August 27, 2013

My Point Is... Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware!)

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Insomnia sometimes proves beneficial to those who listen to infomercials during their struggle to sleep.

QVC and paid programming offers a realm of products that tempt the sleep-deprived, often inspiring them to buy the latest high tech invention that is guaranteed to make life more desirable and comfortable.

Principal Secret is one of the longest running infomercials that I can recall. Victoria Principal, for those unfamiliar with the “Dallas” of the 80s, gained mass popularity with her beauty products since the show’s cancellation. Principal developed her own brand of skin care products that promised better skin tone and reversal of the aging process. In addition to her own testimonial, other celebrities pitched the products as the best beauty secret ever.

Infomercials often demonstrate their products. Cookware, cleaning products, electrical appliances, and even clothing have all had their heyday on syndicated networks, dangling the tempting products before consumers’ eyes.

Like so many others, I have fallen game to the sales pitches.

Just recently I took advantage of a new anti-aging skin cream, guaranteed to make your skin become more resilient and erase the lines of aging. After 30-plus years of squinting my eyes, largely due to my refusal to wear eye glasses, the lines around my eyes are quite prominent and it is a constant struggle to try to appear younger than my 56 years. Of course, I credit the deep lines around my mouth to all those year of smiling, thus earning “laugh lines” along with the eye wrinkles that seem to define my face!

The magical aging cream did have its benefits. After just a few applications, the lines seemed to fade somewhat — at least for a few hours. This wonder cream puffed out my face, thus easing the lines, but once its magic wore off, I had the same wrinkled eyes and mouth as before.

Another mystic wonder was the eyelash growing formula, encased in a tube similar to mascara but containing a combination of miracle ingredients guaranteed to make my eyelashes grow thicker, longer, and stronger. One product contained instructions defining proper application at morning and night that supposedly activated the “buds” on the eyelid that sprout new eyelashes. A few applications of this wonder product and my eyes were swelled shut in the morning and the lashes not only did not grow, they fell out!

My husband also fell prey to the sales commercials. He decided to order a skillet that was guaranteed not to stick. We treated the new skillet by putting it into the oven to “temper” before using it.  The first few uses were amazing! For once, I was able to serve eggs that were truly over easy, once I chased down the sliding egg in the skillet. A few uses later, however, the eggs became a cooking challenge and the non-stick surface now has to be soaked in hot soapy water and scrubbed to remove the egg residue.

Another advertisement that captured my attention was, of course, for miraculous weight loss. This product features testimonials from people who have lost between 20 to 100 pounds, simply by shaking this powder substance onto their food. There are no diet plans, no boxed foods, no exercise regime — just shake this stuff on whatever you want to eat — yes, whatever you want to eat! — and you are guaranteed to lose weight.

Now, that’s definitely my kind of weight loss program!

But as my fingers were tempted to head to the keyboard or even the phone pad to order this wonder weight loss product, I had flashbacks of the Phen-Phen craze in the late 80s and 90s. Many of those faithful consumers lost weight but later developed various health problems and many received a monetary settlement in a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Yet the desire for these newly developed products continues to incite my interest. Always being one who prefers “wash and wear hair,” the new cyclone dryer attachment that offers almost instant curls has truly intrigued me. The attachment, sensibly priced at only $14.99 plus shipping and handling, will fit any blow dryer and the results are simply amazing. No more standing with the flat iron and/or curling iron burning your skin and hair, no more waiting to see if the curls are the same on each side of the head. Now, you just wash your hair, put the cyclone attachment to the hair dryer, and your hair is dried and styled in one easy step.

Although past products have not had the best possible turnout, I’m sure from the demonstrations of this cyclone-style dryer have to be accurate. And if I call or click right now, I can get a second one for just the shipping and handling charge.

Quick, somebody, write down that website!