Saturday, January 12, 2008

One Touch Jar Opener: A Commentary on the Manual Dexterity of Informercial Casts

Here is a two minute ad for the One Touch Jar Opener.

As with many of these mini-infomercials, there are a couple of sequences explaining the problem. First, the gap between a gadget free life and a gadget full one. The later, the gap between other gadgets and this novel solution. In both, the casting directors for these dig deep into their reserves to fine people. The must canvass every drunk tank, Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, methadone clinic, and degenerative nerve disease ward for people clumsy enough to adequately demonstrate the scope of the problem. Here, the woman cannot open the jar. She heats it. She twists on it. She taps it with a wrench. And then, either in a fit of rage or a lapsing of her palsy drugs, it falls and shatters.

"Other jar openers are hard to use." It's a rubber pad. You hold it in your hand, pick up the jar, and you twist. It's really not that hard.

"And they all require too much force." I dunno. Maybe I'm superman. I don't think so, but it's not that hard to open jars. The demonstrator though appears to be deep into her DT's. It's not even a question of force. It's a question of being about to put the goofy device on the lid. If your shakes are so bad you can't even position the device properly, how can you even comment on the amount of force it requires? Perhaps a better demonstration would be a testimonial by someone who strained a bicep opening a jar, perhaps even with the gizmo we're dumping on. Perhaps we could even reenact. But instead, we have a meth addict who's about 20 hours into quitting.

As a bonus, they will throw in a device that can make anyone pour a beverage as if they're a couple days into detox and feeling pretty bad about the decision. Look at that little girl trying to handle the 2 liter. Look at the shakes. If this anemic little girl could lift the 4.1 lb 2 liter bottle just a little higher, we'd have a mess, courtesy of the One Touch Bottle Pourer.

Here's the final question, I guess. Why do infomercial products that might be useful (if you have arthritis or Parkinson's, this might be a pretty useful device) get bundled with products that are clearly junk? If you're RonCo, and you can bundle some okay cheapo knives with the Countertop rotisserie, but the other companies have one product of value and a bunch of crap they have licensed. I guess it's an inventory management thing. No one is going in, thinking, "I'm getting the jar opener or $10 because I'm getting $10 worth of bottle pouring for free. $10 surplus. Yeah!" They're probably thinking, "What's the extra shipping and handling?" I guess, you buy all this crap from invention submission corp or some other licensing company, and you don't know what's gonna be a winner. Maybe you do a little, but you take a risk on the bottle pourer. Then, you gotta get rid of all the ones that came from your contractor in China. You bought em on spec, get rid of em. There are harder sells, but a crappy licensed product has to be up there.

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