Monday, October 30, 2006

Ten Commandments of Buying Infomercial Fitness Gadgets

  1. If the advertisement claims that you can tone up while lying in bed watching the tube, save your money for the Miracle Mop. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "THE NO SWEAT WORKOUT THAT WORKS."
  2. Beware of the phrase "guaranteed or your money back." READ THE FINE PRINT. The manufacturers may promise that you'll lose 4 inches in one month - IF you stick to THEIR recommendations of a low-fat diet and a more vigorous exercise program.
  3. Don't be impressed by expert endorsements. Don't think for one second that some 3-time Mr./Ms. Universe built his/her biceps with some plastic contraption that looks like something from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  4. Don't whip out your credit card just because a product is not sold in stores. Matter of fact, most of these gizmos are sold in stores -- or they will be in 1-2 months. The product is most generally cheaper in the store, and you can test the product first to see if you like it.
  5. Beware of phrases like "three easy payments." One gadget claims to cost "Not $60! Not $50!" but "just 2 easy payments of $19.95." Add the shipping & handling, and it costs $46.85.
  6. Don't be impressed that a product was "awarded a U.S. Patent." You could patent a nose-hair clipper for mice if you wanted to. To get patent, all you need is an ORIGINAL idea, not necessarily a GOOD one.
  7. Don't believe that a gadget will enable you to build strength and lose fat simultaneously. Consider the Thigh Master commercials: a drop-dead gorgeous model zips up her pants and says, "Thank you, Thigh Master. I never thought I'd fit into these jeans again."
  8. Don't be persuaded by scientific mumbo jumbo. Product manufacturers love to throw around big words. Many of these terms, such as omnikinetics, are not even accepted by the medical community.
  9. Don't believe that some new contraption is better than free weights or machines. One manufacturer claims that "with free weights or machines, getting the right form is impossible," but with its gizmo, "there's no way to use the gadget improperly."
  10. HIDE YOUR CREDIT CARD between 12 am - 4 am. At that hour, everything looks good. Just go to bed.

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