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They’re back again and better than ever. I’m talking, of course, about the creative and wildly entertaining post-Christmas ads for “gizmos,” the ones designed – as always – to revolutionize the way you live.
Gizmo ads go way back in television and usually arrive in your living room whenever advertising rates drop low enough for them to spawn.
Do they work? Well, Ron Popeil, founder of Ronco, became a billionaire through the clever use of nothing but gizmo ads.
Who can forget his great contributions to Western Civilization, which include the Pocket Fisherman, the in-the-shell Egg Scrambler, the Chia Pet and the Clapper? Eat your heart out Thomas Edison!
This season’s gizmo ads follow in the illustrious tradition of these celebrated creations, and like their predecessors they offer products of least $60 in value ridiculously priced at only $19.95 plus a modest shipping and handling fee.
Each year I look forward to the gizmo ad season and this year’s offerings did not disappoint. That’s because if I act now my $19.95 (plus $7.95 S&H) will get me the life-altering Grip n’ Flip, with the patented gripping action, PLUS the Scoop n’ Strain AND the 6-in-1 Kitchen Utensil.
I can hear the cynics out there carping now: “John, have you gone nuts? What possible use would you have for something called a Grip n’ Flip?
Fair enough, that’s a good question.
To the uninitiated, the Grip n’ Flip might sound like something you’d use to extract a confession from an uncooperative prisoner, but you’d be wrong, Bunky. The Grip n’ Flip is actually an ingenious kitchen device, the latest in an endless line of such devices to be advertised on television over the past half-century. It’s an ordinary spatula with a “patented” gripper on top that allows you to grab something in your skillet from the bottom AND the top. The better to flip with, my dear.
I know. It’s so simple you have to ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
One of the great things about these ads is that the hyperventilating announcer always promises that the extraordinary items featured will solve problems in your life you’re probably too numb to even know about or problems that are so far down your “list of problems” that you hadn’t gotten anywhere near noticing them yet.
But how can you ignore an announcer when he promises that the items he’s pitching will do nothing less than “revolutionize” the way you prepare, cook and serve food.
Revolutionize? John, how will these items achieve this revolutionary change in my kitchen, I hear you ask.
Well, for starters the announcer says you’ll have no more broken yokes, and there’ll be no more chasing that sausage around the skillet again – EVER! The Grip n’ Flip also gives you the luxury of being able to turn over one strip of bacon or turn over the WHOLE BATCH. I’d say that’s pretty revolutionary.
But, no matter how incredible this thing is, there’s no way you’d spring $19.95 for it, so – true to the form of these ads – the announcer moves it up a notch promising to throw in the equally life-altering Scoop n’ Strain with a patented straining grid BUILT RIGHT IN, allowing you to scoop, strain, measure, pour and serve. WOW!
But wait! There’s more.
Act now, or whenever you happen to see the ad, and you’ll also receive the 6-in-1 kitchen device that’s a whisk, tong, strainer, salad server, slotted spoon AND spatula all in one.
Still not enough to make you reach for your wallet to retrieve the one card in there that wasn’t maxed out by Christmas? You’re a tough one, Bunky.
To close the deal the announcer finally promises to send you TWO Grip n’ Flips, TWO Scoop n’ Strains AND TWO 6-in-1 kitchen utensils – a $60 value for just $19.95 plus that modest shipping and handling fee.
I’ll only remind you to act now because supplies are limited – but I’m sure you already know that.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is
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