Flash Gordon belly belt with a battery inside, not a “system.”
Finally, let’s look at at some letters from unhappy campers:
the magic bulit is peice of junk. I payed good money and it never worked. I hpe who ever made this crap dies. — Bob of Birmingham
I only used the NuWave Oven a couple of times. This was two years ago. I saw the ad on tv and fell for the product. The rack broke almost immediately; it was replaced without charge and I did not send the defective one back. The dome cracked. I contacted the company via email. It took months for them to respond. They finally called me but by that time, it was too late. The company said they would replace but had already discarded it; I could see the hand writing on the wall. . . .nothing but future problems. The unit was also heavy, cumbersome and took up lots of counter space. It ended up in my trash can. — Roger of Texas
I bought this and it opparantly did not work. nothing but junk!~!!!!! — Carl of Omaha
Operantly the people with negative comments can’t spell. Maybe they can’t read either and therfore can’t use this thing. — Ed of Illinois
Ed, you mean “apparently” you *** idiot? — James of Providence
Yeah, talk *** about people’s spelling NOW moron. — Robert of Oregon
Well i don’t think it’s your place to judge Ed. Please be nice you idiot! — Shawna of Sarasota
I bought the Nu-Wave Oven-Pro on sale before Easter. After FIVE hours of cooking, the temperature never went over 150 degrees. Gave up, put it in regular oven for 30 minutes. Returning product today. The infomercial is deceptive advertising! The oven would cycle on and off but never got anywhere near the claimed 350 degrees on high setting. My thermometer is accurate. Like trying to cook with a hair dryer! — Marsha of Milwaukee
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Source: Thomas Goodrich